Not just a pretty cover
Author: Yelena Black
Series: Dance of Shadows
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Releasing: 14th Febuary, 2013
Vanessa Adler has decided to attend NYBA not because she loves ballet but she wants to keep the memory of her lost sister, Margaret alive. She is thrown head first into this elitist academy full of snobs and mysterious dancers who would do anything to achieve their goals. She makes new friends, falls in love, makes enemies even and of course solves some major mystery taking place in the academy, all in the course of a few months.
We first get a glimpse of Vanessa on her first day at the school moving into the dormitories where she meets new friends. I loved how each one of her group of friends was given distinct unique personalities of their own. The writing itself had gothic under tones making full use of the old structure and successfully making a city like New York creepy.
I won’t rehash the story line in detail as I’m sure it must have been done a lot already so I’m going to talk about what I liked and what I didn’t. The writing for once was strangely beautiful. Black describes ballet steps in so much detail and care and that I could visualise each step and imagine myself floating with the atmosphere and music. The side characters were fleshed out and I loved the addition of a gay friend, who cracked me up each time.
"For us, life and dance are not separate. Dance your life.”
Another achievement for Black was how she managed to make the men in the story incredibly hot. I mean, C’mon let’s be honest with ourselves, ballet dancing men usually turn out to be pretty gay. I’m not saying they all are but it’s hard for me to imagine them to be sexy in anyway, but Black achieved it. She made Zep and Justin (the love interests) not only attractive but manly and sexy too. By the way, I was team Justin from the start.
“ Zeppelin Gray was a beautiful paradox, his body rough yet smooth; his movements heavy but weightless, his eyes so deep and lustrous that they seemed to contain an entire universe. He walked towards Vanessa, his muscles shifting, sharp and lean, as if carved out of metal."
For those to whom it matters, yes, there is a love triangle but I’m not going to say more as I don’t want to spoil it. What I found slightly disappointing was the resolution of the mystery. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Usually, it is a good thing that the story managed to surprise me but at least a few hints would have been good. I’m also not sure how much I liked the ending. Of course it was an open end so that more books can continue after Dance of Shadows. I didn’t hate it but didn’t love it either.
"Love .” He pressed his legs against hers until her toe slid across the floor. “You need me. You want me . You’ve always wanted me. But you can’t have me."
Over all, a good start of a YA book with a unique setting and storyline which will make you want to pick up a pair of ballet shoes and start dancing. I’m not doing that anytime soon as I don’t want to wreck my house. So, when you buy this book, if only for the pretty cover, it was still a solid story and a riveting start to a new series which very well make ballet dancing cool and trendy.
ARC provided by Bloomsbury UK.