Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .
Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .
I knew from the second I saw the gorgeous cover and read the blurb of this book that I was going to love it and whilst sometimes these high hopes lead to disappointment I will say right now that Yelena Black's Dance of Shadows did not let me down, in fact I think it exceeded my expectations massively. I read the whole 400+ pages in one bath and didn't even notice how freezing my water was until I put the book down and came back to reality, that is how much I was sucked into this book.
I've read quite a few bad reviews of this book and whilst I can agree with the flaws that they point out I can honestly say that none of them really bothered me. This book has quite a slow development so I would recommend this book to people that like intrigue and suspense built up but not those who just want action. If you are an absolute hater of love triangles then this book might not be for you, then again I loved this book and I really don't like love triangles so I guess it's a matter of opinion and yes, the main character is instantly attracted to an upperclassman, Zeppelin but let me tell you that this isn't insta-love, the romantic plot isn't all that it seems and by the end all of you insta-love haters will probably be very happy with the turn out.
Forget those flaws up there though, I'm only putting them in because I have to to be a fair critic. Dance of Shadows was a fantastic read because it built up the intrigue and mystery so slowly that you don't realise it's happening. Vanessa goes through this cycle of waking up and doing dance practice and then mooning over her boy but every day this happens something is added in that makes you feel a little bit more wary about the characters. I did feel that at times Vanessa was a little slow on the uptake and I was almost screaming at the characters at points because nobody communicated... I mean if Justin had just told Vanessa what he knew then all of the trouble would have been avoided.
Black has this fantastic narrative voice that made Vanessa seem so real. She really did well at putting in sinister undertones to the lightest of scenes, like Vanessa joking around with her friends. I would definitely read more by this author.
Overall, Dance of Shadows was a fantastic and intriguing read which keeps the reader guessing from start to finish. Yelena Black so easily writes a sinister and creepy plot with just enough romance and fun to keep it from getting too dark.
Overall Rating: A-
Book released 14th February 2013 by Bloomsbury
ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Print)