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I Belong

Early Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Title: Dance of Shadows

Author: Yelena Black

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Dance of Shadows (Book 1)

Publication Date: February 12, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 447 Pages

ISBN-10: 1599909405 (Bloomsbury)

ISBN-13: 978-1599909400 (Bloomsbury)

Reviewed by:  Bridget


Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you’re close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner’s heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

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 . . .

Quick & Dirty: Hauntingly beautiful story with a mystery that will keep you guessing through the whole book.

Opening Sentence: In the harsh glare of the lights, Chloe’s shadow stretched across the stage.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Vanessa Adler is a freshman starting at the most elite ballet school in the country, The New York Ballet Academy.  Her sister Margret attended the same school but she disappeared 3 years ago and was never heard from again.  Vanessa enjoys dancing but her main purpose for going to the academy is to find out what happened to her sister.  She has always been a really talented dancer.  There are times when she gets so into the dance that things start to melt away and change around her.  It has always made her a little nervous to just let go and be the best dancer she can be, because she is afraid to lose herself.  The teachers notice that Vanessa is an amazing dancer and she ends up being cast as the female lead in the upcoming production of The Firebird.  She is both honored and scared, because it turns out Margret isn’t the only girl to have gone missing.  Over the last 20 years there have been many girls from the school that have gone missing and almost all of them were cast as the lead in the ballet.  Vanessa knows that something strange is going on but she just can’t figure out what.  One thing is for sure, she needs some answers before she’s the next one to go missing.

While at the school she meets the mysterious, gorgeous Zeppelin Black.  He has been cast as the male lead in the upcoming production of The Firebird.  Vanessa is instantly attracted to Zep, but she can’t quite figure out if he likes her or not.  At times he seems interested, but other times he is very distant and he never seems to open up to her.   Vanessa really likes Zep but at times it just feels like something is missing between them except for when they dance.  Dancing with Zep is a love story all on its own, the way he touches her and makes her feel is indescribable.  Vanessa just has to figure out if he feels the same way.  I really like Zep as a character.  He is beautiful but always a little withdrawn.  He seems to care for Vanessa, but something is holding him back.  There is some great chemistry between the two but at times it seems a little forced.

Then there is Justin.  He is constantly getting on Vanessa’s nerves.  Justin knew Margret when she attended the Academy and he was always suspicious about her disappearance.  He seems to always have something negative to say to Vanessa and he is always warning her to stay away from Zep.  She has a hard time trusting Justin because he seems to know more than he’s telling Vanessa.  At times he can come across as concerned and sweet but other times he is just mean to her.  I actually loved Justin right off the bat.  He is witty and cute, but you never really know what his motives are.  I think he and Vanessa are adorable together, but you don’t get much romance between them in this book.  I hope to see a lot more Justin in book 2.

Vanessa is a great Heroine and I really connected easily with her.  She is a young girl trying to figure out her life and find out what happened to her sister.  She works really hard at dancing and she is amazing at it.  There are times when she is a little naïve especially when it comes to boys, but she is young and inexperienced.  Yes she wasn’t perfect but I really liked her anyway.  By the end she is a stronger better person and I am excited to see what her future holds in the upcoming books.

Honestly, like I said earlier this book was hauntingly beautiful.  Surprisingly the pacing was a little slow but it kept me intrigued the whole way through.  There were twists and turns that I didn’t expect and I was guessing the whole way through the book.  The writing made all the difference in this book. When Black would describe the dance scenes, I could really picture everything in my head very vividly.  I am not a dancer at all but I like dance and have learned to appreciate the art in it. Black captures the essence and wonder of dance in her beautifully written words.  The only thing that I didn’t love was the ending.  I felt that it didn’t quite go with the rest of the book, but it did set up an interesting premises for the next book.  I am really excited to see where the author takes the story and I will defiantly be reading the next book in the series.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes mystery, dance or a good paranormal read.

Notable Scene

“Love.” He pressed his leg 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.”

Vanessa listened to his words, feeling them pulse through her veins.  She arched her back in a painful plea.

“Fate is against us,” he whispered. “Still, you offer yourself to me. You seduce me.”

His arms fluttered before her, and slowly, she arched her body into an arabesque, giving herself to him.

“I try to resist you, but I cannot.”

Vanessa felt herself grow weak as he pressed himself against her.  She leaned into him, letting his hands roam up her body as if they weren’t dancing at all, but merging into one. She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of his sweat.

“But our love is violent.  It cannot last, I cast you off.”

Suddenly the rhythm changed, and Zep thrust her away. Spotting him, she spun across the floor.

“You don’t understand. You beg me. You ask me why I can’t love you.”

Vanessa threw herself down before him.  For the first time, the dance seemed to make sense, and slowly, she lost herself to it.  The steps were strange; there was no getting away from that.  But with Zep guiding her, Vanessa began to feel it.

Dance of Shadows Series:

1. Dance of Shadows

FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of Dance of Shadows. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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