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Dance of Shadows

Average Rating 3.5
( 18 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.


Idk wat to say great read

posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Vanessa Adler is a superb ballerina, so it¿s only natural that s

Vanessa Adler is a superb ballerina, so it’s only natural that she would be selected to attend the prestigious New York Ballet Academy. Though dancing is a huge part of Vanessa’s life, her main goal is to figure out what happened to her sister Margaret who attended the ...
Vanessa Adler is a superb ballerina, so it’s only natural that she would be selected to attend the prestigious New York Ballet Academy. Though dancing is a huge part of Vanessa’s life, her main goal is to figure out what happened to her sister Margaret who attended the academy a few years ago, then went missing.

It’s no surprise that Vanessa is cast as the lead in The Firebird as she is the best dancer at the school. The problem? Margaret was also cast as the lead right before she disappeared, and even more disturbing, several other girls also disappeared not long after getting the same role.

Now Vanessa must put together the pieces of the puzzle before she is the next to go missing.

While I wasn’t a fan of the overall book (more on why later), I thought the world building was very strong. Ms. Black knows her dance terms, and it’s obvious she knows what it’s like to be in a ballet academy. She also captured New York City very well, and the infusion of the paranormal was a nice touch.

My first, and biggest problem with the book, were the characters. Vanessa was incredibly one-dimensional and very shallow. I never connected with her, and since she is the protagonist, it’s really hard to get into a book if you can’t root for the MC. The rest of the characters were very bland as well. Zeb was very predictable in an almost Edward Cullen sort of way, and Vanessa’s friends all seemed to be nothing more than cardboard cutouts. Not one of them stood out to me, and after a while I just got used to reading their names in a passage without trying to remember who was who.

While the story is interesting and at times intense, I felt it could have been so much more if the writing were stronger. It didn’t flow well, and some of the dialogue was cringe-worthy. The pacing was also off, and there were times when I found myself skimming passages to get to a good part.

I had REALLY high hopes for this one. The minute I saw the cover, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately for me, it just didn’t hit the mark. The idea is great, and the story interesting, but the execution just wasn’t there for me.

With that said, I think this one will appeal to fans of paranormal romances. I can definitely see it hitting the mark with Twilight fans, or people who don’t read nearly as many books as I do in a year. I had a lot to compare it to, and that may have been part of the reason why I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

posted by OtotheD on February 12, 2013

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and Netgalley.)
    15-year-old Vanessa is starting at NYBA (New York Ballet Academy), and her mother is going nuts because Vanessa’s older sister Margaret disappeared from there 3 years ago, and they haven’t heard from her since.

    Vanessa is determined to do well, ballet is what she loves, and she intends to make it her life, but sometimes when she dances really well, walls blur and things look odd, and she doesn’t know what this means.

    When Vanessa is then given the lead in the December production of ‘The Firebird’, she is overwhelmed; the position was supposed to go to a senior, not a freshman, and even more worryingly; Margaret was also cast for the lead in the same production 3 years ago.

    Other things are going on at NYBA though, several girls have gone missing, other than Margaret, and now one of Vanessa’s new friends – Elly has also disappeared.
    Why do girls keep disappearing? Does this have something to do with ‘The Firebird’? And is Vanessa destined to follow in her sister Margaret’s footsteps?

    This book started off really slowly, at 25% of the way in it felt like it was really dragging, and it didn’t really pick up until the 60% mark.

    Vanessa obviously loved ballet, and wanted to be a dancer more than anything, even enough to go to the school that her sister had gone missing from. Her secret that dancing sometimes made things seem unreal was a little odd, and I did wonder why it hadn’t stopped her from dancing altogether. She just seemed to think that if she ignored it, it would go away, which is a valid plan of action I suppose.

    I found the fact that one of the girls – Elly, had left under mysterious circumstances wasn’t given enough attention, as it seemed that for a while the girls were happy to just assume that she had gone home. I kind-of expected the realisation that she hadn’t gone home to come sooner, but this actually took a while.

    As I said, the pace in this book was really slow in the beginning, and I had difficulty with it right up to the 60% mark, where things started to happen, and the pace picked up. It was around this point that the mysteries in this book became more interesting, and I began to really want to know what was going on, and who Vanessa could and couldn’t trust.

    And of course, no book would be complete without a blinking love triangle would it? Vanessa pursues a relationship with Zep (the male lead in the production), whilst another boy Justin seems to be stalking her. There seems to be reason’s for Vanessa to mistrust both of them, although her infatuation with Zep does seem a bit OTT for the amount of attention he actually pays her. I personally did not trust Zep at all, but then Justin was a bit odd as well if you ask me.

    I had kind-of guessed what was going on overall, but I didn’t guess the details, and there were some aspects that I hadn’t guessed at all. The last 12% of the book was very gripping, and definitely the best part. Some things were tied up nicely, but there was still enough to keep me interested in the second instalment. At the beginning of this book I was thinking that this was going to be a disappointment, but I’m so glad that I persevered with this, because I ended up really enjoying it.
    Overall; This started slowly, but built up to a great finish.
    8 out of 10.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2013

    While I did end up enjoying Dance of Shadows, it took a long tim

    While I did end up enjoying Dance of Shadows, it took a long time for me to enjoy it. About three quarters of this book is a big, frustrating, seemingly-going-nowhere mystery. In fact, I thought that I’d get to the last page and it would say FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN BOOK 2!

    Luckily, that did not happen.

    But I did spend a lot of time thinking, “WHY WON’T VANESSA JUST TALK TO PEOPLE?” Because, as it tends to happen in mysteries, talking to people often solves problems. But, I guess if people got over their pride and concerns that they’d look completely insane early on, most mysteries would be more novellas than books.


    Once the game is set and we finally finally finally get clued in to what exactly the hell is happening, this book is all of a sudden a little Whedony. Obviously that made me squeal with glee on the train home, which in turn made people look at me weird, but I don’t care. But seriously, Dance of Shadows feels like it could be one of those off-A-plot episodes of Angel in which Fred infiltrates a ballet company to figure out what exactly is going on on the inside. And there would OBVS be a hilariously awkward scene in which Angel has to put on tights and dance while Cordelia looks smugly on from the wings. Oh, wishful thinking.

    For those of you who are really into ballet and get upset when a book promises to be about ballet and then only uses one or two terms that end up being plié and arabesque, this book will not disappoint. Ms. Black clearly knows ballet, is comfortable with the terms and vocabulary, and isn’t concerned if those terms are polarizing. Which made me a happy little ballet nerd.

    Though I found a lot of this book to be highly frustrating while reading it, I thoroughly enjoyed it in hindsight. Once you have the pieces and understand what all is happening, the clues are just GLARING at you from the page and it all makes fun, dancey, demony sense.

    So if you’re in the mood for a dance-centered mystery that you don’t want to try and solve while you’re reading it, Dance of Shadows is the perfect choice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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