Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
Vanessa knew that dance was in her blood, but she had no idea the world of elite ballet was center stage for the darkest of secrets-until her sister mysteriously disappeared from the world-renowned New York Ballet Academy.

Three years later, Vanessa follows in Margaret's footsteps, lands the role most girls at NYBA would kill for . . . and gets trapped in a sinister spiral of secrets. Back-stabbing bunheads, a fiercely unrelenting choreographer, and the sexy male lead of the troupe-they all want something from Vanessa. And though she revels in the attention, what Vanessa truly craves are answers. Instead, she feels as though she is losing her footing at every turn. Is she doomed to relive her sister's strange fate?

Riveting and sexy, Dance of Shadows twists the cutthroat world of ballet with a psychological thriller, in a dance you won't be able to resist.

Yelena Black's Dance of Shadows has been on my TBR for a long time, and I recently decided to give it a chance. The cover was stunning, and I can never resist a boarding school setting, especially when the said school is in New York City. 

Dance of Shadows started off strong. The mystery was interesting, and I was dying to know how it would all end. Was Vanessa's sister willingly missing? Or was there something more sinister at play? What was up with the intimidating teachers? And the biggest question of all - why did all the lead female cast members disappear under mysterious circumstances? These questions are what kept me reading until the end. I also think Yelena did a great job of fleshing out the setting, and I liked that it included a ballet/dance component. 

Unfortunately, the longer the book went on the more I began to lose interest and the more I began to see some major flaws. 

For one, the characters never came to life, in my opinion. I kept waiting and waiting for development to occur, but it never happened. Did I root for Vanessa? Yes. Was she likable? Yes. However, I never felt like I "got" her. I also had a hard time keeping track of her friends. They never had distinctive personalities. 

For two, we have a case of an insta-love. I'm not a complete insta-love hater. Sometimes I think it can work really well in the book; however, here it just got to be a bit too much. Vanessa was gaga over Zep - and I mean GAGA - as soon as she saw him, and honestly I never saw the appeal of him. Zep was a creep. He treated like Vanessa like trash more times than one and only wanted to see her when the time was convenient for him. The second of which is such a huge warning sign, in my opinion, but Vanessa usually justified his actions. 

Overall, Dance of Shadows had a lot of potential; however, it never truly lived up to it. While the ending was shocking, I don't feel all that driven to read the sequel. As horrible as it may be to say, I just don't care about the characters enough to spend more time on their story. So I would recommend this? Not particularly - there's many other boarding school mysteries I would suggest before this. However, I could see fans of ballet and theater possibly enjoying it.

2 stars!!

Dance of Shadows is now available! 

Source: Publisher 

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  1. You're a trooper. I don't think I have ever finished a book that I would have given 2 stars too. I am with you, that I would not read more in a series if I didn't care about the characters, because I am a character driven reader. (And the cover is quite lovely)

  2. Sorry this wasn't as good as you would have liked. I hate insta-love. Hate it...But everyone is different. I love the cover tho. Great review.



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