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Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 Geraldine 0 Comments

The Breakdown

Excellent:
  • The ending was worth it; beautiful tension, intrigue and demons :D
  • The fantasy part
Nasty: 
  • The character herself was pretty annoying, having a large ego and her attitude was unbearable.
  • The character development; none of the characters developed
  • Character identity- it wasn't a true mystery, really, since it was obvious who was 'good' and who was 'bad'.
Interesting:

  • Author's writing was okay; simple and easy to read throughout the book, but only interesting in the last quarter
  • Methinks the author should write more fantasy books, instead of real-life dancing ones!

Rating: 2 stars

The Review

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.


I've been planning to read this book for ages! The book cover= amazing! However, when I got reading, I

Vanessa irritated me, in so many ways. Firstly, there is the matter of her friends. Black seems to have created TJ, Elly, Blaine and Steffie just to give Vanessa the image of a normal girl. Vanessa brushes them off and is very condescending towards them, at one time thinking "Her friends didn't know how hard rehearsal was." However, what annoys me most is her attitude. Vanessa thinks she knows it all, and that's what annoys me the most.

Everything was really obvious in this book. Justin was obviously the 'good guy'. Yet, the main character, Vanessa, insists on believing he's the bad guy, based on the minor things he did to her, mainly to protect her. And from this, I found another thing that annoyed me about the main character, Vanessa; her ego. She knew she was good at dancing, she thought she knew everything that was going on, and pushed away people who were really trying to help.

In the blurb, it's stated that Vanessa went to the NYBA primarily to find out what happened to her sister. However, as the book progresses, Vanessa seems to get more engorged with the boys that surround her instead. I mean, considering that she's 'barely even kissed a boy', how would she be so boy-crazy? Then, there was Zep. Who 'falls in love' with a guy that quick, let alone a stranger who's at least four years older than her?

Black's writing was pretty simplistic, to be honest. Not saying that's a bad thing; it made the book easy to read! However, it was painful to read most of the books, because her writing has crafted the characters to be rather unlikable. Every movement that each character makes is painfully distinct, leaving little to the reader's imagination. The last quarter, however, where demons are introduced, is where Black's writing picks up, and you truly get to see her talent in writing.

The one flaw I dislike most in YA novels is the overt emphasis on the love story. It doesn't happen in all YA novels, but when it happens, it is almost impossible for me to enjoy the book. However, the last quarter of the book was relatively interesting though, when Black introduced demons and mythology  through Justin. Though I didn't expect it (after all, the blurb promised me a book full of intrigue, not fantasy), it was very welcome. I loved how it pulled away from all of Vanessa's troubles with guys, her large ego, and more, and focused on a mythical aspect, something that was more than Vanessa.

Really, all I can comment on is character identity. This review has been more of a rant at how poorly-formed these characters are and how almost all of them are unlikeable. Despite this, the ending was beautiful, and the tension kept rising, so this book gets a 2 star rating from me. I would say that Black is more of a fantasy writer, since the fantasy parts of this story kept me hooked and excited!

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

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