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[ARC Book Review] Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black [ARC]

Publication Date: 14 February 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: 1/5 star
Vanessa doesn’t believe that her sister is a runaway. She wouldn’t leave her family behind without saying a word. The only way Vanessa can discover the truth behind her mysterious disappearance is to follow in Margaret’s footsteps, but to do so she risks her sanity and maybe even her life . . .

Vanessa Adler is one of the talented few to get a place at the acclaimed New York Ballet Academy. Between backbreaking rehearsals for the school’s production of The Firebird she desperately tries to find out what happened to her sister before she vanished. There are rumors that the pressure of performing the lead role, the same role Vanessa is now rehearsing for, drove her mad. Other girls have gone missing too. Can the role be cursed? Vanessa’s new relationship with leading-man Zep only seems to complicate things further. What is he hiding from her and can she really trust him?

Black Swan meets Gossip Girl in this thrilling first book in a new series. Sexy, sinister and full of secrets, readers will be hooked on Dance of Shadows from the first page. Look out for the sequel in 2014.

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My Thoughts

Sigh, yet another book that fails to live up to it’s gorgeous cover.

I was pretty excited for this because the premise sounded pretty promising and like what many have been saying, it could possibly be like the Black Swan of YA novels but unfortunately there were so many problems with this book that I honestly couldn’t have liked it as much as I tried.
The largest problem of them all and one can basically kill or make a book for me are the characters. I can ay that there isn’t a single character in the book that I liked or could relate to. Vanessa, as the female protagonist, was horribly one-dimensional, shallow and made pretty stupid decisions. I honestly couldn’t understand or connect to Vanessa and it just felt like she didn’t have a brain of her own. There were a few instances in the book (I’m going to just avoid spoilers) which should have raised the red flag but Vanessa chose to either ignore or she just refuses to acknowledge it’s existence. The rest of the characters were equally flat and I honestly could barely even differentiate them at times.

The second issue that irked me was the insta-love and infatuation going on between Vanessa and Zeppelin. I mean, he freaking breaks up with his girlfriend before he even had a real conversation with Vanessa. R.I.G.H.T. Plus there was the pre-requisite love triangle with Justin, whom was supposed to be mysterious and all but just seems like a stalker to me.

Finally, the writing was really mediocre. I might not be the best judge of this but I can safely say that the writing, in no way, managed to engage nor captivate me one bit. It reads a bit awkward and the pace is horribly slow. Ballet-wise, I’m not a dancer so the terms and all were pretty fine by me, I can’t say the same for a professional dancer or anyone else who has taken ballet though. I actually liked the prologue and was pretty intrigued but the book moved so slowly that I began to lose all interest. Well, that plus the less than awesome writing and flat characters. And the problem with having a prologue that clearly hints (a VERY strong hint that is) at paranormal ongoings in the school, is that you can’t possibly move the book at a snail’s pace or your reader is seriously going to get very frustrated at your protagonist for not figuring it out when it’s already blatantly in the readers’ faces. So yep, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be picking up the second book.

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11 thoughts on “[ARC Book Review] Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

    1. I actually wouldn’t have requested it if I had found out that this is supposedly ‘from the creators of Fallen’, which you know, says A LOT.

  1. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. This sounded so crazy, but like it could be Black Swan-style fun–but how sad that you couldn’t even enjoy it as a mindless pleasure! I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews for this one, so you’re definitely not alone. Sorry you were disappointed, Elaine. :/

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Nope, couldn’t do it. The female protagonist was way too annoying for me to have any sort of fun with this, but yes, the potential was overwhelming! Nah, it’s fine. I need 1 star books every now and then to remind me of how awesome 5 stars books are.

  2. First of all, thank you for the lovely comments you have been leaving on our blog. I’ve just caught up with the new subscribers, and now I am e-mail subscribed to yours too and you should start seeing more comments from me in the future. So thank you, Elaine!

    Second of all. I HATED this book. I reviewed it as well and I pretty much had a lot of the same criticisms as you did, but I agree more than anything about the writing. It was pretty awful. This book is a perfect example of a story with a fantastic premise but terrible execution. The characters were completely unmemorable as well. I counldn’t agree with you more.

    1. Aww, I should thank YOU for email subscribing! Especially when my blog is merely an outlet to post reviews that I’ve also done on Goodreads. Nowhere as awesome as book blogs 😛

      I think I saw your review on GR as well. Awesome GIFs used, hah.
      I basically wanted to kick myself for requesting it on netgalley. But well, one star books like these serve as a reminder of how awesome five star books are!

    1. You’re not alone. I probably need that rule too but logic just leaves me when I see pretty things, damn. It’s fine though, I need a 1 star rant every once in a while (;

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