Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books on February 12th 2013
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 picked it up at a huge book sale for just a few bucks. The cover spoke to me and the blurb on the back was good enough to convince me to try it. I don’t normally read suspense, thriller type of books, but I love dance and I was curious about the setting mostly. But I got so much more and I don’t regret this purchase at all.
The story follows Vanessa as she goes through the first semester at her new school, the one her sister attended before her disappearance. Vanessa is an interesting character although you have to look for it. Not everything is apart. The other characters might not be that well developed either, but the interaction between all of them seem real. And that’s important too.
There wasn’t much need for more world building besides what was done. That’s one of the plus sides of a contemporary setting. Only towards the end she introduced some new things. I won’t say what because it’s a spoiler. Still, it’s neatly packed in the narrative. I never had the idea the world building was over the top or too little. It was just enough.
Despite its flaws the story itself was executed well. The beats were in the right place, there’s good tension going on, and there was still a surprise at the end. The ending was good, but it still left me with some questions. I guess they’ll be answered in the sequel Dance of Fire.
I rate Dance of Shadows> five stars. It might be on the high side because it’s not perfect, but there’s so much good in there. I enjoyed it very much and definitely a hidden gem in a pile of discount books. Highly recommended for people who loved the Black Swan movie.