Venessa’s Sister, Margaret, went missing three years ago. She was in her first year at the New York City Ballet Academy. Now Venessa has followed in her footsteps, quite literally. Venessa is cast as the lead in the Academy’s first performance of the year, The Firebird; something that rarely happens to freshmen, but that did happen to Margaret. When tales of other dancers going missing, who were cast in this part too, Venessa and her friends start to get suspicious, could something be happening at the Academy? And could it have something to do with Margaret’s disappearance?
I wasn’t sure at first about Dance of Shadows, it started off very weird and I couldn’t get my head around what was happening. It was confusing but the mystery of the world hooked me in and I knew I had to carry on reading.
Its obvious from the start that there’s something strange going on at NYBA, in the first scene a girl bursts into flame and in the following scene one of the tutors mentions that a quarter of the girls in freshman class will drop out before the year is out, that’s a given. The mystery shrouds the story from there as we follow Vanessa through from her strange ‘extra orientation’ to classes and socializing with friends. When Vanessa’s talents start getting more of a mention I clicked that Vanessa would be cast as the lead but I think the mystery of Elly was a great addition to the story and added an element that was off kilter with everything that was uncovered about what was going on.
The characters were interesting enough. I think Vanessa’s friends were actually a little overlooked but Vanessa, her tutor Josef and the two male main characters, Zep and Justin, were very interesting. I had my doubts about both boys and I liked that it wasn’t ever sure until the very end who was the good guy out of the two of them. It was a little love-triangle-y for my liking but I still liked both boys as characters and felt invested in them. I knew there was something about Josef and I wasn’t shocked when that came out but it was a really good aspect of the story.
In all honesty I know that I am in the minority over how much I enjoyed the book. I think that the writing could be better as it felt a little off in places. I also think that the suspence of the book was a little too much sometimes and I did feel like shouting ‘just get to the point!’ towards the end, but it added something I don’t always get in YA and I really enjoyed it.
Dance of Shadows is one of the ultimate supernatural books of its kind. I don’t want to discuss what the supernatural element is but its something I have rarely seen and its done in a way that works really well. With all the vampire and werewolf books out there, this is one to read if you fancy a different type of villain.