1.) If you could pick 5 YA novels that could be choreographed into a ballet, which ones would you choose?
Bunheads by Sophie Flack, Mystic City by Theo Lawrence, Vixen by Jillian Larkin, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Elemental by Antony John.
2.) Why did you choose ballet as a focus for your novel?
There is something very “ancient” about ballet as an art form to me, and I’ve always been intrigued by it. I studied dance when I was younger, and I loved the idea of taking that quality of dance and stretching it into a story about legend and ritual. Ballet especially is so rigid and structured that I think it creates a very atmospheric setting for a novel. Plus, the dance apparel is so iconic that people have great imagery of ballet “items” (pointe shoes, tutus, and more) that it adds another visual layer to the story that’s already there.
3.) So many people have said that the cover of Dance of Shadows is the prettiest cover they have seen. What was it like seeing the cover for the first time?
I’m so glad that people love the cover, because I think it is stunning. My jaw literally dropped to the floor when I first saw it. (Well, not literally, but you know what I mean!) It was so fun to see the cover because I’d worked on the book for so long and thought about what the cover might look like … but I never imagined anything as beautiful as this. I am lucky and honored and so thrilled to be working with the fabulous team at Bloomsbury.
4.) What projects are in the works for you right now?
I’m hard at work to the sequel to Dance of Shadows, which is going very well and I’m super excited about.
5.) Just for fun….what are you favorite:
Drink: Diet Coke
Book: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Holiday: Christmas, of course!
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
eARC received from Bloomsbury via Netgalley
Release Date: On Shelves Now
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Dark and Chilling
I will admit that the cover is what drew me to this book. It is easily one of the best covers I’ve seen so far in 2013, and although the book did not live up to the amazingness of the cover; I still enjoyed it.
This is the first ballet book I have read, and I will say that I spent most of the book picturing the people from the movie Center Stage (probably because it’s the only ballet movie I’ve ever seen). That did make it more enjoyable because, having never taken ballet before, I actually had an idea of the moves so I wasn’t just picturing some random leaps into the air. I actually enjoyed the ballet aspect of the story better than anything else. It’s a world that is so beautiful and severe, and Yelena definitely captures that stress and flawlessness of ballet in her writing. I could see the tension in their nerves melt away as the characters started dancing. The ballet made this book captivating, and it is the ballet that will bring me back for book 2.
The characters were, unfortunately, hit and miss for me. I really enjoyed the minor characters, while I didn’t like the main ones. Vanessa is one of those heroines who doesn’t see what’s going on right in front of her, and that really irked me. Plus, her friends tried to get her to see reason at times, and she wouldn’t hear them out. I guess she was just kind of dense, and at times, it was like the world revolved around her—and that type of heroine really bugs me. I’m hoping she will become more mature in the next book because she has great potential. Her best friends were great though, especially Steffie and Blaine. They were each quirky in their own way, and you could tell they really cared about what Vanessa was going through.
So, let’s get to the guys. First, there’s Zep—the amazing dancer who makes jaws drop all over the place. He’s the kind of guy who should be on the cover of magazines, and he definitely has the charm and charisma to back up his good looks. However, from the start, I got the feeling that his charm was fake, and it bugged me to see Vanessa fall straight for it. But, I probably would have fallen for it, too, if he was as good looking as everyone says he is! Still, I could feel that he had secrets that he didn’t want discovered.
Then there is Justin, another boy who has secrets. He comes off as this big jerk who is a bit of a bully. I liked him because he just seemed to tell the man to “Suck it,” and I love guys who are rebellious in the face of authority. However, like Zep, I just didn’t trust him because he was obviously hiding something. Still, when Vanessa describes him, I can’t help but get a bit swoony. Add that to some of the smexy dreams Vanessa has about him, and I might be giving him another look.
Even though the story was slow, I still found myself lost in the hauntingly beautiful dance. When Yelena described the world slipping away as the dance unfolds, I was just completely lost in the imagery. I could see time stop as the dancers transcended reality and became almost dream-like in their beauty and grace. Yelena’s words were beautiful and foreboding at the same time, and I fell straight into her macabre world.
Would I recommend it to others?
I would recommend it to YA fans who are looking for something different, who don’t mind pushing through slower moments to revel beautiful writing. YA fans with a history or love of dance—you should definitely check it out.
Will I read the sequel?
Yes, although it won’t be one of those that I pre-order and start reading the day it arrives.