I am absolutely ballet mad. I always have been. I'm a dancer myself - not professional, of course, but nonetheless I think by saying I did ballet for 14 years gives me some sort of qualification, almost, right? Ballet is one of those topics that can be twisted any way. From the deeply passionate romantic love story like The Red Shoes, to light family comedy Bunheads, and dark and seductive Black Swan, ballet chic is certainly making a headway into the trends over the last couple of years. So of course at the sound of Dance of Shadows, I was clapping my hands up and down like a six year old girl going to her first performance of The Nutcracker.Fiery, passionate and dangerous are three words I'd use to describe Yelena's thrilling debut novel that pushes the boundaries between psyschological and paranormal. When I first read the sypnosis, I was instantly reminded of The Red Shoes, one of my favourite classic movies about a ballet dancer and the love triangle she is caught up in between the choreographer and composer from the ballet company she is with. But it was nothing like that.We learn that Vanessa Alder has been living in her sister Margaret's shadow for some time, despite the fact that Margaret is actually missing, having mysteriously disappeared from the ballet school Vanessa is about to attend. Her parents, especially her mother, are concerned about Vanessa being at the NYCBA, but Vanessa is determined to prove her worth as a dancer.Vanessa was a character I admired. She wasn't completely perfect, and her niaviety at times was grating, but it made her realistic and likeable. Vanessa is fiesty and determined, and she knows what she wants. The ballet world is full of pressure, and lots of people succumb to that, but Vanessa, as I said, is determined to prove her doubters wrong.The secondary characters as well added the charm to the whole story. From Vanessa's friends, to the love interests, each of them I felt were well developed and helped to carry the story along nicely. I would, however, like to see more between Vanessa and Jason in the next book. I felt the romance element was a bit of a let down - but just a bit!!!As I said, pressure is a huuuge thing in the dancing world. Vanessa feels the weight of her sister bearing down on her, and she goes into a complete Black Swan mode. The thriller aspect of it is brilliant. I love a good creepy novel - take Fracture by Megan Miranda for example. But the thing that sets Dance of Shadows on the edge, on that thin precipice, is the paranormal aspect of the novel. Granted, it's not fully revealed until the end couple of chapters, in which there is action aplenty in a whirlwind of emotions, until the novel comes to an end and you are just left wanting more and more.A stunningly beautiful and thrilling novel full of emotion and passion, Dance of Shadows had me hooked until the very last page. Is it cruel to say that I'm so glad Yelena's didn't make it as a dancer, otherwise we'd never have been given this amazing read.