Dance Macabre

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

Summary from NetGalley:

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Midnight DanceSeventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

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ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

I have some mixed feelings about this book.  The overall book was good, the plot was interesting and well paced, the characters likable and interesting for the most part, but I did have some issues with it.  For the life of me I can’t figure out why it was set in the late 1800’s, that just didn’t make sense to me and the story just didn’t fit the time period.  It would have been better if the time period was more like 1930’s or even more modern.  Also the Master’s motivation behind what he does is just not explained well enough for me.  There are some chapters that look back on his earlier life that try to explain it, but it just confused the issue more.  The dance scenes also didn’t feel authentic to me.  I was a ballet dancer in my youth and those scenes just didn’t feel right, they felt more like the author just threw in some dance words and left it at that. 

So what did I like?  The overall plot was interesting.  The idea that someone could control your thoughts and emotions and take away your memories was intriguing. The fact that Penny would often wake up with totally new thoughts and feelings was kind of creepy.  I also liked her relationship with Cricket, they were cute together and were really out to help each other. The master was also totally creepy in an older guy lusting after young girls way.  Like I said before, I would really like more info on why he gathered these girls just to control them.  There are lots of minor characters that were well done as well, although their roles are so minor that they are not as fleshed out as I would have liked.

The overall writing is very nice and the setting is cool as well.  The house that the girls live in was a bit confusing though and it was hard to get a good sense of it.  There are many sinister secret passage ways and scary labs and other places in it that lend a dark and evil feel to it.  

Overall if you are looking for a mystery/thriller set in a dance academy with a little bit of romance mixed in, this would be a good book to take a look at.  


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