Death's Dancer

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I was contacted by the author after responding to a tweet about authors of color with diverse characters and offered a copy of the book in exchange for a review.  I graciously accepted and then the book sat on my Kindle for entirely too long.  My apologies to the author for taking so long.

Death's Dancer is set in Prague which was the first rarity for this book.  This is probably the first and only book I've ever read set there.  Second, the premise was unique.  Necromancers have saved the world after a godswar.  Isela Vogel is a godsdancer.  Her dancing brings about the power of the gods to assist her patrons in number of ways.

Isela is hired by a necromancer to help find a murderer.  Shrouded in secrecy, she accepts the job without fully realizing what she's signing up for much to the dismay of everyone she knows, including her family.  This is where the book went a little off kilter for me.  Rather than spoil it for anyone reading this, I will say that the surprises with the Vogel clan threw me for a loop and I'm still on the fence as to whether or not it made sense to me as a plot point.  It wasn't bad by any means, it just distracted me from the main story of the hunt for a killer.

I found the book a little slow in the pacing but not boring.  The author did a great job with world and character building and threw several surprises in to the plot that made me want to keep reading.  I kind of want Kyle to have his own story but I digress.  In any case, I look forward to reading more about Isela and finding out what happens next, especially after the preview of the second book!

Many thanks to Jasmine Silvera and NetGalley for a copy of the book.  I hope to see more from you in the future!
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Death’s Dancer was an enjoyable read, but there were a few things about this book that seemed a little unpolished. Primarily, it seemed as though not enough was learnt about Azrael. His dialogue seemed a bit canned, and his backstory was standard fare for paranormal romance/urban fantasy. This book was very reminiscent of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, so perhaps Azrael only seemed two-dimensional when compared to a detailed character like Raphael. Azrael’s sketched in character and backstory made him come off a little bland, which made the romance built between him and Isela seem, though their interactions were still entertaining to read. 
It also strained credulity for Isela to have so little knowledge of her own family, and her relationship with Gregor changed very quickly, which was somewhat confusing. The book may have benefited if the various types of supernatural creatures had been introduced or at least hinted at earlier, likewise for the antagonist. Without this foreshadowing, the conclusion seems less satisfying than it should have been. 
The world-building in Death’s Dancer was also less distinctive than it could have been. Though it was set in a dystopian Prague, the setting for the most part was left up to the reader’s imaginationHad real and fantasy touches been woven in, the world of the Grace Bloods could have really sprung to life, and allowed opportunities for subtle hints at the plot and supernatural inhabitants of the world.
That being said, the book was enjoyable and entertaining. Jasmine Silvera’s writing is engaging and interesting, and the world of the Grace Bloods has a lot of promise. There were several seeds planted that will allow for plenty of tension sure to lead to an action-packed sequel. 
The idea of godsdancers was an intriguing one, that did not disappoint. Isela’s determination and strong character were gratifying to read about, and the little realistic touches (changing into practical clothes for dancing, the emphasis on stretching to retain flexibility, and the work that goes into having wavy or curly hair) made her a well-rounded individual, rather than a Strong Female ProtagonistTM. Her relationship with the Academy’s director and her dancer friends was fun to read, and hopefully these characters will be explored in more depth in future books. Likewise her family, both blood and by marriage. 
Azrael’s Aegis (most notably Lyssipe) are an interesting way to explore his past and character, and the way Isela and he interacted with the staff at his castle was a highlight of the book. His necromancy was left deliberately vague, and hopefully in future books both the limits and source of his power are explored.
This book would be well suited to fans of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels or Hidden Legacy series, or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Death’s Dancer has a few minor issues, but overall, it is a solid start to a promising urban fantasy series.
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A great discovery, a very good start for a new series.
It's engaging and entertaining, with a very original world building, and well fleshed out characters.
I cannot wait to read another installment.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Even without bringing in my entire cultural anthropology degree, there is something so powerful about dance becoming a form of magic or prayer. More than one religion has used dance as a way of reaching a kind of religious ecstasy and contact with gods (think Haitian Voudoun and the loa) but this is components in a spell, a cause and effect, the movement becomes a form of speech, and it’s just amazing.

I LOVED it. 

Things I also loved. Yes on the lgbt representations. Heck yes on the MC being a woman of power and respect at the top of her field. Double heck yes in that the thing that she loves the most, her career, her power, is also destroying her. Each dance is negatively effecting her body to the point that she knows that to keep going may cripple her. I also loved the mirror of dancer and necromancer, love and sacrifice that comes out towards the end. Then we come to the romance aspects, and I love a good romance. I also love a good Alpha. Silvera has the kind of scary, powerful man who reminds me a little of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. His power is so absolute that it sets him so far apart from the rest of humanity, so remote that he is practically untouchable. As a necromancer he literally controls life and death. So how can a woman ever hope to keep something of herself once he sets his sights on her?

Perhaps she can dance herself an answer....
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This was a rare read for me in the sense I couldn't put it down. It is so unique, and absolute beautifully descriptive writing. It is also a first for me with the plot. I don't think I've read about a necromancer, and a God's dancer. This was absolutely a breath of fresh air from what I regilary read, and I'm so glad I took a chance on it. 

 It's a story you can easily get lost in and feel as if your watching it on the big screen, you're that immersed in this author's story telling.

I look forward yoore from this author.
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Death’s dancer is a novel full of mystery and suspense set in Prague. This paranormal/fantasy novel delves into the world of Isela who is a well renowned gods dancer. She has a strong passion for dance and work requires a lot of strength, tenacity, and secrecy as she works for many powerful supernatural beings. Upon being requested for a job by Azreal a powerful necromancer, Isela’s life takes a turn. This job is different from the others as it involves locating powerful spell book and that she very attracted to Azreal. As she digs deeper into the truth, the more dangerous things become.

This book had a really interesting concept that I haven’t visited before in this genre, so I’m very excited about reading it. The story is full of action packed scenes from fights, magic, and sparring dances. The gods-dancing mentioned in this book is elegant, yet fierce and you can see the passion in Isela’s dance and why she’s one of the top dancers at her academy. She tries her hardest not fall for Azreal since she he knows he’s nothing but danger. But the attraction between the two is too hard to deny as they work together on solving the mystery of the murders and locating grimoires.

I also love the attention to detail of Prague, where the story is set. It sounds like a beautiful but mysterious city making it a good setting for this suspenseful fantasy. I thought the world building was very good! Both the supernatural and human world collide in this book. The human have some knowledge about necromancers and other supernatural beings, but it only scratches the surface since people are afraid of them because they are all-powerful beings.

Loved this book! It was so entertaining that I couldn’t put it down. The mystery and action aspects had me hooked as they got closer to catching the culprit. I am definitely interested in reading the rest of the series! The romance was intense and the fantasy elements were great. Isela is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see how the story continues.
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Isela Vogel dances for gods.  Through her carefully executed choreography, she is able to draw the attention of the gods and seek requests and favors such as good health and success in business deals for her patrons.  As one of the most successful dancers in the world, Isela is frequently requested by elite clients but when the most powerful necromancer wants her for a powerful spell, Isela’s life and that the lives of those around her is put in terrible danger.  
Azrael is one of the most powerful and feared necromancers and is determined to find the being that has been able to murder five necromancers.  To increase his power for a dangerous spell, Azrael needs Isela and her dancing in order to find the killer.  
This book was so good friends!  The writing was incredible and I was immediately sucked into the story.  Isela is great-she’s incredibly smart and confidant and the way that she interacted with her friends and family was really fun to watch.  The dancers at the academy have a really tight knit friendship and it was really lovely to watch everyone care for each other and just genuinely enjoy the company of one another.  There are some big family secrets that come to light for Isela and it ended a really great layer to the story.  I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone but it’s a twist that includes one of my favorite paranormal elements.
The relationship between Isela and Azrael was a slow burn that ends with a smoking bed-literally!  There were some great conversations about consent, independance, and respect.  Isela has no problem standing up for herself and making her opinions known. 
I really loved this book and as of this writing.

Thank you to Netgalley and the Author for the review copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.
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I could have lover this story but in the end I just rather liked it which is a shame...
The good points were plentiful, my reservations are more about technique.

I loved the heroine, her personality, her relationship with her passion and job - dancing. Frequently when a character have such a passion (sport, music, art...) it's just used for the narrative but easily forget when the author doesn't need it. In this book the subject is thoroughly exposed, we are never to forget the importance of dancing for Isela.
I also like how we understand how she looks like without any use of labels.

The story was original and could have been fascinating, alas the reading was a little of flat for me...
I thought about it and concluded about three points which irked me.

The first one is the love interest: he's very caricatural. 
I understand that it's voluntary, the writer use a sterotype to show how her pragmatic and sensible heroine reacts. She also takes the trouble to explain how his longevity impacted upon his psychology. But in the end it wasn't enough for me, he still was very cliched and not very interesting...

Another problem I had was with the secondary characters: they were, for most of them (especially the besties and the family members, the team members were great) introduced much too quickly. I couldn't feel anything about the best friends, who seemed to be there just for show and didn't understand why we had to learn so much about her brothers' wives. Well, I did, afterwards, but while reading the first family reunion it was rather boring. In a way I felt that I would have liked to read a prequel of this story, where the family and friends would have been probably introduced with plenty of show don't tell instead of these very quick presentations... 

The world building, if interesting, was sometimes a bit fuzzy. For instance when Isela learns the incredible facts about her family she didn't seemed very surprised... But she should have been flabbergasted! So I wondered, maybe she wasn't much surprised because these particularities are mundane in this alternative world? And speaking about that, what is strange for her and what isn't ? What else have I missed?

Well, I quibble a lot because I was frustrated by my reading and because I am such a quibbler! But if you like inventive and personal urban fantasy, with a likeable and able female main character, you should definitely read this book which has many qualities!
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There are no words to describe how much I love this book! The world building is amazing. The plot is engrossing. The characters are fantastic. The mythology is a unique take on several supernatural beings. This story is unlike anything else I have ever read and it left me wanting more. I will definitely be reading more of this series. Highly recommend this read!
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Great introduction to a new series.  How rare is it these days to find a world construct that doesn’t feel like every other book?  The use of dance, combined with necromancy was unusual enough to keep the reader hooked as they gained a connection to the characters.  The story and relationship did feel rushed at times  and given the depth of the world and complexity of the characters we would have preferred to see a longer book or the relationship develop over several books.

We’ve recommended the series up to our panel of on air reviewers. Definitely an author to keep an eye on.
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I absolutely adored this, something completely different and couldn’t put it down. I loved Isela  and Azrael.  Isela was the amazing rarest of things in good fantasy, a strong female lead who didn’t lose her strength, didn’t back down and kept true to herself, even after meeting a male she loved ! Cannot wait to read the sequel. 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest review
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