Title: The Midnight Dance
Author: Nikki Katz
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Number of Pages: 320
When the music stops, the dance begins.
Seventeen-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.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
OK SO, I’m really mad this wasn’t what I expected. I was really excited to get to this book, and I don’t even think it was the hype that ruined it, because I haven’t seen that many people talking about it (or am I just blind?). 🤔
I was expecting ballet. Like, I know the plot isn’t about ballet itself, but the story is SET in a ballet school. And while we did get a few glimpses of dancing and classes, it didn’t satisfy me. I feel the story could be set in a completely different environment and still make sense. The ballet doesn’t add much, to be honest. I found the idea of the main character not being fond of ballet interesting, at least, but it just kept going against what I expected.
The main character, Penny, quickly bored me as well. At first, she was extremely sarcastic, and came up with a couple of very funny lines; and then, she ended up losing all those traits along the plot. I enjoyed reading from her perspective in the early chapters, but eventually, she became kinda hollow and it seemed she was being dragged by the story instead of taking charge. I also couldn’t put up with how oblivious she could get, having in comparison how she had behaved in the beginning.
Cricket, as the love interest, didn’t interest me much. I mostly found the romance and the dialogues between these two characters cringy.
And finally, I thought the other girls in the ballet school all fit in some kind of stereotype.
I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot more had the idea been better delivered. There are a few plot holes, things left unexplained, and too many unnecessary scenes. I’ve heard that this book is meant to be a standalone, but honestly, it left a lot of stuff behind. Also, I feel that the writing tells us too much about the plot, I figured most of what would happen with no difficulties, and things seemed to be solved too easily?? AND the pace of the story is ridiculously slow!
Something that’s quite unrelated to the current topic, but that also annoyed me: why did everyone keep saying “you can’t miss it!” while giving directions? I’ve never said that before when people have asked me for directions, and yet at least three people mentioned it here?? 😂
Back to the point, the chapters here are alternated between Penny’s POV and someone else’s, who’s obviously our villain, and honestly, I enjoyed those second ones so much more. They were way more interesting to read about, and I think a story based on them, instead of a story about Penny, would have been a safer option.