The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

The Midnight Dance

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 li...

Title:The Midnight Dance
Author:
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Edition Language:English

The Midnight Dance Reviews

  • A.V. Geiger

    This book kept me up past 2:00 am. I couldn't stop reading... Not until I understood all the weirdness going on at this bizarre-o boarding school for ballerinas. Creepy, twisty, and oh-so-deliciously DARK.

  • Fafa's Book Corner

    Mini review:

    DNF

    I read part of this book on Swoon Reads.

    This book is just not for me. It seems to be a bit of thriller. Which is a genre I avoid.

    Still recommend.

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    I love the cover for this book so I'm so sad that it was so bad. It was just weird, confusing and uncomfortable. I don't know if it's just because I don't like thrillers, so take my opinion as you will with that knowledge, but I had so much trouble following the narrative and figuring out what was going on. I was hoping for a creepy story set in a ballet school in Italy, like how cool is that setting. But whatever it was, it wasn't that. Definitely disappointing.

  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    3.5 stars! I'm... not quite sure how to feel. On one hand, the writing was absolutely lovely, but I think the story was a bit of a miss for me personally, though that might be due to personal preferences! But let me say this first-

    Can someone please make this into a movie? Thanksssss.

    Penny is one of many dancers held up in the Master's estate. At the beginning, she starts to realize her memories are off-kilter and something is very wrong. Despite being drawn

    3.5 stars! I'm... not quite sure how to feel. On one hand, the writing was absolutely lovely, but I think the story was a bit of a miss for me personally, though that might be due to personal preferences! But let me say this first-

    Can someone please make this into a movie? Thanksssss.

    Penny is one of many dancers held up in the Master's estate. At the beginning, she starts to realize her memories are off-kilter and something is very wrong. Despite being drawn to the (very handsome) Master (the owner of the estate), Penny discovers he's doing something to manipulate all the girls. (Sounds cool right?)

    I was super into the first few chapters. The plot takes no time to dive you in deep, and I was totally into the whole Master concept. So much in fact, that I think it set my hopes too high for the end. I was expecting some majorly cool plot twists and while there were a few small ones, nothing really caught me off guard. So that's probably my fault-my expectation levels with the whole mystery thing were sky high, so I was sad when there were no big surprises. I DID like the few small ones though. I also felt like there were a few loopholes, but it could be that I missed some important details. (Let's be honest, that was probably my fault.)

    The concept was strong, but the characterization fell a bit flat for me. The focus was much more on the present circumstances and mystery vs the character's pasts or personalities, so I had a difficult time connecting to anyone, especially at the beginning. I get it, everything was supposed to be a mystery, but since the mystery aspect didn't have many surprises, I just had a hard time with it.

    The Master totally had 'Darkling' vibes, and I LOVED that bit, but he kinda disappointed me in the end. It was cool that we saw bits of his story in the past but it didn't feel like strong enough motivation for him to become who he was. I'm SUPER particular about my villains though, so I doubt anyone else will feel the same.

    Now I know that all sounds a bit negative, but trust me, those are all personal opinions that I doubt others will share. This book had MANY redeeming qualities. For instance, the setting was SO COOL and the writing (which I mentioned earlier) was absolutely lovely. While the mystery aspect was a bit of a letdown for me personally, the story was still really cool and I really enjoyed several bits. I would

    read another book by Nikki because she's an extremely talented author.

    So all in all, If you're in the mood for a mystery/semi-thriller with hints of romance, check out this book!

    Also, a special thanks to

    for buddy reading this with me! You were spot on with your theories ;) Check out Joshua's review

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  • Joshua Gabriel (Ever Bookish Josh)

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    After giving meh ratings to two Swoon Reads titles (

    and

    ), I was a little hesitant to read this book. However, as usual, the cover was so attractive that I just had to go beyond the title and copyright pages. Thankfully, I did not regret my decision

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    After giving meh ratings to two Swoon Reads titles (

    and

    ), I was a little hesitant to read this book. However, as usual, the cover was so attractive that I just had to go beyond the title and copyright pages. Thankfully, I did not regret my decision.

    Before you proceed, be warned that this book isn't a typical YA contemporary novel. It is actually a mild psychological thriller about twelve ballerinas who live in an isolated finishing school owned by a dashing man named Master. Penny, the heroine, is strangely Master's favorite student. She feels intoxicated in his presence, but a voice in the back of her mind tells her to stay away from him. When Master's secrets are divulged by the gradual resurfacing of Penny's lost memories, the Grand Teatro becomes less like a finishing school and more like a creepy dollhouse.

    Those of you who are familiar with my reading tastes probably know that I rarely read thrillers. I don't necessarily dislike them; I just don't gravitate towards them like I do to fantasy or sci-fi novels. With that in mind, reading

    was somehow a refreshing experience. Even though it wasn't so scary, Master's psychopathic behavior triggered a sour taste in my mouth. The things he did to Penny and the other ballerinas were twisted as heck. I often feared for Penny's safety (and sanity), and I was overwhelmed by the desire to know how and why Master became so...incongruous. He was gorgeous on the outside yet malevolent on the inside. If you've read

    , you might compare Master to the ever mysterious Darkling.

    Since this book was published by Swoon Reads, I was delightfully surprised that romance wasn't the highlight of the story. There were no too cheesy scenes nor an abundance of instalove. Penny and Cricket's relationship did add a touch of sweetness and intrigue, but I liked that the author was more focused on telling about their attempts to escape from Master's clutches. In this regard,

    is a rare gem among other Swoon Reads titles.

    Penny was the most significant catalyst behind my 4-star rating. She was an empowered female in light of her constant craving for the truth. In fact, her mind was so strong that Master couldn't control it completely. If Penny were thrown into a dystopian world, she would get along with Cassia Reyes (

    ) or America Singer (

    ), heroines who always take something with a grain of salt.

    My main problem with this book was it's rationale for Master's mental condition. I simply couldn't accept that he became a control freak because of his Cinderella-like childhood. Also, I didn't fully understand Master's supposedly scientific process of mind control. The latter ideas were very promising, but their execution was unsatisfactory. Hence, by the end of the book, my mind was still shrouded in a mist of confusion.

    Nonetheless, I had fun reading

    . I recommend it to booknerds searching for a moderately thrilling book to read this fall. Since I still have some unanswered questions, I hope that a sequel is in the works.

    P.S. I read this book with the smart and pretty

    . You can check out her review

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  • Stacee

    DNF at 21%

    I’ll admit to being sucked in by that cover, but I really liked the synopsis...sadly, that’s the nicest thing I can say about what I read.

    Penny and the other girls seem horribly flat. Master is creepy af and I spent a good portion of the time reading wondering if he was sexually assaulting the girls. Cricket does seem to care about Penny, but it’s weird that he knows what’s happening.

    Plot wise, I felt like I was dropped into a story that had already been started. The prologue had pro

    DNF at 21%

    I’ll admit to being sucked in by that cover, but I really liked the synopsis...sadly, that’s the nicest thing I can say about what I read.

    Penny and the other girls seem horribly flat. Master is creepy af and I spent a good portion of the time reading wondering if he was sexually assaulting the girls. Cricket does seem to care about Penny, but it’s weird that he knows what’s happening.

    Plot wise, I felt like I was dropped into a story that had already been started. The prologue had promise and I did get to a small reveal of what was going on, but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep me reading.

    I’m choosing not to rate this one strictly because I didn’t make it to my usual 25-30%; however off of what I did read, I would have given it 1 star.

    **Huge thanks to Swoon Reads for providing the arc free of charge**

  • Darque  Dreamer

    The Midnight Dance is a daring, heart pounding read! It was full of character, intrigue, and mystery. This fast paced read is sure to captivate and move you!

    What can I say about The Midnight Dance? I found it mysterious and thrilling. I felt like it held inspiration from The Phantom of the Opera. It offered danger, passion, and unexpected twists that I found fascinating! This one was truly unique.

    I enjoyed the world building and plot. Though, I wish the world building had had a few more details,

    The Midnight Dance is a daring, heart pounding read! It was full of character, intrigue, and mystery. This fast paced read is sure to captivate and move you!

    What can I say about The Midnight Dance? I found it mysterious and thrilling. I felt like it held inspiration from The Phantom of the Opera. It offered danger, passion, and unexpected twists that I found fascinating! This one was truly unique.

    I enjoyed the world building and plot. Though, I wish the world building had had a few more details, and the plot was not so fast paced, I still felt that they were both well done, and elegantly written. The writing style used was quite beautiful and entrancing. I was drawn in to the story and to the main characters.

    I saw beauty and strength in our main character, Penny. Though, there were times she wasn't as relate-able as I would have liked, I felt a connection to her. She was brave, and determined to find answers to the mysteries of her memories, the school , and The Master.

    I was so intrigued by The Master of the school. He was dark and brooding, mysterious, and handsome.  He added a layer of depth and captivation to the story, as well as harboring many entertaining secrets.

    And, finally, there was Cricket. Cricket was a necessary character that added a little mystery to the story. I would have liked him to be a touch more developed, but he added a layer of passion and empathy to the story, nonetheless. He was brave and caring, and definitely alluring.

    My final thoughts are that of enjoyment and thrills. I wouldn't classify this as a contemporary book. I would say it falls more under the mystery genre, grazing the horror genre. I cannot say more without giving spoilers, but there is definitely more than meets the eye here, and it is very interesting! I really enjoyed the plot twists and the thrilling mystery. The Midnight Dance was a unique, must read!

    Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for providing me with this free e-ARC in exchange for me honest review!

  • Aneta Bak

    This book definitely needs to be made into a movie.

    Penny can't remember who she really is. How strange is it that she can't remember her favourite meal, and all the girls at Grade Teatro have a similar memory of who their mother was and why they ended up there. The only thing that the girls can remember is their dance routine, and that they must never disobey the Master. When Penny's memories start to return, she is desperate to keep them, and find out more about who she really was before she be

    This book definitely needs to be made into a movie.

    Penny can't remember who she really is. How strange is it that she can't remember her favourite meal, and all the girls at Grade Teatro have a similar memory of who their mother was and why they ended up there. The only thing that the girls can remember is their dance routine, and that they must never disobey the Master. When Penny's memories start to return, she is desperate to keep them, and find out more about who she really was before she became trapped in this mansion.

    I was hooked right from the beginning, the action starts right away and it is very easy to understand the concept of whats going on, which makes the book very pleasurable to read. The writing in this book is so beautiful and I love the way the author wrote descriptions, dialogue and the speed of the plot.

    I fell in love with Penny right from the beginning. You can tell how strong of a character she is, when Master can't fully control her mind. Her desperation to find the truth and free the other girls was so wonderful to read about, I definitely love these types of main characters who do things not just for themselves, but to save others.

    Part of the story in this book takes place in the past, as we see how Master became the person that he is today and why. While I thought this was really interesting in the beginning, it kind of fell short for me around the middle and I just got bored with this side of the story. I thought it could have been a bit more interesting, and maybe a tad more explained. I would have loved to see more of the science theory that they had behind the mind control and such.

    Overall, this was a really beautiful book. I will definitely be picking up more from this author because I loved her writing style. If you've read the synopsis and you think you'd enjoy it then definitely give it a try.

    Happy Reading,

    Aneta

  • Alyssa

    4.5 stars. I loved this!

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    The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

    Publisher: Swoon Reads

    Publication Date: October 17, 2017

    Rating: 4 stars

    Source: ARC sent by the publisher

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    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 Mas

    4.5 stars. I loved this!

    ***

    ***

    The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

    Publisher: Swoon Reads

    Publication Date: October 17, 2017

    Rating: 4 stars

    Source: ARC sent by the publisher

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    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.

    What I Liked:

    I've read a number of books published by Swoon Reads, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing. This imprint is unique because it is crowd-sourced in terms of the work, and there are always a ton of manuscripts available to read and explore on the website. The Midnight Dance is one of many that has been picked up for publication by Swoon Reads. I've had mixed results with the Swoon Reads books I've read so far, but this one is among my favorites. I adore Cindy Anstey's books, but I think those will share the spotlight with this book. The Midnight Dance was haunting and mysterious, yet swoony and seductive. It was an interesting book to read, and while I could definitely see the author developing her writing and craft, I have a good feeling about her future work.

    Penny is one of the lead dancers of the Grande Teatro, a coveted dance school that is selective about its students. There are only a handful of students at any given time, with rare new faces on occasion. The girls are educated in many subjects, but their focus is dance, as they all strive to be the best ballerina in Italy. The school is overseen by Master, who is shrouded in mystery and handsome looks. Every girl has a crush on him... except for Penny, who can't shake the creepy feeling she has started to feel when he is near. What's more, her memory is starting to jumble, and she isn't sure what is real and what isn't. Somehow, Master is messing with her mind. With the help of the charming kitchen steward, Penny is determined to find out what happened in her past that will determine her future at the school.

    I love how this story is set up. At first, I was just as confused as Penny; what is happening to her memories? Why is she starting to remember this or that? And then - why did she suddenly forget what she started to remember? Usually I hate being enveloped in this kind of confusion, especially so early on, but I found that this only intrigued me even more. From start, we know that there is something wrong with Penny's memories. And soon after, Penny finds out that Master might have something to do with it, and Cricket seems to have an idea as to what is happening to her. But these realizations are only the tip of the iceberg. Master is a lot worse than she expected. and Cricket is so much more than a kitchen steward.

    I liked Penny just fine, though I didn't love her, nor did I hate her. I really felt for her, as she tried to navigate her life while realizing that she had no idea who she really was. She had no idea what her life before the school was like. She didn't even know what her favorite food was. It was easy to root for her, because she was so clearly wronged. But I also liked her persistence, even when she was throwing herself into obvious danger. She wanted nothing more than to understand what was happening to her, stop Master, and save the other girls.

    Cricket is such a sweetheart! He is the kitchen steward which basically means that he brings everyone their meals and clears tables. There is a lot more to him than meets the eye, but Master keeps him on a tight leash. Cricket is smart, loyal, protective, and stubborn, and he never stops trying to help Penny regain her true memories. He is one of the constants of the story that is inherently good and kind. But he also has a protective streak that shows up every now and then, which I loved.

    I was hooked soon after the story began, and I didn't want to stop reading. It's too bad I started reading the book on the Metro to work, because I really wanted to keep reading. Hate or love this book, you have to say that it is engaging (well, hopefully). There are so many revelations dropped, as the story goes on. Some might be obvious, but the placement and timing are really good.

    I love the Italian influence and setting. There are so many Italian food references - it was impossible not to get hungry, after reading this book. I really want some antipasto or ciabatta or something now (it's nearly midnight at the moment!). The author references a lot of Italian food, but also sprinkles in the occasional term or phrase in Italian. You can't not know that the story is set in Italy!

    The story is also a historical one, set in the 1800s. I love this time period and it definitely worked well for this story. The types of things that Master was doing were very advanced, yet the author made them fit into the story.

    There is some sci-fi to this book! I don't want to say anything specific, but it's pretty cool. Terrible, but cool. I love that we get to see Master's backstory and how he came to work on the sci-fi stuff. Again, it is terrible stuff (what he is doing), but it is also fascinating. You kind of feel bad for him? At least initially.

    There is a romance and it is swoony! And very non-love-triangle-y. I promise there is no triangle or square or anything of the sort. Cricket and Penny are adorable together, even if they aren't actually a couple for most of the book. There is obvious but subtle chemistry between them, and I couldn't wait for them to finally acknowledge their feelings, or kiss! See my 09/28 Swoon Thursday post.

    Overall, this book worked for me. I enjoyed it, especially for the entertaining and mysterious story. The adorable romance definitely didn't hurt, and the fact that this book is a standalone makes it a great choice.

    What I Did Not Like:

    I acknowledge the fact that there definitely could have been more plot and character development. The author's writing and craft seems new and unpracticed. It's hard to describe what I'm talking about without sharing whole pages or talking about specifics, but basically, we know this is a debut. I fully believe that the author will get better as a writer the more she writes. This story felt juvenile on occasion, which I noticed several times, but it wasn't too distracting. I see the author's potential!

    Would I Recommend It:

    If you like historical fiction novels with romance and some slightly creepy sci-fi elements, check out this book! It has an air of mystery to it, and it's a fast read. The ending is really good and it is perfect as the ending of a standalone. And the romance was definitely swoony! Swoon Reads is living up to the name.

    Rating:

    4 stars. I am glad this book is a standalone, but I definitely want to read more by this author! I'll be looking out for her 2018 book. I'm sure her next book will be even better!

  • Aimie

    centres around a world hidden in a forest and everything beautiful about ballet.

    Penny has the privilege of attending a prestigious ballet academy, thanks to the mysterious Master. Since the academy is hidden away in the forest, she lives a rather simple life. As a member of the elite twelve dancers, Penny must perform as the Master wishes and must never leave the estate. However, when Penny starts to forget lengthy periods of time and begins to have memories that don't coinci

    centres around a world hidden in a forest and everything beautiful about ballet.

    Penny has the privilege of attending a prestigious ballet academy, thanks to the mysterious Master. Since the academy is hidden away in the forest, she lives a rather simple life. As a member of the elite twelve dancers, Penny must perform as the Master wishes and must never leave the estate. However, when Penny starts to forget lengthy periods of time and begins to have memories that don't coincide with what she was told was her life, she begins to question everything. Teaming up with the handsome kitchen boy, Cricket, she begins to unravel everything.

    If you don't know by now, I am an absolute sucker for historical fiction (and romance). Reading a book that is both a blend of historical fiction and fantasy just makes things so much more entertaining. With that being said, I dived into this book like there was no tomorrow. I just kept reading. Katz's writing was so creative and whimsical. It makes you feel like you are a participate in all the madness, not merely an observer. Everything was dramatic and beautifully written.

    It was a creepy and thrilling and such a fun book to read. However, my rating for the book ended up slightly going down. the reason behind my rating is because it became rather repetitive. I simply felt like it was slowly building up to something only to have it intensify within the last 100 pages of the book. Besides that, this was such an enjoyable book to read.

    Overall, I would recommend this book to young adults and those who love unique plots. So take the time to be swept away by

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