Book Review:  Nocturne, by Alyssa Wees  

Image belongs to Ballantine/Del Rey.

Title:  Nocturne
Author: Alyssa Wees    
Genre: Fantasy, YA    
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Growing up in Chicago’s Little Sicily in the years following the Great War, Grace Dragotta has always wanted to be a ballerina, ever since she first peered through the windows of the Near North Ballet Company. So when Grace is orphaned, she chooses the ballet as her home, imagining herself forever ensconced in a transcendent world of light and beauty so different from her poor, immigrant upbringing.

Years later, with the Great Depression in full swing, Grace has become the company’s new prima ballerina—though achieving her long-held dream is not the triumph she once envisioned. Time and familiarity have tarnished that shining vision, and her new position means the loss of her best friend in the world. Then she attracts the attention of the enigmatic Master La Rosa as her personal patron, and realizes the world is not as small or constricted as she had come to fear.

Who is her mysterious patron, and what does he want from her? As Grace begins to unlock the Master’s secrets, she discovers that there is beauty in darkness as well as light, finds that true friendship cannot be broken by time or distance, and realizes there may be another way entirely to achieve the transcendence she has always sought.

This wasn’t consistent read for me. What I mean by that:  solid writing and descriptions, and I love the ballet parts. But….Grace and the other characters felt very one-dimensional and cliched, like the author tried to cobble them—and the story—together from a handful of other stories and myths, but didn’t make them unique enough to be believable. Grace was more of a puppet than anything else, barely taking any of her own initiative to do anything. As a whole, this just didn’t work for me, despite the dreamy ballet sequences.

Alyssa Wees lines in the Chicago area. Nocturne is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Ballantine/Del Rey in exchange for an honest review.)


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