Series: Bolshoi Saga #2
Author: Elizabeth Kiem
Publisher: Soho Teen
Published Date: September 2nd, 2014
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary, Ballet, Russia, YA
Page Count: 272
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Lana travels to New York City, on tour dancing with the world famous Bolshoi Ballet in this thrilling follow up to Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy.
Lana Dukovskaya has spent her life in her mother, Marina’s, shadow, and nowhere more so than at Russia’s world-famous Bolshoi ballet, where Marina danced years ago. But when Daniela, Lana’s friend and chief rival, is brutally attacked on the eve of a New York tour, Lana is given her coveted solo—an unlikely stroke of luck that makes Lana the chief suspect in the attack.
Once in New York, Lana meets Georgi Levshik, a powerful Russian émigré who claims to know the truth about Marina's past. She’s torn between her distrust of Levshik's offered patronage and her need for answers. But when another young dancer is struck down on the day of her debut, Lana becomes the prime suspect in not one, but two attacks.
On the run and still in the dark, Lana puts her trust in Levshik's alluring young bodyguard, Roma. Together they must uncover the truth about a Bolshoi blood feud involving three generations of Dukovskaya dancers.
May Contain Spoilers
While the first book Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy was set in Russia/America in the early 1980's this one is present day Russia/America. We get to follow Lana who is a third generation, ballerina at the Bolshoi. Yet no one including Lana knows much about her grandmother who was the chosen one and set things into motion for her daughter, and now granddaughter.
"My mother, Marina Dukovoskaya, is a cipher. A riddle. A mystery she refuses to help me solve."
Lana Viktorovna Dukovskaya is a young woman who speaks her mind (still a dangerous thing to be doing), she questions when things shouldn't be questioned and she isn't afraid to take risks.
"I can't help it. It's hard for me to bite my tongue. Maybe it's because my mother can. And does. My mother's the champ of keeping quiet."
While she is her mother's daughter, she is also left with a lot of unknowns in her life. She doesn't have a father or any family besides Marina who seems to be there but not there all at the same time. Marina has kept many secrets from Lana, secrets that turn out to have major consequences once Lana is in America.
"Marina, still limp and pliant as a puppet, is now pulling the strings. I feel her direction, feel her repel me and encourage me. She is muting my outrage, cooling my heat, lowering me to earth. She is offering me an alternative. Maybe it is a disguise. Maybe it is a mask. Certainly it is easier to wear than a crown of a martyred maiden."
Lana starts to learn things about her mother's past once she meets Uncle Georgi (yes I too was surprised to see him still alive), and his young worker Roma.
"Is he a criminal?"
"You know the answer. He's a business man. An old soviet. An ex-Sovok. A self-made American. A philanthropist. You know exactly what he is. A rich man with rich tastes and many resources. He breaks the rules that hurt the fewest. He plays the games that benefit most."
She gets to know things about her family that were kept hidden from her in Russia. She learns why her mother is the way she is and even finally gets an answer to a question she had never gotten an answer to. She is learning all of this while someone in the ballet company is trying to make her look guilty for multiple things that could make her vanish if convicted forever!
"You played your part flawlessly, Lana Dukovskaya. You were a perfect Chosen One. You fought me, you ran from me, and now you will keep my secret. Now you will pay for the sins of your elders. I have been waiting for this moment, Lana, since before you were born."
While I liked Marina's story, I loved Lana's. Lana is so much like Marina at times it is truly amazing, but she is also different with the fact that she is tired of the new status quo that is in Russian Ballet and because of that she is unpredictable. The people in charge see her as a threat, and are willing to risk everything to try, and take her down.
"You don't have the experience."
"Spit on experience. I have a huge stake in this and it's time for you to make room."
Hider, Seeker, Secret Keeper really does build off of the groundwork placed in the first book. We get answers to things that were glossed over in the first one and learned what happened after everything went down. Characters from the first one are back in this one as well with a few new added in for Lana.
Kiem's writing is so easy to read (even the Russian). You really feel like you are right there with Lana while everything is happening, and while a lot does happen in a very short amount of time it works! It has to go at breakneck speed so we can really feel the pressure that Lana and the others are under in order to stop the person in the company. People's lives are literally depending on it and the possibility of more people getting hurt is very real.
"It's the only thing I need to hear. The only thing. I am strong. I am innocent. I'm like my mother."
The closure we do find at the end of this book is nice, we also get a surprise ending that I was not expecting to have happened. I'm really hoping in the final book, we get to learn more about Uncle Georgi and how exactly he came to be so close to the family. I can't wait to read the final book now and see how this all concludes!