The Dance Between

Fiction - Fantasy - General
628 Pages
Reviewed on 11/09/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

An avid reader from an early age, Christopher is a self-taught writer with a deep, abounding love for storytelling across all media. His favorite type of stories are fantasy novels with allegorical or philosophical undertones. Influenced by his past love for poetry, he endeavors to instill a sense of poetic narration in his style along with the beauty and wonder inherent to the craft.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

In The Dance Between by Christopher Katalinas, Sevi's life is limited to the shadowy tunnels, where he lives with his closest companion, Lily, and forages for food while occasionally being threatened by a grumpy firedrake. When a flying ship shows up, they are compelled to help a human captive escape through the tunnels, giving their lives a new meaning. When the human returns with an army to retake the castle from the Fablings, Fae-like creatures, their acts of kindness force the pair to part ways. Sevi is taken in by humans and cannot determine if this is the moment to reconcile his former and current identities, leave the tunnels, and connect with the outside world. He also doesn't know what will happen to Lily.

I honestly went into The Dance Between almost blindly, looking for a unique new story in a fantasy genre that often feels recycled. Christopher Katalinas stands out from the crowded pack with a fresh storyline that is very different from anything else I've read. The author created an immersive and imaginative world, building suspense and engagement through action, developing characters, revealing mysteries, and evoking powerful emotions in the reader. Sevi and Lily have genuine emotional depth, and Katalinas harnesses this in prose that is appropriate for their natural ages. "He was mad—madder than mad. He was positively seeing red. But in all his anger, all his pain, he could not mistake one thing: he wanted, needed, a reason not to hate her." The world is spectacular and rich, where supernatural elements and both human and magical beings are featured, like a figure in wooden armor with twisting branches, fiery swords, and eerie eyes. Overall, this is brilliant work, and I look forward to following the author and seeing what he comes up with next. Very highly recommended.

Stephanie Chapman

Christopher Katalinas’ The Dance Between combines elements of science fiction and fantasy. Four years ago, Lily saved Sevi during a violent attack on the castle by the Fae, who would kill any humans they found. They live in the tunnels known as the 'Cut,' a hidden network of passages that provide them with refuge inside the castle walls. One afternoon, Lily wakes Sevi to show him a giant airship unloading a prisoner into the castle. They find him in the secure room of a tower. The man shocks them by opening a secret door into the tunnels. Sevi and Lily show Digby to the mines but refuse his offer to join him. Weeks later, humans attack the castle, and they shoot Sevi. His unique, symbolic necklace saves him. The necklace draws the attention of several high-ranking officers. While in the infirmary, Sevi is overcome with grief when he learns Lily is missing.

Christopher Katalinas writes about a vibrant world in vivid detail. The exceptional descriptions of the Cut made me picture the tunnels lit by bio-illuminant plants. Sevi’s emotions are relatable, and it is easy to see how his youth influences his perception. His need to trust someone intensifies as he discovers how deceptive adults are. The dialogue was engaging, and the supporting characters added depth to each event. The intensity of the suspense captured my imagination. There are no dull moments and the book is filled with magic, loyalty, danger, and espionage. Each page reveals a twist of intrigue that leads Sevi into various predicaments. The Dance Between will appeal to a wide range of readers as it spans several genres, including fantasy, science fiction, and adventure.

Foluso Falaye

In the rubble of a devastating attack and the lonely corner of a grand castle, Sevi has many questions and only a few answers. His parents are probably dead, but emerging to find out is dangerous. At least, that's what his only friend, Lily, tells him. Sevi eventually comes out of hiding only to discover his past is much different from what he envisioned and he has to deal with the responsibility of being in authority. How can you survive in a world with mindless beings, where you don't know who's a Fae, possessed, or human? The Dance Between by Christopher Katalinas portrays the adventure-packed and perilous journey of a boy whose war-torn world hangs in the balance as he confronts trust issues, dilemmas, and high stakes while surrounded by chaos and uncertainty.

Christopher Katalinas nails the characterization, suspense, and worldbuilding, leaving readers both pleased and hungry for more. I couldn't get enough of it. The chemistry between Sevi and Lily is obvious from the beginning; they are seen sharing jokes and teasing each other throughout the story. For example, Sevi sarcastically refers to Lily as "Queen of the Cut, most benevolent bestower of meals." Sevi's journey is rife with heart-racing surprises, near-death experiences, and intriguing questions. Imagine not knowing whether you will be eaten by the next being you come across and being haunted by shadows and nightmares. Apart from being a great story for dark fantasy and adventure fans, The Dance Between is also suitable for readers who love political conundrums and military strategies. I enjoyed every bite of this chunky, flavourful tale that's brimming with distinctive magic and slowly unfolding secrets.