Wildwood Dancing

Wildwood Dancing

by Juliet Marillier

Hardcover(Library Binding)

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High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom—an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar's grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can't imagine—tests of trust, strength, and true love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375933646
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/23/2007
Series: Wildwood Dancing Series , #1
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.33(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Juliet Marillier is the author of several highly popular fantasy novels for adults, including the Sevenwaters Trilogy and the Bridei Chronicles. This is her first novel for teen readers. She lives in Australia.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I’ve heard it said that girls can’t keep secrets. That’s wrong: we’d proved it. We’d kept ours for years and years, ever since we came to live at Piscul Dracului and stumbled on the way into the Other Kingdom. Nobody knew about it—not Father, not our housekeeper, Florica, or her husband, Petru, not Uncle Nicolae or Aunt Bogdana or their son, Cezar. We found the portal when Tati was seven and I was six, and we’d been going out and coming in nearly every month since then: nine whole years of Full Moons. We had plenty of ways to cover our absences, including a bolt on our bedchamber door and the excuse that my sister Paula sometimes walked in her sleep.

I suppose the secret was not completely ours; Gogu knew. But even if frogs could talk, Gogu would never have told. Ever since I’d found him long ago, crouched all by himself in the forest, dazed and hurt, I had known I could trust him more than anyone else in the world.

It was the day of Full Moon. In the bedchamber our gowns and shoes were laid out ready; combs, bags, and hair ornaments were set beside them. Nothing would be touched now, until the household was safely in bed. Fortunately, it was rare for Florica to come up to our room, because it was at the top of a flight of stairs, and stairs made her knees hurt. I did wonder how much Florica knew or guessed. She must have noticed how quiet we always were on the night of Full Moon, and how exhausted we were when we stumbled down to breakfast the next morning. But if she knew, Florica didn’t say a thing.

During the day we kept up our normal activities, trying not to arouse suspicion. Paula helped Florica cook fish ciorbía, while Iulia went out to lend a hand to Petru, who was storing away sacks of grain to last us over the winter. Iulia did not enjoy the hard work of the farm, but at least, she said, it made the time go more quickly. Tati was teaching Stela to read: I had seen the two of them ensconced in a warm corner of the kitchen, making letters in a tray of wet sand.

I sat in the workroom with Father, reconciling a set of orders with a record of payments. I was good with figures and helped him regularly with such tasks. The merchant business in which he was a partner with his cousin, whom we called Uncle Nicolae, kept the two of them much occupied. Gogu sat on the desk, keeping himself to himself, though once or twice I caught his silent voice—the one only I could hear.

You’re upset, Jena.

“Mmm,” I murmured, not wanting to get into a real conversation with him while both Father and his secretary, Gabriel, were in the room. My family didn’t truly believe that I sometimes knew what Gogu was thinking. Even my sisters, who had long ago accepted that this was no ordinary frog, thought that I was deluding myself—putting my own words into the frog’s mouth, perhaps. I knew that was wrong. I’d had Gogu since I was a small girl, and the things he told me definitely didn’t come from my own head.

Don’t be sad. Tonight is Full Moon.

“I can’t help it, Gogu. I’m worried. Now hush, or Father will hear me.”

Father was trying to write a letter. He kept coughing, and in between bouts he struggled to catch his breath. Tomorrow he would be leaving on a journey to the port of Constan¸ta, in the milder climate of the Black Sea coast. His doctor had told him, sternly, that if he tried to get through another winter at Piscul Dracului in his present ill health, he would be dead before the first buds opened on the oaks. We five sisters would be looking after the place on our own, right through the winter. Of course, Uncle Nicolae would help with the business, and Florica and Petru with the house and farm. It was not so much the extra responsibility that troubled me. Father was away often enough on business and we had coped before, though not for so long. What chilled me was the thought that when we said goodbye in the morning, it might be forever.

At supper we were all quiet. I was thinking about what Father had confided to Tati and me earlier. Up till then, none of us had mentioned the possibility that Father might die of this illness, for to say that aloud would be to put the unthinkable into words. But Father had wanted his eldest daughters to be prepared for whatever might happen. Should he die before any of us girls married and bore a son, he’d explained, both Piscul Dracului and Father’s share of the business would go to Uncle Nicolae, as the closest male relative. We were not to worry. If the worst should occur, Uncle Nicolae would see we were provided for.

Uncle Nicolae’s family home was called Vârful cu Neguréa: Storm Heights. His house was quite grand, set on a hillside and surrounded by birch and pine forest. He ran a prosperous farm and a timber business, as well as the trading ventures that had made him wealthy. When we were little, we had lived in the merchant town of Bra¸sov, and Vârful cu Neguréa had been a place we visited as a special treat. It was hard to say what I had loved best about it: the dark forest, the forbidden lake, or the excitement of playing with our big cousins, who were both boys.

But there was no doubt at all what Father had loved. Next door to Vârful cu Neguréa was Piscul Dracului, Devil’s Peak. Father had first seen the empty, crumbling castle, set on a high spur of rock, when he was only a boy. Our father was an unusual kind of person, and as soon as he clapped eyes on Piscul Dracului he wanted to live there. There’d been nobody to inherit the ruin and the tract of wildwood that went with it; perhaps the many strange tales attached to the place had frightened people away. The owner had died long ago. Florica and Petru had been custodians of the place for years, looking after the empty chambers and eking out a living from the small farm, for they were hardworking, thrifty folk.

Father had waited a long time to achieve his dream. He had worked hard, married, and fathered daughters, bought and sold, scrimped and saved. When he’d set enough silver aside from his merchant ventures, trading in silk carpets and bear skins, spices and fine porcelain, he’d quietly paid a large sum to an influential voivode, gone into partnership with Uncle Nicolae, and moved our family into Piscul Dracului.

I think Mother would have preferred to stay in Bra¸sov, for she feared the tales folk told about the old castle. It looked as if it had grown up out of the forest, with an assortment of bits and pieces sprouting from every corner: tiny turrets, long covered walkways, squat round towers, arches, and flagpoles. The eccentric nobleman who had built it had probably been someone just like Father. People seldom ventured into the forest around Piscul Dracului. There was a lake deep within the wildwood, a place unofficially known as the Deadwash, though its real name was prettier: Tíaul Ielelor, Lake of the Nymphs. Every family had a dark story about the Deadwash. We got ours soon after we moved into the castle. When I was five years old, my cousin Costi—Uncle Nicolae’s eldest son—drowned in Tíaul Ielelor. I was there when it happened. The things folk said about the lake were true.

Before Father became so ill, Tati and I had scarcely given a thought to such weighty matters as what might happen to Piscul Dracului, with no son to inherit our father’s property. My elder sister was a dreamer, and I had a different kind of future in mind for myself: one in which I would work alongside my father, traveling and trading and seeing the world. Marriage and children were secondary in my scheme of things. Now—with Father’s cough ringing in our ears, and his white face regarding us across the supper table—they had become a frightening reality. I remembered Aunt Bogdana saying that sixteen was the ideal age for a young woman to wed. Tati was already in her seventeenth year; I was only one year younger.

Father went off to bed as soon as the meal was over; he’d hardly touched his food. The others disappeared to our bedchamber, but I waited for Florica to bank up the fire in the big stove and for Petru to bolt the front door, and for the two of them to retire to their sleeping quarters. Then it was safe, and I ran up the stairs to our chamber, my worries set aside for now, my heart beating fast with an anticipation that was part joy, part fear. At last it was time.

The long room we sisters shared had four round windows of colored glass: soft violet, blood-red, midnight-blue, beech-green. Beyond them the full moon was sailing up into the night sky. I put Gogu on a shelf to watch as I took off my working dress and put on my dancing gown, a green one that my frog was particularly fond of. Paula was calmly lighting our small lanterns, to be ready for the journey.

With five girls, even the biggest bedchamber can get crowded. As Tati fastened the hooks on my gown, I watched Iulia twirling in front of the mirror. She was thirteen now, and developing the kind of curvaceous figure our Mother had had. Her gown was of cobalt silk and she had swept her dark curls up into a circlet of ribbon butterflies. We had become clever, over the years, in our use of the leftovers from Father’s shipments. He was good at what he did, but buying Piscul Dracului had eaten up a lot of his funds and, even in partnership with his wealthy cousin, he was still making up for lost ground. I saw the books every day—he had been unable to conceal from me that finances remained very tight. We sisters had to improvise. We made one new dancing gown anytime a cargo contained a little more of a certain fabric than the buyer had requested. I wore Tati’s hand-me-downs; Paula wore mine. Iulia, with her fuller figure, did rather better, because she could not fit into either Tati’s clothes or mine. All the same, she complained; she would have liked a whole wardrobe of finery. Tati was clever with her needle, and adjusted old things of Mother’s to fit her. Mother was gone. We had lost her when our youngest sister was born. Stela was only five—easy to dress.

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Wildwood Dancing 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 158 reviews.
Reads_a_lot More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Wildwood Dancing for the second time. This book-I'll tell you right now- will make you laugh, scream, and cry. You'll hate some characters, and love others. You'll be yelling at Jena: telling her exactly what to do even though she won't listen. The ending is beautifully written and warms my heart each time I think about it. I most surely recommend this book to all who love fantasy, adventure, and true love. Go on, read it. You know you want to ;)
yo_mariah46 More than 1 year ago
i love fantasy books and this is another one to add to my list of favorites. i was surprised all the way to the end. i highly recomend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best fairy tales I have ever read
Karigan More than 1 year ago
Wildwood Dancing is for those of you who enjoy romance and fantasy. The book is supposed to be based off of 12 Dancing Princesses, but consider it a mixture between that and The Princess and the Frog. I found much of the book highly reminiscent of The Sevenwaters Trilogy. There were many elements that were the same: two brothers falling in love with the same girl, a forest that is a gateway to the Realm of Fae, a lovesick older sister and so on. However, the book was wonderful. It was one of those perfect books that had everything you could ever want in a book: mystery, magic, a beautiful setting, romance, and all tied up with a happy ending. The main character Jena is not a Mary Sue and is quite flawed, making the story altogether more interesting. You feel proper emotion for everything in the story. Frustration, anger, hate for the villains, and love for all of Jena's sisters. Beautifully written (Juliet Marillier is a fantastic autor), lovely story, great characters...an enticing book that is worth buying and rereading several times. The more adventerous sequel, Cybele's Secret, is just as good, if not better than Wildwood Dancing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! If you are a fan of good vs. evil, true love, and magical places, you will enjoy "Wildwood Dancing." There is an unexpected twist at the end that will have you shocked and wanting more! The main chacater, Jenica, must try to hold her family together and learns a lesson in following her instincts.
Mr_Porter More than 1 year ago
Wildwood dancing is about five sisters, their father, and their cosins. When they found a portel in Jena's bedchamber the all go thourgh it and discover another kingdom called wildwood. When their father gets really ill and is sent away the sisters are on their own. Jena has a enchanted frog named Gogu he helpes her deside if she should marry or save the Wildwood from harm.On one of the full moons Tatiania falls in love with a night person, also known as a vampire. Jena tries to keep them apart for as long as she can. So if you like magical lands, forbiden lovers, dangers that await, and enchanted frogs then you would like this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love everything by Juliette Marillier. This is my favorite after Daughter of The Forest. I couldn't wait to go to bed at night to read it.
cwstevens64 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jena and her four sisters have kept a secret for years. On the full moon of each month they cross the threshold into a parallel world of their forbidden forest and dance with the fey folk. Things begin to fall apart and they soon find themselves at the mercy of a controlling and angry cousin. Wildwood Dancing is a complex "fairy tale" that quickly draws the reader in. Using bits and pieces of other stories, Marillier creates an old world setting in which young women must use their intelligence and personal power to keep their freedom. Leading the reader through obstacles and adventures, Marillier's created world brings just enough historical truths to make the story seem almost real.
ncgraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Juliet Marillier throws everything but the proverbial kitchen sink into Wildwood Dancing. Like Kinuko Y. Craft¿s inspired cover art, the novel is a whirlwind combination of various themes and motifs. Mostly it is a retelling of ¿The Twelve Dancing Princesses,¿ but there are also elements of ¿The Frog Prince,¿ vampire lore, the Fey, and other legends.In a Transylvanian castle live the five daughters of an ailing merchant: Tatiana, a dreamy beauty; Jenica, our headstrong heroine; Iulia, a typical, petulant teenager; Paula, bookish and plain; and five-year-old Stela, full of wonder and love. Every Full Moon the sisters go through a portal into the Other Kingdom, and spend a night in Dancing Glade. But after their father leaves to spend the winter in the south, it looks as though both their domestic tranquility and visits to the Other Kingdom may be in serious danger. Their cousin Cezar has begun infringing upon their privacy: he evidently wishes to take over the farm and destroy the Wildwood while he¿s at it. Meanwhile, the Night People have come to Dancing Glade, bringing with them a young man named Sorrow, who falls for Tati. Luckily Jena has her trusty frog Gogu with her to sort things out, although she is beginning to have her doubts even about him....Though Marillier¿s prose is mostly unobtrusive, there are some little gems here: for example, when she says that the Night People ¿moved to some silent, dark music that was all their own,¿ or describes the forest folk¿s beauty as lacking ¿the flaws that give individuals character.¿ Marillier was probably wise in reducing the number of ¿princesses¿ to five; even then, making each unique and interesting is a challenge, but she manages nicely. Unfortunately, the two romances are not quite as convincing, mostly because she devotes comparatively little time to them.Neither do the villains pose much of a threat: both Cezar and the Night People drop out of the story long before they should have, and Cezar was two-dimensional to begin with. On reflection, he¿s really less of a character and more of a means for Marillier (and Jena) to speechify on the need for acceptance and the value of women: admirable notions, to be sure, but a trifle anachronistic given the medieval setting.The ending is exactly the sort I dislike, not because it is bittersweet¿I love a good bittersweet ending, the kind that makes you walk around for hours afterwards with a lump in your throat¿but because it seems so pointless. Really, why?In spite of these quibbles, I did enjoy Wildwood Dancing, although not as much as I would have liked. I would recommend it to fans of YA fairytale retellings, and look forward to reading more from this author.
polliejean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought it would be fitting that my first review feature my favorite author. Words cannot justly express just how much I adore Juliet Marillier. I was first introduced to her when I found her Sevenwaters trilogy at a used bookstore. I fell in love. Never have I been so emotionally attached to characters in a novel. When I discovered she was to write a young adult novel I was beyond elated.Wildwood Dancing has everything I love in a novel: strong characters, romance, magic, adventure, and is rich with detail. The world that Marillier creates is so richly woven that I became more lost within it with every page I turned. Her characters and plot are so completely engrossing that I stayed up well past midnight in order to find out what happened next, full of suspicions and making guesses, eager to see if I was right. This was a book that had my heart pounding in some places, and tears streaming in others.In the end, I was happy with the story but sad to see the characters go. I wanted more. Finishing a Marillier novel is like parting with very dear friends, or leaving home.Please read this novel! I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jena and her 4 sisters have a secret. Every full moon, they find a portal into the Other World and dance the night away. But things are changing. Their father must leave their home and spend the winter away for his health. He leaves the castle in the care of Jena and her older sister Tati, and reminds them to ask their uncle for any help they need. But after he leaves, their uncle is killed in a hunting accident and their cousin Cezar takes over. And wow, does he take over. Suddenly the girls have little control over anything, because Cezar knows best.Add to this the twist that Tati falls in love with one of the other visitors to the Other World, one who hangs around with a suspicious crowd. Vampires, anyone? Jena's own companion, a frog, starts acting differently too. It seems like just when things can't get any worse for the family, they do.I really enjoyed this book. It's a mix of vampire folklore (it's set in Romania), the 12 Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince, but it works surprisingly well. I really liked Jena, despite her flaws, and I loved the ending. Then I found out there's a sequel, Cybele's Secret, which might not be out yet. This one was a lot of fun.
DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent and original fantasy novel, based on the Twelve Dancing Princesses and the Princess and the Frog with a little vampire lore thrown in. Set in medieval Transylvania , five sisters are able to pass through a portal on the night of the every full moon to the kingdom of the fey, where they dance the night away with a variety of magical beings. The eldest sister, the beauty of the family, falls in love with a creature who appears to belong to the Night World, the dark side of the fey.The main character, Jenica is the second eldest sister, the practical one. She has a pet frog that she found years ago in the forest and keeps him with her always. Of course this frog is more than he seems. The sisters are left on their own one winter as their merchant father falls ill and leaves for a milder climate. Their cousin, Cezar wastes no time in taking over their lives and they come to realize they are under the thumb of a overbearing, power-hungry man.With her cousin in control of her life and home, and her beautiful elder sister under the sway of a Night Creature, Jenica stuggles to find a way to free herself and her sisters and find the right balance between the two worlds. Wildwood Dancing has adventure, romance and mystery. The author was able to make these fairy tales new and fresh. Like all good fairy tales there is definitely a moral involved, this one is about making the right choices in life.Fantasy is a newer genre for me, but after reading this book I will be looking for more, expecially by this author.
LadyBlakney on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's been long enough since I read this that I don't remember the details - only that I liked it. I know that's not very helpful, but if the main thing that sticks in my mind is that its a good book, that must counts for alot (especially when you take into consideration that fact that I can't recall the titles of most of the books I read without looking at my book journal).
BookRatMisty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wildwood Dancing is retold fairy tale set in Romania of a century ago. Five sisters (beautiful Tati; sensible Jena, who narrates the story; lively Iulia; smart Paula and young Stela) are left to take care of their estate, Piscul Dracului, when their father travels south for his health. They try to go on with their lives as before: doing chores, watching over his mercantile business, and sneaking out of their bedroom once a month through a secret portal that lead to a fairy realm where they dance until dawn. But when Tati begins to show feelings for a potentially dangerous creature from the Other Kingdom, and the girls¿ cousin, Cezar, shows up to take over the affairs of the castle, Jena begins to fear that the world she knows is falling apart. With her best friend, a talking frog named Gogu, at her side, Jena struggles to maintain her independence and control while keeping her family together and her fairy friends safe. Wildwood Dancing retells the classic Twelve Dancing Princesses, as well as weaving in other traditional tales and bits of mythology in an interesting and clever way. Marillier¿s use of Romania as a setting provides great depth to the story, layering in interesting culture and an appropriately untamed setting. Her writing is well-suited to the story, making it lush and fully fleshed out. The world she creates and the characters who inhabit it are detailed and dynamic, and though some things work out a little too conveniently and quickly for all the build-up, the story is enchanting and I was sad when it was over. Perfect for those who love retold fairy tales, historical and paranormal romance, and strong female characters. (On a personal note, I want my own Gogu)
aimb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wildwood Dancing is a retelling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses with The Frog Prince and vampires put in as well. Jena is the heroine of the story, her and her four sisters are left alone in their home when their father becomes ill and must go to a warmer climate for the winter. They are left to endure the harsh Romanian winter with only the help of their cousin, Cezar. The only true enjoyment they find in their lives is every full moon they pass through a magical portal to an enchanted place called the Other Kingdom where they spend the night dancing with magical creatures. Joining the sisters to this kingdom is Gogu, Jena's constant companion, a pet frog that she carries in her pocket who can speak to her. Of course Jena must face trouble and they are found in her sisters falling in love with one of the magical people and her cousin Cezar taking more control from her and taking more power over the family. I thougth this was good retelling of some well known fairy tales. Juliet Marillier does a good job of describing the Other Kingdom and the creatures the sisters find there. These were the best parts of the book. Cezar made a very believable villain and there was lots of tension in the book because of him that made it more interesting. The vampires were shown in a little different light and really just played minor characters in the book. The one thing that I really didn't care for was the love story between Jena's sister Tatiana and Sorrow. Tatiana spends most of the book pining for Sorrow and is no help to her sisters at all. Other than that it was fun to read this fairy tale story.
Tatiana_G on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not sure how to rate this. Somewhere around 3.5 stars rounded up to generous 4 I guess?I really do like Juliet Marillier's writing, even though it always takes me a while to get into any of her books. I like how descriptive and atmospheric her stories are. Wildwood Dancing offers an interesting blend of traditional fairy tales (The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince) and Transylvanian vampire lore. The characters are likable - the heroines are strong and resourceful, the heroes valiant and loving, the villains sufficiently despicable. And of course, there is always LOVE, a sweet and touching type of love.I am starting to see a bit of a pattern in Marillier's books though. The story here is basically the same as I've read in her first 2 Sevenwaters books - the same cast of characters - a self-sufficient heroine, a suddenly weakened father, loving siblings, fairies, a family member villain, etc. The main conflict always has something to do with fairy games and the human villain trying to force himself on the heroine.This particular story is also a little bit convoluted and muddy. I never got the clear picture what happened and why. Jena and her sisters, when her father is absent, start experiencing troubles in both fairy realm and real world. Then these difficulties are all resolves, but interestingly enough, without any kind of effort on the sisters' part. Basically, a witch messed with them all and then all her spells are gone. All that the sisters need to do is endure and wait for changes to come. It's just weird.And then some actions by the main character - Jena - are strange too. I often didn't understand why exactly she did certain things. For example, her sexist pig cousin tries to take away the authority Jena has over her household and her father's business' finances, and all she does is argue with him without actually exercising the power she has to stop him. And it happens on several occasions. So, you see, she is pretty much all talk no game. It is frustrating. And then the way she reacts to her best friend's transformation doesn't make sense either.Now, looking over my review, I think I am going to downgrade my rating to 3 stars. I am, however, still very much interested in reading the sequel - Cybele's Secret.
mmillet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished tis book in one day, I just couldn't put it down. Its a twist on the Twelve Dancing Princess and the Frog Prince, but so much better than I've ever heard them. Beautiful story with wonderful detail and characters. One of my new favorites!
alsatia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's very well written; it just didn't speak to me & my heart wasn't in it when I tried it.
booksandwine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'll write this when I'm sober... buuuuut it was AWESOME!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never a dull moment. I love books taking place out in nature, magic and family bonds.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderfully suspenseful adaptation of several familiar fairy tales with a few vampires thrown in for interest.With their father taken ill and sent south for his health, five daughters of a wealthy merchant are left to their own devices for the winter. Second-eldest, 16 year old Jenica and her pet frog Gogu are capably managing the finances, and all the girls from eldest to youngest (17-6) are enjoying a monthly frolic in the Wildwood, reached through a secret door in their bedchamber. At first all goes well, but soon thanks to the girls power-hungry cousin Cezar's manipulations, events take a dark turn. Can Jena save her sisters and the land from Cezar's machinations?Marillier masterfully combines a number of familiar tales here -- the frog prince, the twelve dancing princesses, Transylvanian "night people", the lady of the lake, etc. -- with domestic and cultural elements typical of the time-period. In the best Grimm tradition, the evil are punished, but even wise choices are not without peril.
utsusemia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't really like Marillier, but my friend recommended Wildwood Dancing to me, and when I heard that it was a retelling of my absolute favorite fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, I knew that I had to give her a second chance. And actually, I¿m pretty glad that I did. I don¿t want to spoil the experience, but suffice it to say that the primary romance featured characters interesting and realistic enough to sustain the narrative. I also really enjoyed the specific setting of Romania (as opposed to generic fantasy-land)¿ it fit very well with the mythological elements of the story she created and rooted the characters in an actual culture that constrained (and compelled) their actions.Unfortunately, this book also confirmed what was on more egregious display in that earlier trilogy: Marillier is far from a subtle stylist. In fact, her narratives have all the emotional (and plot-functional) subtlety of the ending of Titanic. In illustration: at one point the main character gets a minor injury from a bramble bush. Her romantic lead kisses the cut, and asks ¿Does that make the hurt all better?¿Entirely sans irony.And the secondary romance is a lite version of the unbearable star-crossed lovers thing I so hated in the trilogy. But if you like simple fairy tale retellings, and especially if you like The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this is worth reading. It won¿t take up too much of your time ,and it left a smile on my face.
librarymeg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've always been a sucker for a book inspired by fairy tales and folklore, and this particular book packed a heavy punch. The main fairy tales that can be seen are "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "The Frog Prince," although neither is so obvious as to be boring and predictable. The book also covers all kinds of mythology, including fairies, dwarves, elves, and vampires. The book follows Jenica, one of the teenaged daughters of a Romanian merchant, who along with her sisters has been visiting the "other side" at every full moon for years. She is clever and independent, and her best friend Gogu is a frog who goes with her everywhere. When her father, whose health is too frail to stand the frigid winters, goes away to the coast for the winter he leaves Jenica in charge of the household and business. Jena not only has to keep her sisters safe in the other world, where a troop of Night People are visiting, but increasingly must defend her independence from her interfering cousin Cezar. I found the story to be beautifully written and completely absorbing, and I never wanted it to end. Wildwood Dancing was the first book I'd read by Juliet Marrillier, but I'm very excited to read more as soon as possible. I'd give this my highest recommendation to fantasy fans everywhere.
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