Wednesday, July 31, 2013 23:18

Review 179. Juliet Marillier – Wildwood dancing.

13929Title: Wildwood dancing.
Author: Juliet Marillier.
Pages: 407.
Published: January 23rd 2007.
Publisher: Knopf
Sort: Part one of ‘Wildwood.’
THIS IS A REREAD.
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.
                                                                      Rating

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Juliet Marillier. Books you love are always the hardest to review. How can I describe the magical writing-style, the great fairytale feeling and the amazing characters in just a few words? This is something you have to explore yourself. If someone asks me who my favorite author is, Juliet Marillier is definitely a name I would think of. I’ve read most of her books and I absolutely adore this one, Heart’s blood (will re-read this one soon) and The seven waters series (which I hope to review once) This is the third time I return to this book and it was, again, a great experience. That is why I love re-reading so much. It’s like wrapping yourself in your favorite blanket.

This book is a soft mix of The frog princess and The twelve dancing princesses. Jena lives with her four sisters and father in the middle of a forest called Wildwood. There are rumors about magic and otherworldly creatures. There are whispers about the danger of those creatures, but Jenna and her sisters know better. Every full moon, they use a portal in their room to cross to the other side where they dance until the morning. What I love is how every sister has her distinct voice, like Paula how discusses science with the witches, or the young Stella who plays hide and seek with the younger creatures.

When their father leaves to a warm country to regain strength from his sickness, Jena is in charge. She has always been the responsible one and she has taken over the role of mother after she died. Jena has one best friend, her frog Goku. He talks to her in her head and their friendship is so cute. Despite the fact that he is a frog, they care for each other and he is always there to help her. But their cousin Cezar finds it irresponsible to leave a girl in charge. Women are meant to take care of the children and nothing more. Jena tries to stand up against him, but it’s no use. He slowly takes over their household and his hatred for the otherworldly creatures is blinding him. The girls are in a difficult position now, especially when Tati (the eldest sister) falls in love with a Nightwalker. It’s not safe to cross to the other world now and Jena must end this, otherwise Tati might die from sadness.

Every sister has a distinct voice. There is Paula, the intelligent one who loves to talk to the witches and wizards about science and the youngest sister Stella who loves to play hide and seek with her mystical friends. We get to know them and I like them all for their own aspects, but this book is mainly about Jena, a girl with a huge heart and much courage. She is somethings too strong for her own good, but I love how she does everything with good intentions. It's not easy for her to stand up against Cezar - especially when he is starting to show certain affections for her.

The use of the fairytales is subtle and I like how she created a story of her own. It’s not too obvious that it’s based on another tale and I adore her world-building. If you’ve never experience Marillier’s writing-style before, I highly suggest you do. It’s flowing, descriptive: just pure magic. I hope I did justice to this book.
author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

28 comments:

  1. Were you the one who told me about Juliet Marillier and how awesome her writing is? I'm going to assume so since you said it's no secret how big a fan of hers you are ;). The book sounds absolutely magical in how the world-building is done and fairy tales explored, and I love the promise of the female friendship (and females rising up--grrr to the "women are only meant to do X" comments). "It’s flowing, descriptive: just pure magic. I hope I did justice to this book." <-- I'd say the line before does a pretty good job convince me of this awesomesauce book :).

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    1. That is possible! I try to talk about her as much as I can, haha. I'm happy that I convinced you!

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  2. I loved this book so much. It's been a few years since I've read it but I remember it being so magical. Did you know there is a sequel to it? I never got around to reading it but I should.

    Angie
    Angela's Anxious Life

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    1. Yes, I've read the sequel and it's good, but I think this one is better :)!

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  3. That cover is beautiful. I've never heard of this author. Will need to look into her books if you rated this one a 5 out of 5!

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  4. This is the first time I am hearing about this author. It really sounds like a dreamy book! I would enjoy that each sister has a distinct voice. Sometimes, it is so hard for authors to do that. So great that this one was an exception!

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  5. I have heard such wonderful things about Wildwood Dancing. I've had the book out from the library for awhile, but still haven't gotten to it. Clearly I need to. I didn't know there was a Frog Princess aspect to this story!

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  6. I can't believe I have read nothing by Marillier yet! I do have one of her books, Shadowfell, but I have yet to read it.

    Wildwood Dancing sounds interesting, too - it's such a great feeling to read a favorite book again and discover that you still love it as much as before, maybe even more!

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    1. I'll read Shadowfell soon :D Yes, re-reading and loving a book is a fantastic feeling.

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  7. This sounds so good! You keep adding to my to be read list!

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  8. I remember getting this out from the library YEARS ago and trying to read it on multiple ocassions, but it just never really worked, despite my early cover love. It sounds like such a fantastic story and I'm definitely going to try and read it again because of this review! Your enthusiasm and love for it has made me really want to read it, too! Great review, Mel!

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    1. Yes, I did it! I hope you give it another shot :D

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  9. I haven't read anything by this author (or have ever heard of this book before) but you definitely know how to sell her work! I feel like I definitely don't read many fairy tales, but would like to! I've enjoyed some of the retellings I've read recently. It's just so fun to let yourself go and experience them! This one definitely sounds like a keeper. I'll have to look at this author's book list and try to get my hands on a copy of one of her book sometime!

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  10. It is SO hard to review your favourites, but you did a great job, Mel! Wildwood Dancing is one of those that has been on my TBR for ages, just haven't found the time to get to it. One day though! I really need to experience Marillier's writing for myself!

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    1. I agree, but I'm happy that I did a great job :D

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  11. This book keeps popping up in my life... I think I'll take your review as a sign that I should finally read it! I love fairytales and it's intriguing that this one is kind of a mash-up of two different stories. Great review!!

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  12. This was my first Marillier and I loved it (though I think I liked the companion novel more, if that's possible.) There was just so much to enjoy especially all the fairy tale references.

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    1. I think this book is the perfect book to get introduced to her :D I like the companion novel to, but not as much as this one.

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  13. I really liked both books in this series - so I'm glad you liked it! :) Have you read any of her other books? I have really enjoyed many of them.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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  14. I'll admit,I haven't read anything by Juliet Marillier...yet. I have had book 1 of the Seven Waters series on my TBR shelf for ever it seems though! I did NOT however have Wildwood Dancing on my TBR shelf but after reading your praise for the author and this book, I've added it to the list :D I love, love, love the sound of this story and the way you wrote about the author's writing style! I absolutely ADORE re-reading beloved books too, for the same reasons you mentioned: to re-discover something you missed last time and to appreciate a beloved piece a fiction in a new light ♥ And you're right, it's almost impossible sometimes to review beloved books! You want your review to do the book justice but it's so hard XD

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    1. The seven waters series is awesome, especially the first 3 books :)!

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