Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wildwood Dancing

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

I love nothing more than walking into the library picking up a title I know nothing about and falling in love with the book. Maybe it's because it happens so infrequently that I am just giddy when it does.

Set in Transylvania woods in the 1500's, Wildwood Dancing is the story of five sisters Tati, Jena, Iulia, Paula and Stell, ranging from the ages of 6 to 17 and is told from the viewpoint of 15-year-old Jena. Jena spends most of her time exploring the enchanted wood around the castle Piscul Draculi with her most unusual frog Gogu.

But Castle Piscul Draculi, high in the Transylvanian woods, holds a secret known only to the five sisters. A secret passage way that leads them to the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom, where every full moon they dance with the various magical creatures that live there, including the dangerous Night People (vampires). The sisters are compelled to go each month, but as time wears on, Jenna begins to see the dangers posed by the Night People, especially when it comes to Tati.

When their father falls ill and must go away for his health, their cousin Cezar gains control of the castle and the girls lives and becomes bent on taking revenge for the drowning death of his brother ten years earlier which he believes was caused by the Night People. When Cezar works out that the entrance into this other world is in the bedchamber of the girls, he sets about trying to use the girls to gain access. As Jen

As Cezar's grip tightens on the girls and the castle, it threatens to destroy everything Jena loves: her family, her home, and the Other Kingdom. To save them, Jena will be tested in ways that she can't even imagine. Test that involve trust, strength and true love.

I loved the way that author could weave elements from classic fairy tales and folklore into one seamless, enchanting tale that I just couldn't get enough of. The characters have depth and before you know if you are falling in love with Gogu, feeling the sting of Tati's sorrow, and wanting to stand up and cheer for Jena's spunk as she tries, not always successfully, to hold onto what she holds dear. I appreciate that all the characters are flawed and that the ending isn't the perfect ending, not that it won't leave you satisfied, it will. I know that some of the people who reviewed it on goodreads said that it was a little slow. I didn't feel that way, but if you do, keep reading and it will be well worth it.

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