Wildwood Dancing

By Juliet Marillier

From Goodreads: 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.

Why it’s my type: Oh. Dear dear dear. Why did this book have to end?? I want to live in this book. I put it off for a little while, after having ordered it in the mail. I think I suspected its amazingness and didn’t quite feel ready for it all until now. I just knew I would love it. Let us sing–These are a few of my favorite things: fairy tales, The 12 Dancing Princesses in particular, sisters, love stories, total reader transportation, and unexpected but (later) totally comprehensible twists. This one has ’em all. I found so much to relate to in Jenica, and I believe I gained some insight into myself through her journey as well. An absolute cream of the crop kind of read.

Oh, I forgot to mention one tiny little thing.

This amazing cover! This is my first encounter with Kinuko Y. Craft, and I am in love and will never love another. This cover. I stared at it almost as long as at the actual pages of the book. I doodled, attempting to copy some of it. I was and am inspired by it. It adds so much to the book, breathing visual life into Marillier’s words.

Standout Script: This was a story’s story. So many twists and turns, heart pumping highs and lows, and I was so fully enveloped into its world that I will have to revisit it again (really, it’s my duty as blogger :)) to really notice and better appreciate its turn of phrases. But I leave you with a tiny taste:

“An instant later Tati was by my side and, to the tinkling music of ice fragments shifting in the water and the solitary hoot of an owl, five little boats slipped away through the mist to the Other Kingdom.”

It is but an unsatisfactory morsel.

Recommendation: Please, please check this one out if you, like me, have never grown out of fairy tales, and all the magic and wonder they have to offer. You’ll find lifelong friends in Tatiana, Jenica, Iulia, Paula and Stela, and a beloved story you’ll likely revisit as you would your favorite fairy tale volume.

Published: 2007 by Knopf Books for Young Readers.

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