Jenica (Jena for short) and her four sisters are desperately trying to hold the family together in their father's absence. The only escape in a monotonous existence of disappearing funds and vile, power hungry cousins is their monthly adventures in the enchanted groves of the forest that protects their castle. But when the beautiful Tatiana (the eldest) falls for a mysterious Night Person named Sorrow, events begin to spiral out of sensible Jena's control. Father might be dead. Cousin Cezar is slowly but surely gaining control and spreading his radical ideas of destruction. Not to mention her pet frog Gogu's odd behavior. Secrets. Magic. Dark forests (it does take place in old Transylvania) and Disappearances. All elements amount to an artistic fairytale of a novel based on the Grimms' tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Written in first person, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier seemed true to the spirit of bedtime stories with its often antiquated speech. But the plot was creative and the characters passionate enough to make you feel overjoyed, dizzy, or repulsed in turns. And every so often a plot twist was thrown in just to pull your feet out from under you in record time. It even tackled important issues, keeping its distance from the danger of becoming a "fluff" book. What is true love? Does it even exist? What would you sacrifice? Sexism and the fear of the unknown (in the form of cousin Cezar) are also prevalent and beaten with sticks until submissive to Jenica's moving character. Unfortunately, some scenes with great promise are weighted down by that great beast after Dickens' own heart... over-description. A shudder passes through the masses.
So I must now set upon this book a 5.5 out of 7 lightnings. Very Good, but not quite excellent. Despite this, I plan on reading the sequel (Cybele's Secret) when it arrives on September 9th of this year. After reading the brief summary on Amazon it looks as if it may even prove to be more interesting than its predecessor. Plus, the cover art is equally pretty.
I Hunt for Covers of Promise,
7 months ago