Samara at Nelson’s Otter Books shares her review of Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier.
With teen fantasy novels still going strong, I thought I’d pick a book that contains a strong female lead, aspects of adventure, and is very well written.
I love all of Juliet Marillier’s books (she has a great Celtic fantasy series), and this one is no exception. Wildwood Dancing is set in a historical rural Transylvania, and is loosely based on the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Here, there are five adventurous sisters who live near the edge of the Wildwood – a land of magic, fairies, and the Night People.
When their father falls ill, it’s up to the two oldest sisters (Jena and Tati) to manage the household. All goes well until a tragic accident puts their overbearing cousin Cezar in charge, and the sisters become divided. Jena must use all her wits to save those she loves and fight for her own independence.
There are not one but two romances, and even an enchanted frog. While it is a fantasy, Marillier has done her homework, and uses the rich folklore and mythology of Transylvania (reaching past the Dracula myth to the older tales of the Night People) to create a world that is believable as it is fantastic.
I couldn’t put it down, and was quite excited to find that there is a companion book titled Cybele’s Secret.
While this is a teen novel, I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story.