Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

On the night of each full moon, the five Transylvanian sisters who reside in the castle Piscul Dracului don their finest gowns. They raise their hands to create shadows against the wall, opening a portal to the Other Kingdom, where they will dance the night away with all manner of fantastical creatures. After nine years of full moons spent in delightful revelry, dark forces, both human and otherworldly, arise to encroach upon the sisters' happiness. Told by Jena, the second oldest sister, this detailed and mood-rich story covers much territory, both mundane and magical. Adult fantasy writer Marillier has uniquely reimagined and blended an assortment of well-known tales and characters--including fairies, dwarves, witches, vampires, and a frog who is more than he seems--into a compelling whole in her first book for teens. By the end, all are cleverly bound together, and a mystery is solved. With much to say about human nature and choice, not unlike the moral in fairy tales of old, this will be a hit with older teen readers, especially girls. (Booklist)

I thought it would be fitting that my first review feature my favorite author. Words cannot justly express just how much I adore Juliet Marillier. I was first introduced to her when I found her Sevenwaters trilogy at a used bookstore. I fell in love. Never have I been so emotionally attached to characters in a novel. When I discovered she was to write a young adult novel I was beyond elated.

Wildwood Dancing has everything I love in a novel: strong characters, romance, magic, adventure, and is rich with detail. The world that Marillier creates is so richly woven that I became more lost within it with every page I turned. Her characters and plot are so completely engrossing that I stayed up well past midnight in order to find out what happened next, full of suspicions and making guesses, eager to see if I was right. This was a book that had my heart pounding in some places, and tears streaming in others.

In the end, I was happy with the story but sad to see the characters go. I wanted more. Finishing a Marillier novel is like parting with very dear friends, or leaving home.

Please read this novel! I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Happy Reading :o)

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