Friday, February 6, 2015

Review - Wildwood Dancing

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Genres: Fantasy; Fairy Tale; Romance; YA
My rating: 5 stars
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.09 stars
Pages: 407

This book counts toward my goal for The Fairy Tale Challenge!

Image from

Five adventurous sisters...
Four dark creatures...
Three magical gifts...
Two forbidden lovers...
One enchanted frog...

For nine years Jena, her sisters, and her beloved enchanted frog have visited the Other Kingdom. Disappearing through a portal in their bedchamber, never have they felt any sense of danger—until the Night People arrived.

Terrible rumors surround these creatures, and are given all the more credit when their arrival wreaks havoc in both worlds. But the Night People aren't the only ones spelling danger. When the girls' father goes away, their cousin Cezar arrives to help the girls—but Jena's afraid that he's doing more harm than good.

Feeling the heavy weight of responsibilities thrust upon her all at once, Jena has many decisions to make. Can she trust Cezar? The Night People? Her insticts tell her no.

What it really boils down to, is can she protect her family, her world, and the Other Kingdom from disaster?
My review: This is not your average fairy tale. Aside from the enchanted frog, it's a far cry from your favorite Disney Princess movie. Of course, as much as I love Disney, that's a good thing!

In Wildwood Dancing, Marillier spins together two familiar tales—The Frog Prince and The Twelve Dancing Princesses—while giving them original twists.

In the Author's Note, Marillier explains some about Transylvanian mythology, which plays an instrumental part in the book. She did a very good job at avoiding stereoypes, especially with the villains(that's Night People, NOT vampires, mind you!), and I really appreciate the authentic feel her research brought to the book.
The five stars pretty much lay it out for you. I loved this novel. The romance was sweet; the villains suitably distasteful. At first I wasn't sure whether or not to like the controlling cousin, Cezar(Cheh-zahr). One moment I was thinking of how he could be redeemed; the other I was hating his guts. Although, as much as I liked him as a potential “bad guy,” I do wish there would have been more of a spotlight on the Night People, particularly Tadeusz and Still not clear on that....
If you're reading this on Goodreads, you might be wondering about that first part of my review. About me disliking the first page? Well, I was serious! It was a bunch of names. Tedious and confusing. Though I must say, technically it was only half a page and, obviously, it picked up for me after that. The names really aren't at all confusing to keep up with(although you may have trouble pronouncing some of them—there is a pronunciation guide). I just wish they weren't all dumped into that first paragraph.
Enough of that. This is a positive review! Now go read this book! I really do highly recommend it. Especially for lovers of fantasy and fairy tales, and young adults. But don't be put off if you don't normally read YA. You might be surprised by how well written and unique this novel is.
Lastly, the cover art. It's beautiful.

Content: Clean!

Author Site / Amazon Link / Goodreads Link

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! It's a favorite of mine.

  2. I loved this one too! I wish all of her books were clean. She's a great writer! Thanks for stopping by, as always. :)

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

    1. I've heard Daughter of the Forest is a good one.

  3. I have so much love for Juliet Marillier's work. I thought it was a very clever retelling :)

    1. This is the first I've read of hers! I'll definitely be coming back for more.