Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wildwood Dancing

Novel by Juliet Marillier

(The beautiful cover image is by KinukoY. Craft. You can see more of her art here.)

I love fairytales, myths and stories about magic, but nowadays, with the popularity of the whole paranormal romance thing, it is becoming harder to find stories that really intrigue me with original plotlines. This one definitey intrigued me. Although set in Transylvania, this is not another vampire story. This is a story based around older legends and beliefs. It is a story about love, both romantic and that between sisters, and it is a story about the role of women in the past and how hard they had to fight to get what they wanted. True, there are a few vampires in the story, but they are scruploulsy referred to as the Night People and left shrouded in mystery. I loved the descriptions of the faery court and all the creatures within it, both beautiful and ugly. The story teaches us to judge, not by appearance, but by what is within, and to love those we trust unconditionally.

Wildwood Dancing is the story of five sisters who visit the otherworld of the fae through a portal at full moon, to dance and take part in their revels. But their lives are changed when their father falls ill and is sent away to a warmer climate, lest he should die. In his abscence, their cousin Cezar begins to take over control of the business and even the lives of the girls. As a child, Cezar saw his brother drown in the Wildwood, and has an intense hatred for the forest and the mystical creatures that sometimes cross over into our world. He has sworn revenge.

The characters in Wildwood Dancing are well written. Tati, Jena (the narrator), Gogu (her frog companion who can talk in a secret voice only she can hear) and Cezar are all large as life to me. The other three sisters are not quite as fleshed out, but are likeable, and you get to know them well enough to care what happens to them. At times, Jena's adherance to common sense and what she thinks is best can be frustrating, but I think in part her sensible nature is one of the things that stopped this book from becoming a torrid romance.

I don't want to tell too much about this story, because the twists are part of what makes it so wonderful. Just take my word that it is a book that must be read. There was not one moment while reading this that I was bored or unimpressed. It was a true pleasure to read. I think it may easily be one of my new favourite books of all time.

1 comment:

  1. HOLY CRAP I FREAKIN' LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!! I thought I was one of the few people who knew about it. "The 12 Dancing Princesses" is one of my favorite traditional faerie tales, and I loved Juliett Mariliner's rendition. =)