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Wildwood Dancing Book Review

Book review By: AvvieJellyBean551213

Book Review on the novel Wildwood Dancing.

Submitted:Aug 1, 2009    Reads: 153    Comments: 2    Likes: 0   

Wildwood Dancing Book Review
One glance at any cover of Juliet Marillier's novels will captivate any booklover. One of her less known novels, Wildwood Dancing was the winner of the 2006 Aurealis Award for the best fantasy novel. As the remarkable award suggests, the book is classified as fantasy genre and is steered at a young adult/ teenager audience.
Wildwood Dancing is a thrilling tale filled with excitement and adventure. Set in 1500's Transylvania, Wildwood Dancing tells the beautiful story of five sisters named Tatiana, Jenica, Ileana, Paula and Stela. They live a simple life, however every full moon they secretly venture through a magical portal located in their bedchamber, into an amazing world named 'The Other Kingdom'. Here they enter Dancing Glade where all the fairies, dwarves and fairy-tale creatures unite. The winter in Romania is harsh and soon their father falls fatally ill and must leave Piscul Dracilui, their home. The two eldest girls are left with the responsibility of taking on his business as a merchant during his absence. Throughout the novel the girls face love and loss, evil and good, and the fight for all they hold dear.
'It was almost Full Moon again, a whole month since Father's departure. The others were excited, making their preparations, counting the days, then the hours until it was time to cross over into the Other Kingdom. All I could feel was a profound weariness.'
Second eldest, and the most curious of all, Wildwood Dancing is told through the eyes of Jena and her lifelong companion, Gogu. Jena's personality and character is the most distinctive of all the five sisters. Her thoughts and opinions are quite different to the others, and in some ways she is more mature than many of her elders. While Jena's father is away, she does not only try to be optimistic that he will return; she also dwells on the prospect that he might not come home. Jena is always finding a way to be in control of things; she endeavours to plan what would become of her family if her father should pass away. On the other hand, her siblings do not like the idea that their father might not arrive back, but no such thoughts like Jena's cross their minds.
'First pick of what?' I asked them. 'What you get to be in the game,' explained Costi. 'King of the Lake, King of the Land or King of something else. We've never had three before. What do you want to be Jena?' 'Queen of the Fairies', I sniffed.'
As a young child, Jena once played with her two cousins Cezar and Costi. One blissful day, they played a game where they were all granted a special role. Costi as King of the Lake, Cezar as King of the Land and little Jena as Queen of the Fairies. Tragically, their amusement did not go as planned and Costi unfortunately drowned in an evil lake named 'Tăul Ielelor', or otherwise known as 'The Deadwash'. This lake was known to most residents and was regarded famous for murdering people, by dragging them under its dark magical waters.
Once ten long years have gone by, Cezar and Jena have tried to forget that miserable day they had witnessed. All is well until the catastrophic loss of their Uncle Nicolae, the man who was also their financial supporter. His now eighteen year old son, Cezar takes on the duty to look after his heartbroken mother, carry on his father's commerce, and bring funds in for his cousins, the sisters. However although enough pressure was already on Cezar, he also thinks that Jena and her siblings are concealing a secret. He knows that something odd occurs every Full Moon, and soon enough he uncovers their precious secret and is determined to ruin the Other Kingdom, as he believes evil creatures from that world drowned his admired brother.
Wildwood Dancing was recommended to me by a close friend, Eliza Janssen. As she handed me the novel, she told me how fantastic it was, and how much she enjoyed it. As many award winning reads, it is not the easiest book get into. It did not grasp my attention by the first chapter, however I must admit neither did Harry Potter, one of my all time favourite books. On the other hand, as I got further into the story I was completely engrossed in it, and I couldn't put it down!
Open it to any page at all, and you will find a stunning lyrical masterpiece, for example:
'Many dwelled in or on Tăul Ielelor: ragged swimmers resembling weedy plants, their gaze turned always up, up to the surface; the beguiling pale figures of the Iele, from whom the lake got its name, reaching out graceful white arms from bank or islet or overhanging willow.'
I have decided to rate Wildwood Dancing 8 stars out of 10, because of its sophisticated use of words, and the beautiful flow of the tale. Every sentence is written skilfully, and always paints a picture in my mind. The book was not simple, but at the same time not difficult and I believe it is a splendid introduction to the world of fantasy and an inspirational novel to aspiring writers.


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