Book Review: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

22 Nov

Wildwood DancingJena and her sisters have been visiting the Wildwood at full moon for years, escaping there through a portal in their bedroom. For one night every month, they dance with the likes of dwarves and fairies. But when their father sickens and goes on an extended business trip somewhere warm one winter, things begin to go downhill: their cousin takes charge of their finances and becomes bent on destroying the Wildwood and everything in it as retribution for a witch killing his brother some years before. Worse, he knows that the girls know something they aren’t letting on, and he will do anything to find out what it is.

So I finally, FINALLY got around to reading this book. I couldn’t tell you how many years this has been sitting on my “to be read” list. As you’ve likely noticed, I’ve gone through tons of Marillier’s other books in recent months. I even read the “sequel” to Wildwood a few years ago without realizing that it was a sequel. Luckily, I didn’t remember much from that book, so nothing was ruined for this one.

I actually liked Wildwood Dancing much better than Cybele’s Secret. I think there was much more worldbuilding that went into this one; the Wildwood was just as enchanting as it should have been, and I was immediately placed in the time period in which the story was set. What I wouldn’t give to live at that house in Transylvania!

The characters were intriguing, though I shook my head at some of Jena’s decisions later on in the book. They didn’t seem true to her character at first, though I suppose as the story continued I understood her motives even if I didn’t agree with them. I liked learning more about the sisters who don’t have quite as big of a role in the sequel. All of them have their own charms.

The plot, I will admit, was a bit predictable. Without giving too much away, one of the big surprises toward the end wasn’t much of a surprise to me at all (I can’t remember if his name was mentioned at the end of Cybele… if so, perhaps I just retained some subconscious knowledge!). Even so, I found the book enjoyable and it definitely kept me turning pages.

Well worth the read!


3 Responses to “Book Review: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier”

  1. fairydancer221 November 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    From the synopsis alone, it sounds like a retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Was it a more whimsical tale or a darker one?

    • inkhearted November 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

      There were certainly elements of the Twelve Dancing Princesses! It departs from the original tale more than some other retellings I’ve read (The Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George comes to mind), but there were certainly a lot of similarities. I’d say it was a mixed bag–it was definitely a bit whimsical, but there were some darker elements as well. For instance, the fairyland that the girls visit at Full Moon is a very different place at Dark of the Moon, when nasty creatures venture out and do some terrible things to humans.

      Let me know what you think if you read it!


  1. 2014: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 31, 2014

    […] Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier ***** […]

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