Thursday, July 28, 2011

WIldwood Dancing

A review that originally ran in the Edge of the Forest:

Wildwood DancingWildwood Dancing Juliet Marillier

Jena and her four sisters live in a Transylvanian castle, on the edge of the Wildwood. Villagers have always told stories about the Wildwood and who lives there. Jena has seen them herself—that awful day, years ago, when the creatures in the deadwash took her cousin. She also sees them every full moon when she and her sisters joint the fairy court for their revels. But this is a hard winter. Jena’s father has taken ill and gone to the coast, leaving Jena in charge of the household and his business. Jena’s cousin, Cezar, starts taking over, slowly but surely wresting all control from Jena, leaving the family completely at his mercy.

In the Other Kingdom, Night People have come to the valley. Jena’s older sister, Tati, has fallen in love with one of them and is wasting away. Cezar is growing suspicious of the sisters’ relationship with the Wildwood and threatens to embark on a campaign to destroy it, and all who live there. Old promises are coming due, and and it’s going to take all of Jena’s strength and courage to see her family to spring.

A wonderful and complex retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Marillier has kept the feel of Transylvanian folk lore and written an excellent addition to the genre. It is sure to be enjoyed by fans of such books as Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl. It also includes excellent historical notes, as well as a glossary and pronunciation guide.

Updated to add: This might be my favorite fairy tale retelling ever. It's more than just Twelve Dancing Princesses, but telling you the other story involved is a massive spoiler. It's so lushly done and Mariller adds so much to the story, it's so much more than just Twelve Dancing Princesses and there is real meat to this story, especially with the power struggle between Jena and Cezar. I can't go on enough about how well done this is.

Book Provided by... Edge of the Forest, for review.

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