Monday, March 5, 2012

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

If I remember correctly, this was one of the books recommended by Goodreads. And woah, were they accurate! I loved this book.

Wildwood Dancing takes place in Romania, as Jena (Jenica) and her four sisters are left alone for the winter while their father goes out to heal. During this time, a tragedy happens and their cousin Cezar, starts to exert his control over both his land and theirs.

That short summary may sound boring, but it's not. Especially if you love fairy tales like me. The book is based mainly on the 12 Dancing Princesses (but with 5 girls - maybe it's because they don't want a huge age gap? Or the O.o-ness of giving birth 12 times?) but there are pieces of other fairy tales inside. I saw a little bit of The Frog Prince, a little bit of the beginning of Beauty and the Beast (in the final meeting of Cezar, Costi and Jena) and of course, there is the Other World, full of dwarf's and fairies and vampires.

I loved the main character- Jena. She likes to think herself as practical (which she is), but she's also a bit of a romantic at heart. She cares for her siblings, and I really admire the way she took care of them the whole time. Honestly, she behaved way more like a firstborn child than the actual first born (Tati).

I didn't like Tati so much. In fact, she was my least favourite character. What kind of girl falls in love at first sight and then spends the rest of the book wasting away? (Ok, but name me one other girl within the book) The whole love-at-first-sight thing would have actually been sweet if it weren't for the fact that Tati ended up neglecting her role as the oldest sister to pine over Sorrow (her true love). Hello, your family is in the midst of a crisis, pull yourself together and help out! I was really annoyed when I found out that because of her "love", she ended up not teaching her younger sisters, leading them to think that they had done something wrong. This may be the older-sis in me talking, but really, don't be such a wimp. She almost doesn't deserve the happy ending that she gets.

Speaking of happy endings, Jena does get hers. While it's a bit unrealistic for a 15 year old girl to find a happily ever after without invoking some "..." this book manages to overcome it. That's mainly because unlike a lot of books, Jena and her love (not giving names in order to avoid spoilers) were best friends first, which would explain why their love was real. It wasn't some whirlwind romance -coughTatiandSorrowcough- it was based on friendship. Yup, you can go "awww" now.

When all's said and done, this book is fantastic. I loved (most of) the characters (and the one I didn't, well, it's just me) and the plot was fantastic. If you like fairy tales, you really need to read this book.

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