Thursday, 29 May 2014

Review: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (I want a pet frog)

Today, my review is going to be a list of sorts, as a) I'm trying out slightly different ways of writing a review, and b) because lists are good.  Lists are very good.  I love lists.  Anyway, on with the review!  NOTE:  I will talk about spoilers but I'll highlight them to make sure the people that haven't read the book won't accidentally stumble across them!


Publisher: Knopf || Release Date: January 23rd 2007 || Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Romania || Series: Wildwood #1  || Source: From the library! || Pages: 407 || Read It In: 4 hours || Word Rating: Endearing

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom--an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar's grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can't imagine--tests of trust, strength, and true love.  ~Blurb from Goodreads~

 What I thought was Frabjous:

Gogu the frog.  I looovd Gogu!  He made an awesome best pal and I would personally LOVE my own pet frog!  Except you know, he would actually stay a frog, and so if you just *happened* to kiss him, he wouldn't turn into your long lost cousin Costi - cue gasp!  The friendship between Gogu and Jena was lovely too.

Jana.  Although at the end, I wasn't impressed with Jana's behaviour, the rest of the book I really liked and admired her.  She wasn't invincible or cold.  She wasn't weak or silly.  She was just...human.  Not idiot human though.  Jana was level headed, had good sense when it came to dire situations, and never went to pieces over silly things (until Costi came in, that is.  And then WHOOOMPH!  all good sense went out the window).  Still, she was a great MC.

The Fairytale.  This book is loosely based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Princess and the Frog.  I've never really enjoyed The Twelve Dancing Princesses, as I always found there were to many princesses and they were all incredibly shallow.  However, in this tale, Marillier cut twelve down to five, and the princesses were merchants daughters.

The sibling relationship.  I'm getting very tired off bitter sibling rivalry in books.  It's never well written, always filled with angst, and is never solved properly.  However, in Wildwood Dancing, the siblings loving relationship was a breath of fresh air and I really enjoyed it.

What Bugged Me:

Costi.  The-long-lost-cousin-that-everyone-thought-was-dead-but-was-actually-Gogu-the-frog-but-coudn't-tell-anyone-because-he-was-under-a-enchantment-Costi.  Gogu the frog was awesome; Costi the human, however, was not.  Costi did NOTHING but whine and be a pain in the neck.  

 Tatai.  Tatai is the oldest sister of the five girls.  The whole book revolved around Jana running around, almost getting killed and getting into trouble,  all to help Tatai be with her new found Love Of Her Life/Soulmate (which I didn't believe for a SECOND), Sorrow.  What does Tatai do to help her sister, herself and her "love of her life"?  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, THAT'S WHAT.  Instead, she sits around the house, sighs heavily all of the time, refuses to eat, and then gets so weak from hunger, she slips into a coma.  This is not just stupidity; this is stupidity with stupidity with stupidity on top.

The Ending.  Through the WHOLE book, Jana fought about being made the little women thought fifteen (her age) was to young to be married off.  But as as soon as Costi came in to the picture, Jana's opinions about being marrying young went out the window, and the book ended with her planning her wedding so Costi and her could get on with making a male heir as soon as possible.  It just felt so fake!  And the tables turning so quickly didn't help either!  The ending was just RUBBISH and made me angry and disappointed.

However, apart from the *few* things that bugged me, Wildwood Dancing was a good read and I did enjoy it once I got past my frustrations.  

 ~My Rating~
 4/5 stars

Has anyone else read Wildwood Dancing?  What do you think about sibling rivalry?

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