"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wildwood Dancing


Wildwood Dancing
Author: Juliet Mariller
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0375833641
ISBN-13: 978-0375833649

Recommended for grades 8 and up

Wildwood Dancing is the amazing and spellbinding tale of five Transylvanian sisters that sneak out of their old Romanian castle – the Piscul Draculi on the full moon to go dance in the world of fairy. They dance the night away with trolls, giants, dwarves and other fantastic creatures.

It’s an interesting twist of two classic fairytales – The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince.

16 year old Jenica is the sensible sister who’s beloved pet frog Gogo sits on her shoulder and goes with her everywhere. It is Jena who narrates the tale and her voice is captivating. From the first page she captures you and brings you into the two worlds – hers and that of the fairy.

When the girls were very young, their father bought Piscul Draculi and set about restoring it. Jena and her sisters by accident found the portal that leads to the other world and for nine years they have come and gone with no one being the wiser.

This time however, something is different. They find that the Night People have come to dance and these scary people are very vampiric and monstrous. Jena immediately worries for her sisters but one of them Tati, is already in love with one of them, a sad eyed man named Sorrow. Jena is determined to keep her sisters safe and contemplates not letting them attend on the next full moon.

At home, not everything is as it should be either. Jena’s father is ill and must go away for the winter to warmer climes on doctor’s order. Capable Jena is left to run things with her cousin Cezar to help. Immediately upon her father’s departure, Cezar begins to try and dominate. He’s really a creep. He’s completely overbearing, chauvinistic and pushy. Jena is thwarted at every turn as he insidiously tries to take over.

Wildwood Dancing is a captivating read. Every page pulls you in and you care desperately for Jena and her sisters. I was on the edge of my seat all through the book dying to know what would happen while not wanting it to end. I loved the descriptions of the wild wood, the Night People, and the fairy dances. The story is one of intrigue, love and so much more. There’s a mystery to solve as well and I got so caught up in that. Nothing in this book is as it seems and everything is wonderful.

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