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Wildwood Dancing Paperback – Unabridged, 7 Dec 2007
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Starred review, School Library Journal, February 2007: "Strong characters, two fully realized settings, and a fast-moving plot guarantee that readers will be spellbound by this page-turner." "From the Hardcover edition."
An enchanting YA fantasy fairytale set against a fascinating Transylvanian backdrop from one of the genre's most acclaimed writersSee all Product description
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Maybe it may take more than one reading for an older-adult to really appreciate the beauty of the story - for I must admit I baulked a little originally, at the idea of the heroine (Jena) carrying a frog companion about on her shoulder - and allowing him to sleep on her pillow ... Eek! Still, this is a fairy tale and allowances must be made. Of course Gogu (the frog) is not all he seems, and neither is the supposed "evil" character of the Witch of the Woods. "Good and evil" actually work together for the best result for the whole, here, (as they do in everyday life - nothing being so black or white as it appears) and it's a fascinating tale of realisation, acceptance, and growth of the young "cast" - with a happy (or at least acceptable) ending for all.
Originally I only read this book as it was another of J.M.'s - of whom I'm a growing fan - but I'm glad I did. All her work contains elements of the "magical" running through it, her Sevenwaters trilogy being a huge favourite of mine - no J.M. fan can be totally closed to a bit of fantasy in their reading. So go ahead - bring the magic of the Nature world into your life. I bet you'll find you quietly enjoy it.
It's similar, in that it involves the lives of a family of young girls (between 5 - 17 years) and their experiences in the Fairy realms of the Forest. At first I was a bit doubtful, but I was quickly drawn into it, and although I have left my "young adulthood" a few decades(!) behind, am enjoying it very much.
Young adults will love it - and so will we "olds" if we open our imaginations to the magic!
When their father becomes ill and has to leave to look for a cure, Tati and Jena are left in charge of the household finances and business. Their cousin Cezar has other ideas when he sudden/ly becomes head of his household. He is of the opinion that woman are second to men and stops Paula from continuing with her studies and takes responsibility away from Jena. His mission is to destroy the wildwood after his older brother Costi was drowned there as a child by the witch Draguta. To make matters even worse for the sisters, the Night People are visiting the faerie folk and one of them is bewitching Tati, changing her and causing her to fall ill.
A lovely tale, the first in a new trilogy (book two is out, Cybele's Secret but book three looks a way off yet) by this writer who says her books are "historical fantasy". I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Daughter of the Forest which is my favourite of her novels so far, but I definitely recomend it. My only issue with it was Jena's need to constantly control everything. She needed to let go a little and let her friends and family live their own lives. I really admired the way she tried to stand up to her cousin however which made up for her slight faults.
An eccentric - not to say 'zany' novel in places, set in an undefined era about several girls with vague personalities who live in an old castle in Transylvania who discover a secret portal to another enchanting, but frightening world.
The author wastes no time in getting the reader into the excitement with the first 'full moon' expedition, as the girls enter that other world. Though this novel is listed for 'young adults' (never quite sure what that category means...) it is both too dark for perhaps the younger child, but yet too childish in places for those that are older - especially the bit about the frog which I found rather irritating that I felt spoilt the whole thing somewhat... At first I did not see the purpose of this amphibian character - except perhaps to add a touch of 'fairytale' to the story that would appeal to younger children, but as the story unfolds, it does come out that the frog does bear some significance to the tale and plot.
All in all a nice read that did keep you interested enough to want to continue to the end, but the beautiful and most delightful artwork for the cover does suggest something just a little more enchanting and excitingly magical with characters that had a bit more definition and substance to them.
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