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Wildwood Dancing


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About the Author

Juliet Marillier is the author of several highly popular fantasy novels for adults, including the Sevenwaters Trilogy and the Bridei Chronicles. This is her first novel for teen readers. She lives in Australia.


Gr 8 Up-Julie Marillier's fantasy (Knopf, 2007) involves five sisters who live in the Transylvanian woods of Romania on the estate, Piscul Dracului. For the past nine years, at the time of each month's full moon, they cross over to the Dancing Glade, the world of faerie folk, and dance away the evening. But their idyllic life comes to an end when their father must journey away because of ill health, their power crazed cousin Cezar tries to control their lives, and their eldest sister falls hopelessly in love with someone from the Other Side, perhaps one of the dreaded Night People, whose sharpened teeth and other habits suggest they are vampires. Narrator Kim Mai Guest tells the story from practical second sister Jena's point of view, capturing the girl's desperation as "control" is wrestled from her by her heartless cousin and her despair about not being able to keep her sisters or even her pet frog safe. She is particularly adept at voicing the witch Draguta's cleverness and the menace in Cezar's tone. The power of the story and Guest's ability to reveal the characters' underlying personalities in their voices make this an enjoyable listening experience.-Edith Ching, Washington Latin Public Charter School, DC Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Combining several familiar fairy tales in her first novel for young readers, Australian author Marillier (Daughter of the Forest, for adults) crafts a romantic fantasy rich in detail, magical creatures and strong female characters. The Wildwood is a magical place ruled by Draguta, "the witch of the wood." For nine years, narrator Jenica (aka Jena) and her four sisters have secretly visited the Other Kingdom, which appears in the Wildwood every Full Moon and where they dance until morning. Though Tati is the oldest, 15-year-old Jena is the responsible sister; people find Jena a bit odd because she travels with a frog named Gogu ("My dearest friend, my inseparable companion and my wise advisor," says she). But the sisters' idyllic world begins to crumble when their cousin Cezar takes over running their estate, Piscul Dracului, while their father is away. Cezar hates and fears the Other Kingdom as much as Jena and her sisters love it. He plans to destroy the trees in the Wildwood, and Jena frantically seeks a way to save the magical world. Marillier weaves the tale of the frog prince into this lush novel, peopled with vampires and forest witches, and adds a surprise twist (involving Jena and her amphibian companion). Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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."

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