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48 Hr Book Challenge #3: Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier

Wildwood Dancing is a fairytale lover’s dream: familiar tales, retold and mixed with folklore, creating a new and entrancing story.  In this combination of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Frog Prince, and various eastern European folktales, 15 year old Jenica finds herself trying to manage her father’s estate as he goes to the shore to recover from grave illness.  Her cousin Cezar quickly appoints himself master of the estate, and sets about restricting the activities of Jena and her four sisters, as well as seeking his revenge on the folk of the wildwood, whom he blames for his brother’s death ten years ago.

The use of familiar stories in Wildwood Dancing is refreshing: Marillier takes care to make the stories recognizable but not predictable.  At several points I thought I saw where the story was going and every time I was a little right and a little wrong.  This is how a book should be: we get the thrill of having figured it out, without the boredom that comes with a more predictable story.  Wildwood Dancing is not only strong in its use of traditional tales, but also in its creation of characters.  The five sisters of Piscul Dracului are five different girls, each with her own whole personality.  At the same time, while Jena is “the sensible one” and Tati is “the pretty one” and Paula is “the smart one,” these girls are not pigeonholed by these roles.

Wildwood Dancing reminded me of Holly Black’s Tithe, which is odd because the moods of the two books have nothing in common.  I think it was just the notion of teenaged girls interacting with faeries that made the connection in my mind.  Still, there is a spiritual connection between them, somehow, and I feel that fans of one would certainly enjoy the other.

(Stats Below Are For the Whole Challenge, Not Just This Book)
Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 795
Time Spent Reading/Reviewing: 11 hrs

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