After reading, and enjoying, Daughter of the Forest so much I could not resist picking up another of Juliet Marillier's books when I "chanced" upon it in the library last week. Whilst accidentally-on-purpose seeing if they had any of her other books for me to borrow as I really, really, really can not justify any more book purchases right now given the state of my TBR shelves...
From the blurb: "The Wildwood holds many mysteries. Jena and her sisters share the biggest of all, a fantastic secret that enables them to escape the confines of their everyday life in rural Transylvania. When their father falls ill and must leave their forest home over the winter, Jena and her older sister Tati are left in charge.
All goes well until a tragic accident allows their overbearing cousin Cezar to take control. The appearance of a mysterious young man in a black coat divides sister from sister, and suddenly Jena finds herself fighting to save all she holds dear. With her constant companion, Gogu, by her side, she must venture to realms dark and perilous in her quest to preserve, not just those she loves, but her own independence as well."
Wildwood Dancing is a really delightful fairytale and I enjoyed reading it immensely. It's not that long so I sadly I finished it in a day but I did have fun doing so. I loved the imaginative depiction of the fairy side of the Wildwood and the stark contrast of the increasingly difficult everyday lives of the sisters worked very effectively.
Although it has a large cast of characters, each one feels quite unique and gets enough book-time to establish a clear personality which was something I also noticed whilst reading Daughter of the Forest. It was only after finishing the book that I realised that this book was written specifically for a Young Adult audience which could explain why characters were generally painted in fairly black and white terms - my only gripe with the book. Should I confess that I had no idea I was reading, and enjoying, yet another book designed for the YA market? Nah...
Doh. I've just noticed that rather like Daughter of the Forest this is also the first of a planned trilogy but I was quite happy reading it as a stand alone book.
Honourable review mention should also go to Kinuko Y. Craft who created the artwork for this book. It's a fabulous piece of work that really comes to life as you read through the book. With her commission pieces starting at $50,000 I suspect that the book cover is the only piece of her work I will be acquainted with!