Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fantasy Book Reviews

Wildwood Dancing
By Juliet Marillier
Copyright 2007
407 pages
Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher

Cybele's Secret
By Juliet Marillier
Copyright 2008
432 pages
Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher

These books are deemed "young adult" fantasies by the marketers, but to be sure I couldn't tell you why these books by Juliet Marillier and others that I have read by the same author are in different categories.

No matter. A good story is a good story. Marillier excels at taking fairy tales and myths and changing them so that they are barely recognizable. However, their familiarity lends to the telling and to the reader's enjoyment of the story simply because it tickles at those fundamentals of life that create a good tale.

In Wildwood Dancing, the reader meets five sisters who have a portal into the Other Kingdom. On the nights of the full moon, they go dancing with outlandish and foreign creatures, few who are human. Jena is the second-oldest sister and she tells the story in first person. She is a thoughtful scholar who claims to be no great beauty. It is she who insists of keeping tabs on the sisters for fear they will get lost in this other world and never return. A series of adventures and missteps almost proves her a poignant prognosticator.

Cybele's Secret takes place a few years later, with sister Paula taking up the tale. Like Jena, she is also very scholarly. She travels with her father, a merchant, on a buying trip to Turkey. There she finds a way into the Other Kingdom, only to find that the other world is not quite the same across the ocean.

Both books have themes of love and sacrifice, family duty, and adventure. They are both quest books, which I greatly enjoy, and so I found the reading of these to go quite smoothly.

Fantasy readers, particularly those who like a tale that makes them think, should find Marillier's books to be quite a treat. I have read her works Sevenwaters books and always find her to be compelling.

1 comment:

  1. Books are now marketed as "Young Adult" if their main character is a teen.


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