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Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Wildwood Dancing (original 2006; edition 2008)

by Juliet Marillier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,271646,206 (4.12)152
Title:Wildwood Dancing
Authors:Juliet Marillier
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:TBR, young adult, fantasy

Work details

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (2006)

  1. 50
    Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (foggidawn)
    foggidawn: Another enjoyable retelling of the Dancing Princesses fairy tale.
  2. 30
    Entwined by Heather Dixon (quigui)
    quigui: Both stories are re-tellings of the 12 Dancing Princesses, both equally sweet.
  3. 10
    Silver Birch, Blood Moon by Ellen Datlow (Anonymous user)
  4. 10
    Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (Herenya)
  5. 10
    The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle (Maid_Marian)
  6. 10
    Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier (Anonymous user)
  7. 00
    The nightwood by Robin Muller (Rosina07, Rosina07)
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    Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (foggidawn)
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    The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell (foggidawn)
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    The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip (Anonymous user)

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» See also 152 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
It was a great mix of the stories of the twelve dancing princesses, the princess and the frog, and a little bit of romeo and Juliet with a dash of vampires thrown into the old world Romania. A slower read, and dry in some places, but overall a wonderful modern fairy tale. ( )
  Elizabth.dt | Nov 27, 2015 |
I only got like 20 pages into Wildwood Dancing and just wasn't really in the mood for it. I'm not particularly feeling Twelve Dancing Princesses right now and I'm not a fan of vampires so since the writing didn't really grab me, it's probably just not the book for me, oh well!
  anyaejo | Aug 12, 2015 |
Originally posted at The Scribbling Sprite.

Eventually I'll get around to writing a full review in which I praise the content of this book from page 2 to page 400. Not page 1, though. I was rather bored with page 1.

Right now, I'll just say that I liked it. A lot. More than a lot.

Except for page 1. 399/400 pages is pretty good though, isn't it?


For nine years Jena, her sisters, and her beloved enchanted frog have visited the Other Kingdom. Disappearing through a portal in their bedchamber, never have they felt any sense of danger—until the Night People arrived.

Terrible rumors surround these creatures, and are given all the more credit when their arrival wreaks havoc in both worlds. But the Night People aren't the only ones spelling danger. When the girls' father goes away, their cousin Cezar arrives to help the girls—but Jena's afraid that he's doing more harm than good.

Feeling the heavy weight of responsibilities thrust upon her all at once, Jena has many decisions to make. Can she trust Cezar? The Night People? Her insticts tell her no.

What it really boils down to, is can she protect her family, her world, and the Other Kingdom from disaster?

My review: This is not your average fairy tale. Aside from the enchanted frog, it's a far cry from your favorite Disney Princess movie. Of course, as much as I love Disney, that's a good thing!

In Wildwood Dancing, Marillier spins together two familiar tales—The Frog Prince and The Twelve Dancing Princesses—while giving them original twists.

In the Author's Note, Marillier explains some about Transylvanian mythology, which plays an instrumental part in the book. She did a very good job at avoiding stereoypes, especially with the villains(that's Night People, NOT vampires, mind you!), and I really appreciate the authentic feel her research brought to the book.

The five stars pretty much lay it out for you. I loved this novel. The romance was sweet; the villains suitably distasteful. At first I wasn't sure whether or not to like the controlling cousin, Cezar(Cheh-zahr). One moment I was thinking of how he could be redeemed; the other I was hating his guts. Although, as much as I liked him as a potential “bad guy,” I do wish there would have been more of a spotlight on the Night People, particularly Tadeusz and his...er...sister? Still not clear on that....

If you're reading this on Goodreads, you might be wondering about that first part of my review. About me disliking the first page? Well, I was serious! It was a bunch of names. Tedious and confusing. Though I must say, technically it was only half a page and, obviously, it picked up for me after that. The names really aren't at all confusing to keep up with(although you may have trouble pronouncing some of them—there is a pronunciation guide). I just wish they weren't all dumped into that first paragraph.

Enough of that. This is a positive review! Now go read this book! I really do highly recommend it. Especially for lovers of fantasy and fairy tales, and young adults. But don't be put off if you don't normally read YA. You might be surprised by how well written and unique this novel is.

Lastly, the cover art. It's beautiful.

Content: Clean! ( )
1 vote ScribblingSprite | Aug 10, 2015 |

Wildwood Dancing (2006)

by Juliet Marillier

11 audio discs

"Five sisters who live with their merchant father in Transylvania use a hidden portal in their home to cross over into a magical world, the Wildwood. "

Every month on the night of the Full Moon, 5 sisters together open a secret portal into the Other Kingdom for a night of dancing among fairies, dwarves and trolls.
They dance the night through with the fey creatures.
Father's illness and villainous cousin Cezar complicate life in the Romanian castle.
Jena, responsible 15 yr old sister narrates and she is a bit unusual because she travels with a confidante frog named Gogu .
Themes like bravery, betrayal, trust and true love are woven through the tale.
Each sister is distinctively portrayed.

The audio presentation enhances the story's enchantment.
(narration by Kim Mai Guest)


"The story of Jena's younger sister Paula continues in Cybele's Secret, a companion to Wildwood Dancing " ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 14, 2015 |
Three and a half stars. So close to rounding up to four stars but the ending just fell short of that magic. I love this story, I really, really love this story.
It has all the right touches of a redone fairy tale. Enough newness and enough oldness blended together.
Jena and her four sisters find a portal to a Dancing Gale every Full Moon, where they slip between being daughters of a manor in the wildwoods and dancers in the Other Realm.
She's a great protagonist. Practical enough get though the story without idiocies, but romantic enough to bring the romance in the book.

I knew the big plot twist of Gogu and Costi early in the book because fairy tales do have a certain type of format, but that doesn't make the moment of fruition any less amazing.

I was enthralled by the world created here. But I thought towards the end the book fell into tropes and cliches and a lot of false dialogue. The tasks that Sorrow had to fulfill was just ridiculous because it had no meaning behind them. I didn't like how Jena turned into a empty headed romantic later in the book.
I really didn't like the whole idea of "believing in true love" to survive. That just felt cliche and pointless except to drive across the idea of love love love.
It could have been done a lot more subtly, in my opinion.
The book couldn't seem to end itself without a lot of fairy tale cliches, and that was the problem. I would have liked to see something more realistic, or more appropriate for this book that is set in a more real world scene rather than a fairy world scene. it just didn't fit.

But overall, I am so glad I read this book. It's been a long time since I've read such a great rewrite of a fairy tale. Reminded me a little of Entwined.

Three and a half stars but rounded down to three because I love love this book, but thought it had a weak conclusion. Very much recommended for people who love fairy tales. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Juliet Marillierprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guest, Kim MaiNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Een aangrijpend fantasy-sprookje
To my granddaughter Claire
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I've heard it said that girls can't keep secrets.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375844740, Paperback)

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom--an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar's grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can't imagine--tests of trust, strength, and true love.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:17 -0400)

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Five sisters who live with their merchant father in Transylvania use a hidden portal in their home to cross over into a magical world, the Wildwood.

(summary from another edition)

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