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Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood #1)

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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  18,506 ratings  ·  1,801 reviews
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 thro ...more
Hardcover, 407 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2007)
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Sarah No, it's a fairly mild book and was written for younger audiences. There is, however, a scene in which the main character is, in plain terms, sexually…moreNo, it's a fairly mild book and was written for younger audiences. There is, however, a scene in which the main character is, in plain terms, sexually harassed.

It's not graphic at all. Jena is simply backed into a corner by an intoxicated young man. If I can remember correctly, there is some forced kissing and unwanted advances.

Nothing the strong minded Jena can't handle though!(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)


This is a book to be read in the fall, preferably a crisp October day. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket, curl up in your favorite reading seat, lose yourself in this magical fantasy.

I believe that hard work and perseverance supersedes natural talent, but sometimes, there is just no denying that some people were just born to be writers. I have read almost every single one of Ms. Marillier's books, and while the plot sometimes doesn't work for me in her adult novels, there is absolutely no denying
...more
Kat Kennedy
The problem with this book is that it's not real.

Juliet Marillier is my arch-nemesis and main rival. We've been competing against each other for the coveted title of #1 most followed Australian for awhile now. The battle has been vicious. The competition fierce.

[image error]
Okay, maybe she's not as "aware" of this competition as I am... so what if it appears that she's almost never even ON Goodreads and by all accounts may actually have forgotten that she has a GoodReads? It still counts as a c
...more
Grace
Sep 27, 2008 Grace rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fairy Tale, Mythic Fiction Lovers
I don't recall the last time I've read a fiction book based on classic fairy tales that was this excellent, and I've read many. The tone of this book does indeed feel a lot like the recent works of Patricia McKillip, but Marillier manages to make you care about the characters more (and this is coming from a huge McKillip fan). I don't cry easily at books, but I found myself moved to tears at several points.

The book takes the fairy tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses and sets it in Romania, telling
...more
Tadiana ♕Part-Time Dictator♕
I read this fairy tale novel last year and gave it four stars, but the more I think about this book and compare it to others I've read in the genre lately, the more I'm impressed with it. So it's belatedly getting all five stars.

This tale, set in Transylvania in about the 1500's, pulls in threads from various fairy tales and legends and weaves them together. There are five sisters, ages 5-17, living in a castle on a mountain. Every full moon, the sisters go through a magical portal to the "Other
...more
Tatiana
Not sure how to rate this. Somewhere around 3.5 stars rounded up to generous 4 I guess?

I really do like Juliet Marillier's writing, even though it always takes me a while to get into any of her books. I like how descriptive and atmospheric her stories are. Wildwood Dancing offers an interesting blend of traditional fairy tales (The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince) and Transylvanian vampire lore. The characters are likable - the heroines are strong and resourceful, the heroes valian
...more
Cristin
This is another pleasant book for young adult readers who are interested in fantasy...(can you sense an impending "however"?)

At times, HOWEVER, I resented the editor, because it seemed like the arguments between Cezar and Jena acted as filler pages that prevented the story from moving forward.

I also disliked the fact that it was nearly impossible to become attached to any of the sisters (besides Jena, who is the main character)though such an attachment or personal investment (on the reader's par
...more
A.G. Howard
Perfection. I want to live in all of Ms. Marillier's worlds. <3
Jessica
This was an amazing book. She weaves together several classical stories: the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Transylvanian vampire lore, and others (I wouldn't want to give any twists away by saying which ones), and does so seamlessly and without a feeling that she's cramming it all in. The characters were great, and I truly enjoyed seeing what twists and turns the story took. There were villains both in the "ordinary" world, and in the fairy kingdom, but also champions and sympathizers, often from u ...more
Sarah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kay
Hm, this one is tough to rate. Higher than three stars, but definitely not round-upable to four. So I guess 3.25 stars?

As always Juliet Marillier's prose is lovely and atmospheric. A retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince, the story is set in Transylvania and told from the perspective of Jena, the second eldest sister out of five, all of whom visit the fairy realm through a secret passageway in their bedroom.

When their ill father leaves Jena and her sisters for the winter
...more
Sofia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jess
This, my friends, is how you tell a story!

I've been on a kick of fairytale-related books recently, and this is easily the best of them. I was completely hooked on this book and found it nearly impossible to put down.

This is my first read of Juliet Marillier, but now I know that I definitely want to check out the other books that she's written. She is quite talented as a storyteller. I was completely transported to Piscul Dracului and the surrounding forest as I read.

In a genre of books that i
...more
Misty
Wildwood Dancing is retold fairy tale set in Romania of a century ago. Five sisters (beautiful Tati; sensible Jena, who narrates the story; lively Iulia; smart Paula and young Stela) are left to take care of their estate, Piscul Dracului, when their father travels south for his health. They try to go on with their lives as before: doing chores, watching over his mercantile business, and sneaking out of their bedroom once a month through a secret portal that lead to a fairy realm where they dance ...more
Sesana
I feel absolutely no shame in admitting that I initially read this book solely because of the beautiful cover by Kinuko Craft. I've loved her work for years, so when I say that the best thing about the book is the cover, that is by no means a slight against the writing. Actually, Marillier writes quite lovely prose, and I liked her general take on the fairy world.

However... The actual plot was muddled. I think this was mostly from trying to cram way, way too much stuff into a single book. It is,
...more
Morgan F
A lush, idyllic fairytale. I love Juliet Marillier's uniqueness and distinct style. It's so refreshing in today's YA market. Jena is a strong heroine, although I wished she acted more. The arguments between Cezar and Jena did become rather repetitive, and things seemed to happen to Jena, rather than her making things happen. I did love the setting though. It was vibrant and well-researched. It's easy to see that Marillier honestly cares about making the setting and details as realistic as possib ...more
Erica (daydreamer)
Before reading this review, be warned, it’s a little, well, stilted, and maybe slightly spoilery, though the back of the book DOES say one enchanted frog, so, make of it what you will.


I didn’t know this story was a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses. Score! Being one of my favorite fairytales (if you couldn’t tell by my review of Entwined), I was excited to read this different version from an author I adore. And this wasn’t the only fairytale retelling in this enchanting book; there’s a frog
...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Wildwood Dancing is a pleasant and entertaining read. It kept me up late at least once. The storyline is fairy tale-inspired: five sisters use a magic portal to pass into the Otherworld every full moon night. But while their father is ill, their domineering cousin Cezar begins to take over, and he plans to cut down the forest and slaughter its mystical denizens to avenge a dead brother. Throw in some vampires and an enchanted frog, and there's more than enough story for 400 pages. If it sounds a ...more
Ally (The Scribbling Sprite)
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?

**UPDATE:

For nine years Jena, her sisters, and her beloved enchanted frog have visited the Other Kingdom. Disappearing through a portal in their bedchambe
...more
Hannah
Sep 13, 2012 Hannah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: Hanneybean
Shelves: 2012-reads, ya
Lovely, lovely YA fantasy, even for a reader who doesn't particularly like this genre.

Loved the Transylvanian setting, the world building and the main character Jena and her sister Paula (who will be the main heroine in Marillier's second Wildwood novel, Cybele's Secret).

The descriptions of the Other Kingdom reminded me very much of Marion Zimmer Bradley's faerie world in The Mists of Avalon. There was a strangeness and darkness about it that not every writer is able to pull off successfully whe
...more
Pauline
“Wildwood Dancing” reminds me of "Pride and Prejudice" with a spattering of different fairy tales and a bit of Dracula mixed in.

There are five sisters and the oldest is beautiful and the second oldest is smart and witty. The other three consist of the scholar, the flirt and the youngest is just young.

Their father becomes ill and leaves the girls to run the castle under the watchful eye of an uncle and cousin Cezar. To say the least things go awry and the cousin is power hungry and in love with J
...more
Amy
Mar 18, 2011 Amy added it
Picture an old guy. He coughs. Grunts. Wriggles in his chair and glares suspiciously around...
That is how I felt about this book.
I know, it is a weird analogy (nothing compared to some of the other stuff I've come up with xD) but it was the image I kept coming back to as I read Wildwood Dancing . What follows might end up just being a ramble...because I'm still "chewing" on the book. Which means that some this will end up having SPOILERS. Nothing big (I hope xD) but....
Jena is the second oldes
...more
Sherwood Smith
Oct 18, 2008 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fantasy
This combines several fairy tale tropes with a beautifully realized Eastern European setting. The main character is Jena, a strong, sensible heroine who still long for romance and Otherness. She has to balance her own wishes and desires against what's good for her family and land.

The oldest sister is a tad drippy for an adult reader, but I think I would have found her soggy wasting away intensely romantic when I was young. The main fairy tale is also recognizable early on for the adult reader,
...more
Nikki
Wildwood Dancing is a very interesting blend of several different fairytales and folklore: the seven dancing princesses, the princess and the frog, stories of vampires and fairies. I love fairytale retellings, and it was interesting to see the way these were all put together in a reasonably historical framework, in Romania -- with strong touches of realism, when the girls were going about their ordinary lives.

Unfortunately, for me, there was something all too predictable about it. I'd answered a
...more
Sydney
Oct 29, 2014 Sydney rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of fantasy, complex characters, and well-done romances
Recommended to Sydney by: Chiara (delicate eternity)
4.5 stars (October 2014 Epic Recs)

This book was, in short, one of the most magical books I've ever read. It is set in the beautiful setting of Transylvania in a castle on a hill; it is full of interesting, developed, and complex characters; and it has an intricately woven plot, flowing consistently throughout the novel. The writing is wonderful -- lyrical, but never purple or overdone, with lush descriptions that do wonders for the imagination.

This book was recommended to me by Chiara for our O
...more
Sarah Taleweaver
I'm always up for a good fairytale retelling, and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" is one of my favorite fairytales in the world. So when I saw Wildwood Dancing reviewed on a friend's site, I knew I had to read it. Sadly, it languished in my library stack for several months before I got around to picking it up!

I really enjoyed Wildwood Dancing for a great many reasons. However, there were also some things that I wasn't really fond of. For your convenience (and my ease of reviewing), I'll make two
...more
snowplum
This was a charming book with some clever fairy tale twists, some really interesting supporting characters, and a happy ending... but it's the middle of the story that keeps me from giving it a more enthusiastic endorsement. I'd describe the story as middle-heavy, and what's happening in the middle of the book is all worry and things going wrong. If the only thing that a character can do is worry and be miserable and try to figure out what to do but not be able to figure it out, then I don't thi ...more
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist

Juliet Marillier has done it again! Folks, I cannot gush enough about Marillier's obvious skills as a storyteller: her stories are always thoroughly researched, her characters are so exquisitely real (not real as in excessively flawed, but real as in someone you can care about and trust), and her fantasy elements are creative without being extreme.
Including elements from the fairytales of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "The Frog Prince," Marillier also gives readers a clear and descriptive
...more
Emma
In Transylvania, an enchanted forest brings fear to the villagers in the nearby valley, who arm themselves with amulets and garlic as protection against the Night People and the witch of the forest, Draguta. Unknown to anyone, the five sisters of the castle Piscul Draculi travel into the Other Kingdom every full moon, where they spend the night dancing with the magical creatures in the other realm. When their father must leave to recover from his illness, things became difficult for the sisters. ...more
Mel
Re-reading an old favorite book is always fun. I still loved it and I can finally write a review to spread my love :D Will be coming soon!

also on: http://thedailyprophecy.blogspot.nl/2...

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Juliet Marillier. Books you love are always the hardest to review. How can I describe the magical writing-style, the great fairytale feeling and the amazing characters in just a few words? This is something you have to explore yourself. If someone asks me who my favorite au
...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Loosely based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses, among other fairy tales, Wildwood Dancing is the story of five sisters who disappear into The Other Kingdom for a fairy revel every full moon night. But when their father leaves them alone to spend the winter in another city, their cousin, Cezar, realizes something is going on and starts making their lives difficult.

So maybe there's nothing deep or thought-provoking here. This was still a hugely fun book. It's pretty obvious that this is a re-telli
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Am I the only one? 48 378 Nov 30, 2013 05:53AM  
Admirers of Julie...: Wildwood Dancing 13 41 Oct 02, 2012 05:47PM  
If Wildwood Dancing were made into a movie... 18 125 Sep 20, 2011 04:44PM  
Young Adult Book ...: * Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince 16 66 Dec 30, 2009 04:40PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Final Thoughts 10 48 Dec 27, 2009 03:18PM  
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8649
Juliet Marillier was born July 27, 1948 in Dunedin, New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Juliet was educated at the University of Otago, where she majored in music and languages, graduating BA and a B Mus (Hons). Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a ...more
More about Juliet Marillier...

Other Books in the Series

Wildwood (2 books)
  • Cybele's Secret (Wildwood, #2)
Daughter of the Forest  (Sevenwaters, #1) Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters, #2) Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters, #3) Heir to Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters, #4) Cybele's Secret (Wildwood, #2)

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