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Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood #1)

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4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  20,453 Ratings  ·  1,941 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
ebook, 434 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2007)
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Popular Answered Questions

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)
Nina Yes, this can be read as a stand alone, though there is a sequel.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (the Grinch)


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
Lola  Reviewer

What an enchanting story.

The kind that makes your eyes sparkle with wonder.


Juliet Marillier is a fine new discovery of an author for me. Her writing is tremendously elegant, soft to the ear, and flowing like a gentle but unwavering wave. It will catch your attention but also manage into holding it. Juliet Marillier is talented, without doubt.

Fairy tale retellings sweep me off my feet. I love princesses, knights, otherworldly creatures, prophecies, curses, witches, seeing true love bloom… and ev
...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.

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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
Navessa

DNF @ 80%

Unbelievably disappointing. Utterly underwhelming. Filled with contrivances, plot holes, and rampant stupidity on the part of the MC.

I spent the entirety of this book PISSED, mostly at the weakness of our supposedly headstrong, intelligent, and capable heroine, because while I was told that she was all of these things, I was never shown that she was any of these things. All I saw of her was a weak-willed doormat of an MC, so spineless that I'm surprised she was able to stand upright. A
...more
Grace
Sep 27, 2008 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Samantha
Oct 06, 2015 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars! Such a fun and magical read!
The half star is knocked off for insta-love....and the same character slowly wasting away due to her love. Luckily not the main character. Hate that trope. But other than that, a beautiful book!
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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
Phrynne
This was my second try at reading a book by this author and again I was only moderately impressed. She does write well but this particular book seemed repetitive and went on a bit too long. I did enjoy the characters especially the frog (which will sound strange if you haven't read the book yet) and the sisters although Tati was seriously disturbed. The story was very predictable (especially the frog). Three stars because I did read the book to the end so I must have enjoyed some of it.:)
Jessica
Mar 02, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairytales
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
A.G. Howard
Apr 08, 2015 A.G. Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfection. I want to live in all of Ms. Marillier's worlds. <3
Sofia
Nov 12, 2012 Sofia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Slow beginning but it definitely had that "awww" moment!
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
Vinaya
I never thought I'd say this about a Juliet Marillier book, but... WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!!!

I love Juliet Marillier. Love her with the burning passion of a thousand suns. She's one of my go-to authors, the rare few I can count on to not let me down. Except, apparently, when it came to writing Wildwood Dancing. There's a bunch of stuff I liked in this book, number one being Gogu. Best frog-prince ever. EVER. Also, Juliet Marillier is generally a master at evoking exactly the emotion she
...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
Jessika
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
Sherwood Smith
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
The Book Queen
Apr 08, 2016 The Book Queen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This book was utterly gorgeous and I adored it - save for some minor complaints about the ending/last quarter. Review to come
Liliana Rio
Apesar de ser um universo diferente dos livros que li da autora, adorei igualmente esse mundo maravilhoso de magia e fantasia!!
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
Amy
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
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
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
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
Hannah
Sep 13, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: Hanneybean
Shelves: ya, 2012-reads
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Am I the only one? 48 390 Nov 30, 2013 05:53AM  
Admirers of Julie...: Wildwood Dancing 13 43 Oct 02, 2012 05:47PM  
If Wildwood Dancing were made into a movie... 18 132 Sep 20, 2011 04:44PM  
Young Adult Book ...: * Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince 16 68 Dec 30, 2009 04:40PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Final Thoughts 10 50 Dec 27, 2009 03:18PM  
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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)

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“If a man has to say trust me, Gogu conveyed, it's a sure sign you cannot. Trust him, that is. Trust is a thing you know without words.” 1113 likes
So you do believe in... true love? she whispered.
I took a deep breath, I think I have to, I said, blinking back tears. Without it, we're all going nowhere.
324 likes
More quotes…