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Wildwood Dancing

(Wildwood #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  27,656 ratings  ·  2,614 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 Alfred A. Knopf (first published July 1st 2006)
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Kelsey I think calling that scene "simply backed into a corner by an intoxicated young man" negates the extreme wrongness of the man's unwanted advances on J…moreI think calling that scene "simply backed into a corner by an intoxicated young man" negates the extreme wrongness of the man's unwanted advances on Jena. However, it is written in a way that will go over younger readers heads, but will clearly let older readers know what is an inappropriate way of being touched. I think this book is fantastic for all audiences and that the scene in question is brilliant at conveying just how inappropriate the young man's actions are, regardless of his level of intoxication. I wish that Jena would have been a lot more upset about it, but the book stays true to the time period where she basically doesn't have any avenue for recourse beyond getting away from him in the moment. (less)
Nina Yes, this can be read as a stand alone, though there is a sequel.

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of 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
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Gorgeous cover art, gorgeous story!

Wildwood Dancing is mostly a loose retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" fairy tale, but this novel, 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 Kingdom," a fairy land in kind of an alternate reality set very close to the real world. There t

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
This book gives new dimensions to the word UNDERWHELMING.

The cover is gorgeous, but everything else about this book is just the biggest MEH!

There was so much potential and it was soooo obviously wasted. It was a contradictory mess with plotholes bigger than Transylvania.

Maybe because I am not so young any more. I probably would have enjoyed it at 13, but I just cannot buy into this tale 3 decades later.
It probably also did not help that the narrator had such a whiny and saccharine voice that it
Jul 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

After finishing Wildwood Dancing, I’ve decided to give it a solid 3.5 stars. Considering this is my
first Juliet Marillier book that didn’t rate at least a 4, I probably should be feeling more disappointed, especially since, out of all her older titles, this was one I’d been looking forward to reading the most. But honestly, I am not. The reality is, while I’m pretty convinced that Marillier is incapable of writing a bad
In Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier introduces us to five sisters: sixteen-year-old Tatiana, the team mom; fifteen-year-old Jenica, the practical one; thirteen-year-old Iulia, the budding socialite; twelve-year-old Paula, the intellectual; and five-year-old Stela, who’s cute. They live in a castle, deep in the forests of Transylvania, sometime during the Renaissance. They have little company except their father, two loyal servants, and occasional visits from their relatives.

But every full moo
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Apr 12, 2012 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.
Nov 09, 2009 rated it liked it
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
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
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
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.:) ...more
A.G. Howard
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Perfection. I want to live in all of Ms. Marillier's worlds. <3 ...more
One of the best fairy tale mashups I've ever read, and I'm very choosy about retellings so I don't get to say this often. I appreciated most of all how Marillier managed to mix two major fairy tales, The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince, with elements from Eastern European folklore like Baba Yaga (here in the character of the powerful wood witch Draguta) and legends involving vampires native from the setting, 16th century Transylvania.

The latter was the element that had me doubting
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
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Slow beginning but it definitely had that "awww" moment! ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sherwood Smith
Oct 18, 2008 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,
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it
a cottagecore lover’s dream complete with faeries, a mythical forest, and fairytales

if only incest didn’t exist
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
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
Chloe (thelastcolour)
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
“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.”

I had heard from a few people that Marillier’s writing was a thing of beauty. Thus, my expectations for this book increased and, needless to say, I was not left disappointed. The world building was remarkable, the friendship’s created and the folklore, everything was beautiful and to be cherished. When one hears of Transylvania, one thinks of vampires but ther
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
Mar 01, 2011 added it
Shelves: retellings
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
Katie Gallagher
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books where from the very first page you know that you're in good hands. It's been AGES since I've read Juliet Marillier (more than... fifteen years...?) but I remember her books extremely fondly, and I'm sure I'll pick up another one just as fast as I can manage it. (Well, who knows, actually. Wrangling an ever-expanding TBR list is a task and a half.)

The prose is gorgeous, the pacing is perfect, the mythology exquisite. I love that the character list and the setting are ke
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,
Grace ᵔᴥᵔ
Ugh, I instantly fell in love with this book the second I started reading it.

It was just like everything that I love in books came together into one: whimsical worlds; fantastical creatures; 1800s-esque setting; strong female characters; beautiful writing; a proper antagonist; and overall just a good story, like an adult version of a fairytale.

Oh and, there's a talking frog. Extraordinary.


Jenica lives with her four sisters and their father in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Dracu
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
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Fantasy Story About a young girl discovering a magic woodland. [s] 5 20 Jun 24, 2020 04:48PM  
Am I the only one? 46 445 Nov 30, 2013 05:53AM  
Admirers of Julie...: Wildwood Dancing 11 52 Oct 02, 2012 05:47PM  
If Wildwood Dancing were made into a movie... 18 153 Sep 20, 2011 04:44PM  

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Juliet Marillier was born 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 Bachelor of Music (Hons). Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a majo ...more

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