Monday, March 1, 2010

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

This fairy tale takes place in the mountains of Transylvania, and yes there are vampires. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is the life of a family of sisters, told by Jena number two of four. Years ago they discovered a portal to the land of the fairies. Each full moon they open a secret staircase and descend to the edge of the lake to be shuttled across by their personal dwarf boatman to a land of unbelievable creatures and night of dancing.

This all begins to change when their father leaves for a winter buying trip. The merchant business is left in the hands of his brother and son. But, when Papa doesn't correspond they begin to think the worst has actually happened. Then uncle is killed in a freak hunting accident and the lives of the girls are taken over by their cousin Cezar who seems to think he owns the girls, their home and all the business.

As the full moon approaches he becomes obsessed with eliminating all of the fairy folk in the forest. The Night People (vampires)retaliate and Cezar really goes off the deep end.

One of the most important characters is a rather odd frog who is able to talk to Jena - but only Jena. He stays with her all the time, sitting on her shoulder or riding as a wet lump in her pocket. He is her confidante and her strength. He is also something quite different.

The story builds to a rather unexpected climax. One that reveals much of the character of Jena, Cezar and the frog Gogu. It's a story of forbidden love, magic, spells, and worlds unknown to most of us.

Find it at the High School Library.
An Iowa Teen Award nominee for 2010

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