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.
I'd heard so many good things about this book, so I was really looking forward to it. I'm really glad I was so excited for it, otherwise I might not have made it through. The whole story moved very slowly. Slower than I was accustomed to. There were some moments that it just felt like it was dragging. I was just about ready to give up, and then the excitement struck. The last 100 pages made me forgive the first 300 for their slowness.
Looking back, I'm glad it was slow. It fit the mood of the story. The writing was lyrical and rich with descriptions. The whole universe that was created was completely magical. These things wouldn't have been nearly as splendid if they were rushed. It went slowly so readers had a chance to soak up all the lovely details.
I could completely relate to Jena. If you want to know what I'm like, read this book.
On the other hand I couldn't understand Tati. She falls in love with a vampire who she can't have, then becomes paralyzed with her longing and turns into a completely useless wreck, who does absolutely nothing. The vampire wants her, too, but wants to protect her more. Sound familiar? It was like Twilight all over again! It drove me nuts! Thankfully the whole book doesn't revolve around this, but a large portion of it certainly does.
To make up for it, there's the relationship between Jena and Gogu the frog. It wasn't quite a romantic relationship, but it certainly was a strong one. Gogu seemed like Jena's Jiminy Cricket, always there to help her and guide her in the right direction.
All in all, this was an amazing book (as long as you don't pay much attention to the Twilight comparisons). I'm looking forward to reading more Juliet Marillier soon!
Read as part of the Fairy Tales Retold Challenge