Juliet Marillier does it again. She always does it. Never fails to do it. Even her bad books are good books. How does she do it? I want to know. She can make you fall in love with a frog named Gogu, and think nothing of it because he's such a sweet, dashing frog (of course, you know better, and it IS better!). Every time I pick up anything she's written, it's almost impossible to suction me out from between the covers. I can't stop until I've inhaled the book completely, like the most wonderful addiction conceivable.
I thought for a while that this was going to be like a blend of The Frog Prince and The Twelve Dancing Princesses stories with a hint of Transylvanian vampiric lore, except it was better, more exciting and definitely more romantic (because really, what's so romantic about those stories?).
Wildwood Dancing is set in Transylvania, unlike Marillier's usual Irish tales, but nonetheless the same things that made Sevenwaters and Wolfskin so captivating were beautifully translated to this new setting. Many of Marillier's elements returned -- brave and alternately practical and whimsical heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, devastatingly beautiful yet decidedly ambiguous Fair Folk, villains that you ultimately can't hate (although with Cezar, I came pretty close), sibling rivalry, unrequited love, and vulnerable family members, and endings that are so completely breathtaking that they leave you melancholy and triumphant at the same time.
I think, though, that a bit of my melancholy can be credited to my sadness that the book has to come to an end at one point or another. This is one of those books that you wish could go on forever.