Archive for March, 2007

Wildwood Dancing: Re-visit Grimm with Juliet Marillier

h1 Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Wildwood Dancing
by Juliet Marillier
Alfred A. Knopf; January 2007
My source: review copy

First things first — just look at that cover. Yes, I made that image big for a reason. Beautiful cover art by Kinuko Y. Craft. Must take a moment to ooh and aah over it, as we don’t see a lot of detailed covers like this anymore. If you like, take a moment to visit Craft’s site. She, apparently, is the illustrator for most of Patricia A. McKillip’s books. The young lady pictured is Jena, but we’ll get to her in a moment.

Now, onward then. As VOYA points out, teens have been a huge part of the fan base for those titles of Juliet Marillier’s that have been marketed as “adult”; her first book, Daughter of the Forest (2000), was an Alex Award winner. This is Marillier’s first novel marketed explicity as “YA.” It was first published in Australia in July of 2006, and it won the 2006 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Marillier did her homework for this novel, set in Romania, and travelled to Transylvania, which she describes in an Author’s Note: “I had a rich and unforgettable taste of life on the Transylvanian plateau, surrounded by some of the grandest mountains and wildest forest in the world” (photos can be seen here at her site where the author states that viewing those pictures can give the reader a good idea of the world she takes us to in the novel).

What drew me to this novel was the mere mention that it was laced with fairy tale elements. Indeed, Marillier gives a respectful nod to The Brothers Grimm’s The Frog Prince and The Twelve Dancing Princesses (I even caught some references to their Little Snow White towards the novel’s close). And what a twist Marillier provides — The Frog Prince provides one of only a few of The Brothers Grimm’s heroines (the princess), as Jack Zipes points out in 1997’s Happily Ever After; however, the tale reinforces the notion of an obedient, subservient, self-sacrificing wife. Oh, snap snap! says Marillier (well, she would if she were, uh, into urban slang, I suppose). Instead, she brings us the clever, strong, and determined Jena. Read the rest of this entry �