Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released: March 25, 2008
Description: 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.
My Review: I first read this book several years ago, and it's remained a favorite every time I've read it. Every so often, I pick it back up, and I always notice something new.
I've always loved fairy tales, and fairy tale adaptations are the best! This particular story blends together two of my absolute favorite fairy tales-- The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Princess and the Frog. They aren't very popular fairy tales, and they're slightly disguised here, but I love them.
The characters in this book seem all too real. I really feel for these characters and for their troubles and joys. I can see the setting from the description, and it makes me want to travel to Piscul Dracului and look into Taul Ielelor.
There is something in this book for everyone. Tragedy, some comedy, magic, romance, adventure. It really has it all.
Part of its charm is the state of suspense you're in. With fairy tales, of course you expect everything to come out right in the end. This, however, is not strictly a fairy tale. I've read this book many times, and I still find myself gasping at times and wanting to cry at others. Everything is not as it seems, and everything is not good or evil, black or white.