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#66 Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier

Cybele’s Secret is a companion novel to Juliet Marillier’s lovely Wildwood Dancing. I say companion novel and not sequel because Cybele’s Secret is very much a standalone novel. Our narrator this time around is Paula, Jena’s scholarly younger sister from Wildwood Dancing. Now seventeen years old, Paula is old enough for leave home, and join her father, a prosperous merchant, on his adventures. Cybele’s Secret brings her to Istanbul, where they hope to acquire Cybele’s Gift, an ancient artifact with ties to an almost forgotten pagan religion. The transaction soon goes foul, when individuals tied to the artifact wind up dead. Paula, who has longed for more adventure and magic in her life since losing access to the Other Kingdom, is about to get more than she bargained for.

Cybele’s Secret has many of the same elements found in Wildwood Dancing. Both books possess a fantastic storyline that starts an intelligent young woman. Both books also possess an intriguing romantic subplot. This is where the similarities end. While Wildwood Dancing draws it’s inspiration from fairytales, Cybele’s Secret has more in common with Arabian Nights. It’s an adventure story, featuring sword fights, nautical battles, and wicked villains, all which culminate in an Indiana Jones-esque finale where our heroes will have to get past a series of tests and traps in order to reach their goals. Reading Wildwood Dancing is not a requirement for reading Cybele’s Secret, although it is recommended.

I admittedly prefer Wildwood Dancing to Cybele’s Secret. I found Jena to be a more appealing narrator to Paula, and the storyline for Wildwood Dancing was more compelling to the fairytale lover in me. Still, there were many things I enjoyed about this book. I really liked the love triangle, where Paula must choose between a man that she trusts but cannot relate to on an intellectual level, and a man that thrills her mind, but she cannot trust. The end of the book was really exciting as well. One of my biggest complaints about the book may surprise some. The cover! Don’t get me wrong, the job Kumiko Craft did on this cover is astounding. I love the fact that the people on the cover look like the actual characters. In fact they look so much like the actual characters that there’s a huge spoiler on the cover! One thing I must recommend to anyone planning on picking up this book is to not inspect it too closely until you at least get to page 290.

In conclusion, this was a fun read that I enjoyed. I hear that Marillier would like to write a third one, but due to health problems, it might not happen right away. If she does write another Wildwood novel, I will be very happy, but I hope she takes care of her health first.

Rating: four stars
Length: 432 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library
TBR Pile: 144 books
Similar Books: The nautical scenes reminded me of Pirates! by Celia Reese
Other books I've read by this book: Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophecy, Wildwood Dancing (my review)

I also finished the audiobook of The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop today, hereby ending my Anne Bishop mini-maraton. Review should be up soon.

xposted to bookish  and temporaryworlds 
Tags: xxx author last name: i-q
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