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.More
"Strong characters, two fully realized settings, and a fast-moving plot guarantee that readers will be spellbound by this page turner." (School Library Journal)
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romantic fantasy with a bit of a dark twist
I enjoyed this book, but I had a couple of issues with it. I listened to the audio version, and the narrator did an excellent job. The story just dragged for me for awhile in the 2nd half, but I really did care about what happened to the characters, particularly the main character Jena and her endearing pet frog. So I stuck it out and I'm glad I did. The other issue I had was that although Jena had some strength and a mind of her own there were times when she was indecisive, too passive, slow to figure things out that should have been fairly obvious, and it caused the romantic angst, as well as the frustration and uncertainty of their problems, to drag on to the point that it was almost unbearable. I prefer female protagonists with a bit more spunk than Jenna had when things got tough. I kept wanting to shout at her to do "such and so" already! And several times was tempted to skip ahead, but didn't. If it weren't for that I would have given it four stars.
Overall an enjoyable read for a romantic fantasy with a bit of a dark twist. Teen and tween girls who like romance and fairy tales should like this one, and it's clean enough for particular parents.
- Responsibly Unashamed Lessa
- Margit D. Morawietz