Skip to main content

Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier

Cybele's Secret is the sequel to Wildwood Dancing--Juliet Marillier's first young adult novel. I have been a huge Marillier fan ever since picking up her first novel, Daughter of the Forest, to take with me on a trip to Italy. The wonderful thing about Marillier is that her sequels are always as good as, if not better than, her first books. So even though I liked Wildwood Dancing well enough (it didn't wow me), I was really looking forward to Cybele's Secret to see where she took her characters and what peril they got themselves into. 

The story follows Paula, the next to youngest of the five Brasov girls, and the one most noted for her scholarly bent and lack of interest in pretty much all things mundane. Fluent in both Greek and Latin, Paula accompanies her merchant father on a trip to Istanbul to serve as his assistant in his attempt to acquire a most unusual, legendary artifact known as Cybele's Gift. The artifact is a remnant of a long dead pagan cult and is said to bestow upon its owner fortune and blessings untold. Once in Istanbul, Paula's father finds he is just one of several merchants set on purchasing Cybele's Gift. Shadowed closely by her Bulgar bodyguard Stoyan, Paula puts her wits to work ferreting out the history behind the artifact and just why potential buyers keep turning up dead or fleeing town without explanation. Oh, and there's also a dashing pirate and adventure on the high seas. 

I enjoyed this sequel quite a bit more than its predecessor. That may have been because I related more to Paula and her struggle to stretch beyond the comfortable boundaries of her introverted nature. I also loved the setting in Istanbul. Marillier's research and immersion in her chosen locale is always evident in her stories and it particularly shone in this one. The twisty markets, the call to prayer, the artfully layered clothing swept me up along with Paula, Duarte, and Stoyan. Though some outcomes were fairly predictable, I always appreciate the loyalty Marillier's characters show one another. Even in the face of extreme doubt and fear. The good, the bad, the gray in between characters are each depicted with their individual virtues and vices and forced to move outside their accustomed circles. No one is perfect and everyone has their less-than-admirable moments as well as their moments when they prove themselves more than they seem. In short, they are all so human. And that's what brings me back to her books over and over again. 

Comments

  1. This one is on my to be read pile, waiting for me to find a few peaceful minutes!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Let me know what you think when you get to it. Have you read much Marillier?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous5:56 PM

    I actually had a different opinion, I preferred "Wildwood Dancing" to "Cybele's Secret".

    I felt like Cybele didn't really pick up until right before and during their journey under the mountain. That part was fabulous, but it was a little slow-going for awhile. I was also more invested in Jena and Costi's relationship than Paula and her bodyguard, even though I did end up enjoying their chemistry too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just goes to show how people identify differently with certain characters. I loved Stoyan. I also enjoyed Tati's role in this one. It was unexpected and I wish she'd gotten to stay around longer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I still haven't gotten around to reading this yet. I am on the nomiating panel for the Cybils Award's Sci Fi/
    fantasy section (http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/), and I am hoping that someone will nomiate it before the Oct. 15 deadline! Otherwise, what with reading all the books that have been nomiated, this will have to wait for months.

    I have the list of what's been nominated so far up at my blog, if you are interested!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dang, I already nominated Chalice or I would nominate it. Hopefully someone else will...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Review | The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vols. 1 & 2 by Beth Brower

I feel a bit giddy finally talking to you all about this series. If you'll remember, I fell madly in love with The Q when it came out a few years ago. Now, Beth Brower is writing The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion—a series of novellas set in London in 1883. Each volume is an excerpt from the incorrigible Emma's journals, and the first two volumes are already available with the third on the way soon. I think they'd make rather perfect pandemic reading. Humorous and charming down to their bones, they're just what the doctor ordered to lift your spirits in this uncertain time that just proves to be too much some days. If you're experiencing one of those days, I suggest giving Volume 1a go (it's only 99 cents on Kindle, $4.99 for a trade paperback copy). It will surprise exactly none of you that I own print and digital editions of both volumes. 
Miss Emma M. Lion has waited long enough. Come hell or high water (and really, given her track record, both are likel…

Review | If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

It's been years since I picked up a Mhairi McFarlane novel, and I'm not really sure why that is. I liked It's Not Me, It's Youwell enough (it's obvious she's quite a witty writer), but something about the execution felt off and I think I let that keep me from diving deeper into her backlist. Then came an offer to review her upcoming title If I Never Met You, and something about this one seemed to call out to me. As though it was time. As though Laurie and Jamie might be the ones. Spoiler alert: It was and they were. It was the perfect read for a couple of dreary, grey January days. While not perhaps as bubbly as I've Got Your Number, I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoyed that novel. They share a business setting, two individuals who are more than they know themselves to be, and a wonderfully slow burn romance. Readers who love Sarra Manning and Beth O'Leary's The Flatshareshould also take note.
Comedy was tragedy plus time, but the…

In the Beginning, or the First Ten Books I Reviewed on the Blog

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl
It's been awhile, but this topic was too good to pass up. When I thought about it, I genuinely could not recall which were the first ten books I actually reviewed here on the blog. So then, of course, I had to know. The thing is, I originally started the whole thing simply posting a once a month list of my favorite reads and rereads of the month. That went on for some time until lo and behold I went ahead and wrote and posted my first review on November 9, 2007. In hindsight, I probably should have known exactly which book pushed me over the edge into full fledged reviews. So this was a rather delightful journey back in time. Do you remember the first book you ever reviewed (in any forum) or what made you take the plunge? Here are my first ten (and I have to say, looking at this snapshot from the past, these remain some of my absolute favorite authors and a pretty spot-on array of the genres I read and love tod…