Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier

Title: Cybele's Secret 
Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Alfred K. Knopf, imprint of Random House
Genre: Young Adult (fantasy)
Why I read it/how I found it: Came across it at the library and thought it sounded good.

For Paula, accompanying her merchant father on a trading voyage to Istanbul is a dream come true. They have come to this city of trade on a special mission to purchase a most rare artifact—a gift from the ancient goddess, Cybele, to her followers. It’s the only remnant of a lost, pagan cult.
But no sooner have they arrived when it becomes clear they may be playing at a dangerous game. A colleague and friend of Paula’s father is found murdered. There are rumors of Cybele’s cult reviving within the very walls of Istanbul. And most telling of all, signs have begun to appear to Paula, urging her to unlock Cybele’s secret.
Meanwhile, Paula doesn’t know who she can trust in Istanbul, and finds herself drawn to two very different men. As time begins to run out, Paula realizes they may all be tied up in the destiny of Cybele’ s Gift, and she must solve the puzzle before unknown but deadly enemies catch up to her. 

Review: I feel apathetic toward this book. I read it, and it didn't intrigue me or bore me. I didn't realize it when I picked it up, but this is a companion novel to Wildwood Dancing, which I haven't read. Perhaps if I read that I might have more of an interest in the world and the characters. I still understood everything, but still having that extra book might have helped to set up my interest. It was enjoyable going through Istanbul as Paula did, both during the Ottoman rule and as a woman. The social customs were interesting to discover. Many of the characters were also interesting, revealing different layers and pasts to them as the story went on, and many times the interactions between them was cleverly played out. However, once the climax was reached, there was still many, many pages to read of falling action, some of which I felt could have been cut or condensed. It was as if I read an extra twenty pages to what I really needed to read to feel satisfied.

Other information: As I said above, this is a companion to Wildwood Dancing. And although nothing else has come out yet, with a certain door open in Cybele's Secret I think more might be coming. Juliet Marillier's website is here.

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