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LOVED, LOVED, LOVED THIS even better then the first book in the series Wildwood Dancing Perhapsimportantly at least from my perspective , this book is not only a 5 star read, but is making me a big fan of two genres that I typically have major issues with and generally don t enjoy reading YA and fantasy.Marillier blends exotic fantasy with solid writing and creates worlds and characters that I admire and believe in Her heroines are smart, resourceful and independent but still manage LOVED, LOVED, LOVED THIS even better then the first book in the series Wildwood Dancing Perhapsimportantly at least from my perspective , this book is not only a 5 star read, but is making me a big fan of two genres that I typically have major issues with and generally don t enjoy reading YA and fantasy.Marillier blends exotic fantasy with solid writing and creates worlds and characters that I admire and believe in Her heroines are smart, resourceful and independent but still manage to retain their sense of being a young lady with higher goals then merely getting the guy Her heroes are swoon worthy, intelligent, and tough and treat the heroine with respect and admiration mixed with just the right amount of romantic intrigue that a YA reading audience expects This is a clean read, but it s not a dry one Stoyan and Duarte bring plenty of sexy banter and romantic tension to the inevitable love triangle aspect of the story, and it s a good writer that can make the reader want both of them to capture our heroine Paula s pronounced Pow la s hand and heart at the end.But Cybele s Secret is so muchthen just a romance In fact, the romance element really takes a back seat to the unfolding drama of the fantasy There s deception, a treasure hunt, a mythical quest and a trial by fire that all our main characters will have to prove themselves by The last 3 chapters are non stop nail biters I literally couldn t put the book down until the end In addition, Marillier takes the reader on an armchair tour of the historic city of Istanbul, Turkey, with all it s rich and exotic east meets west cultural backdrop.If you enjoyed Wildwood Dancing, you won t be disappointed in this second installment in the series And there are some pretty tantalizing clues that the third book in the trilogy is going to be just as fantastic as the first two Count me in for the ride, I can t wait to see what adventures little Stela is going to get up to and how she will hopefully bring about a reunion for all five sisters in the other kingdom Extra kudos to the mind blowing cover illustrator for both books in this series These are, without a doubt, some of the most beautiful and intricately designed book covers I have even seen Take a long look at the illustration and you will find many details from the storyline The artist put so many hidden gems into the cover that I found myself going back again and again to study it, and ended up findingandthings I had missed earlier An absolute treat for the eyes I don t think Juliet Marillier wants me to get any sleep.When I read Wildwood Dancing, the accompanying first volume in this series, I ended up staying up quite late to finish the book, something I ve almost never done as an adult I can count on one hand the number of times Well, true to form, book 2 also left me stifling a late night yawn with one hand, and flipping pages with the other The book is well written throughout, but when Paula is in Istanbul, it starts to drag just a little bit I don t think Juliet Marillier wants me to get any sleep.When I read Wildwood Dancing, the accompanying first volume in this series, I ended up staying up quite late to finish the book, something I ve almost never done as an adult I can count on one hand the number of times Well, true to form, book 2 also left me stifling a late night yawn with one hand, and flipping pages with the other The book is well written throughout, but when Paula is in Istanbul, it starts to drag just a little bit But just at the moment I felt slightly restless, the book shifted into high gear about midway through and became impossible to put down.I especially enjoyed this book due to the way I could personally relate to the protagonist However, I still feel that the first book in the series has a slight edge in my estimation of it, and is a little bit better written in general Perhaps this is because Marillier utilizes the two big handsome men vie for the attentions of the lady who never knew she was beautiful plot for this booka plot that is featured in nearly every historical Christian romance I read as a teen, and of which I ve had my fill for a lifetime Whenever I pick up a sequel book, I m always hesitant, fearing the book simply won t be as good as the first one Thankfully, Cybele s Secret lives up to the standards set by Wildwood Dancing All the charm and wonder of Wildwood Dancing is here, and Marillier expertly builds on the magical framework she established in the first book, this time weaving in pagan cults and pirates Unlike Wildwood Dancing, Cybele s Secret doesn t build off of any particular fairy tale, but instead uses the trials Whenever I pick up a sequel book, I m always hesitant, fearing the book simply won t be as good as the first one Thankfully, Cybele s Secret lives up to the standards set by Wildwood Dancing All the charm and wonder of Wildwood Dancing is here, and Marillier expertly builds on the magical framework she established in the first book, this time weaving in pagan cults and pirates Unlike Wildwood Dancing, Cybele s Secret doesn t build off of any particular fairy tale, but instead uses the trials the Other Kingdom likes to set as the basis for an entirely unique tale.The description alone is reason to pick up this book Marillier lays out Istanbul in wonderful detail and vivid color I like to get a glimpse into other cultures in my reading, at least when the author does it well A good mix of the new and familiar can help the reader experience a place they ve never been This means using colloquial phrases and foreign words in the correct balance just enough to give the flavor, without making the reader flip to a glossary ever five minutes And of course, things need to be clear in context.I m betting most readers of Wildwood Dancing are eagerly awaiting this book It s just as good as you re hoping, except when it comes to the release date American fans will need to buy the book online from Australia or wait until Fall of 2008 in order to get their hands on a copy I m not sure why it s been delayed so long, but reading an Australian copy isn t hard, the only real differences and you ll probably have noticed the differences if you ve read any English language books published outside the US are that you only get single quotes for dialogue and some oddly spelled words.This is one of those sequels that stars a character who was minor in the first book Paula was certainly in Wildwood, but as the younger sister of the main character, and her impact on the story was minimal So this book builds off of the world and family relationships established in Wildwood, but it can also stand on its own All of what the reader needs to know about the girls earlier adventures in the Other Kingdom is recounted throughout the novel In some ways, though, I think this might be an easier book to give to friends that you want to read Wildwood Dancing The first relies a lot on magic, faeries, and the Other Kingdom, where as this book is muchabout mystery and intrigue, with the Other Kingdom as simply an instigator The cover is once again beautiful and filled with hidden secrets Like with Wildwood, I often found myself flipping back to the cover asthings became clear Like many pieces of art, the cover tells a story of its own I would be enchanted by it if I happened to come across it as a painting in a gallery Overall, this book was everything I hoped it would be I finished in two nights silly day life keeping me away from reading and was enthralled the entire time From beginning to end, the tale is artfully woven with hints and intrigues Looking at a few fan reactions on Marillier s message board, some saw plot twists coming, while others were as surprised as I was I like to think I got all the plot twists at just the right moment early enough to go I figured out what s happening next with a gleeful giggle, not but not early enough that anything seemed predictable I was terribly disappointed with this book I got the impression that the author spent a lot of time and thinking on Wildwood Dancing, but she had neither of these to spare for Cybele s Secret 1 We were constantly told that Paula was super smart What we saw was that she was a bit of a ninny At one point, Paula the heroine s father is severely beaten and left unconscious in an alley Paula believes she knows exactly who did such a heinous act So what does she do She leaves her bodyguard b I was terribly disappointed with this book I got the impression that the author spent a lot of time and thinking on Wildwood Dancing, but she had neither of these to spare for Cybele s Secret 1 We were constantly told that Paula was super smart What we saw was that she was a bit of a ninny At one point, Paula the heroine s father is severely beaten and left unconscious in an alley Paula believes she knows exactly who did such a heinous act So what does she do She leaves her bodyguard behind, and goes off to confront the evil man alone On board his ship Armed with phrases in the family of how dare you and nothingApparently, in Paula s superior scholarly mind, a woman can nag a villain into see ing the error of his ways 2 a Other reviewers seem to really like Marillier s descriptions of Istanbul I don t agree It seems Istanbul is a very closed society, run on strict religious Muslim lines Except, the only people Paula ever meets and some of these are super powerful people are Europeans At one point, the author even lists some of the most influential people in Istanbul These are a Genoese trader, a Greek lady and another European of non Muslim descent The heroine seems to have met NO Turks and NO Muslims To be fair, I gave up after getting 60% through The heroine should have been dead after nagging a bad guy anyway b In another incident, Paula discusses Janissaries with Murat Upon learning how brutal the system is, Paula says so And Murat replies with something like, this is a city full of secrets Except everything he just told her was a matter of public record and general knowledge However, I suppose it s important to make The East secretive Because, otherwise, those Easterners may seem just like Us PS I suppose I should just note that while it is true that Jannisaries were taken from Christian families until the 17th century, historians don t think they were castrated and made into faceless storm troopers Janissaries were allowed to own wealth, position and also allowed to marry c We are repeatedly told that there are no women on the streets of Istanbul Because Muslim women don t leave the harem Except, we already know that Istanbul had large populations of non Muslims, and Europeans Even today, the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox church is in Istanbul This story was taking place before there was an independent Greece But apparently, these women didn t venture out either Harems were real, I know But harems existed in rich households Poor women went out into the streets to work That s just life That was how life was in Medieval Europe as well Rich ladies travelled in litters and with retinue Poor women walked from their home to their place of employment So, sure, maybe Paula didn t see many ladies of rank on the street, but Paula herself was a trader s daughter, no matter how rich, she would have smelled of the shop to any ladies of rank in her native lands and here 3 WHEN IS THIS SERIES TAKING PLACE In Book 1, we are told that Transalvania is under Ottoman rule still, so I m thinking, before the 18th century.But they eat a porridge of cornmeal bk 1 , so it s after the New World is discovered and Istanbul is ruled by Turks so after 1453 But then, the Jannisaries are still taken from Christian families so before the 17th century So I imagine Transalvania would still be quite feudal Then, is it ok for Paula to continue her sappy relationship with a peasant born hired gun I d find it quite unacceptable.In this book, I am given a wealth of ideas on how awfully closed and stratified Turkish society was without me ever encountering a living Turk , but how about Transalvanian society Would a woman who grew up in a castle, not a noble, but a very wealthy land owner in a feudal society not know how to deal with servants because she s not used to them Really 4 What was the story again Paula goes to Istanbul stays cooped up visits a suspiciously know it all, interfering lady gets visions of her sister, Tati attracts two men In the background is a goddess from times of yore There must be something else happening to make it all seem do or die, but that was all lost somewhere between her bodyguard s lectures and her pirate s intellectual chess playing I was so close to giving this book 1 star because I started to dislike it so much towards the end But no, I reserve one star for books that have horrid sentence structure, improper grammar, and just poor story crafting skills This book has no issues in terms of those three things.However, I did not like this book It was okay, but I can t say I liked it The plot was too contrived I was not engaged The mystery and intrigue about the artifact wasn t interesting enough I didn t care about it I was so close to giving this book 1 star because I started to dislike it so much towards the end But no, I reserve one star for books that have horrid sentence structure, improper grammar, and just poor story crafting skills This book has no issues in terms of those three things.However, I did not like this book It was okay, but I can t say I liked it The plot was too contrived I was not engaged The mystery and intrigue about the artifact wasn t interesting enough I didn t care about it, why should I She gave me no reason to care if we found it or not, other than that was their purpose There wasn t enough importance to Cybele Who cares There was no reason to It didn t affect any character at all Poor motivation for the entire plotline of the story.The characters were okay, but rather bland There was no twist or turn to their personality Of course Paula is a scholar and she proves it Stoyan of course he has depths and a intuitive mind, rather than just being a muscled body guard Of course Duarte isthan just the rakish pirate It bores me to death There was no spark in any of their interaction Paual s voice wasn t exceptional either It really almost just felt like Jena s except with ascholarly take I think Marillier is weakest in dialogue The words feel fake, the interactions don t seem real There is no hidden intention or subtlety Every character says exactly what is on their mind It gives everything a very 2 D feel The romance was too obvious I felt like there was no spark between the characters There is no tension, no tug or push and pull It was just boring.I also figured out the big reveal very early on as well, which made the story infinitelyboring The father character was worthless except as a prop and an excuse to get Paula to Istanbul The tasks are ridiculous, just like Wildwood Dancing There is no purpose to them beyond that fairy tales have them and they are expected It is too easy to get past these stupid tests It is like Marillier has a preconceived notion of what should happen in a fairy tale novel and just inserts in random tasks and challenges just so It says it tests for courage and faith and all that crap, but honestly Not really The characters breeze through the tests and trials in mere paragraphs Ugh.The ending sucked What a disappointment It s also like Marillier crams all the romance into the last 1 8 of the book Everything is resolved except the romance It pisses me off, really It makes things so muchannoying when a book ends on finding true love when the entire book wasn t even really about true love And why the heck do these strong women always waste away from true love It s like it s a necessity in her books Ugh.I had to push through to finish I almost wanted to drop the book halfway.What I do like the world building She writes the backdrop of the story well You can see the marketplace, the baths, the library It s barely enough for me to hang on 1.75 stars if that s possible I guess 2 stars because I m not really on a 0.25 scale Recommended for people who read Wildwood Dancing and really want to finish the series Not recommended for people who want a gripping book Sorry if you are both types This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Oh goddd I wanted to like this book , for Katie s sake, but I just couldn t do it The whole thing with Stoyan was just so awkward that I couldn t bear it Right from the start I kept a little running tally in my head of all the Moments between Paula and Duarte Stoyan, even though I knew she d go for Stoyan in the end because he s the faithful, decent bloke And therein lies the problem I didn t like Stoyan I m not a fan of muscley men to begin with, but Paula never shut up about how b Oh goddd I wanted to like this book , for Katie s sake, but I just couldn t do it The whole thing with Stoyan was just so awkward that I couldn t bear it Right from the start I kept a little running tally in my head of all the Moments between Paula and Duarte Stoyan, even though I knew she d go for Stoyan in the end because he s the faithful, decent bloke And therein lies the problem I didn t like Stoyan I m not a fan of muscley men to begin with, but Paula never shut up about how big he was, etc etc, so that by the end of the book I was picturing this enormous man with a tiny head asldkjfh it ruined the book for me, okay.I didn t like the plot much either The Other Kingdom felt like an excuse for it s magic, therefore it doesn t have to make sense What was up with the woman in black and the tapestry of the dancing sisters Tati s role could have been chopped out, she was that useful Also, there s no real closure to that at the end Cybele s gift is given back to the mountain people, but there s nothing about the sisters seeing Tati again They just know and hope she ll find a way now that her quest is complete Um, right The trials that Paula, Stoyan and Duarte have to go through in the mountain felt completely random That scene where Paula has to stand on Stoyan s head while he punts a boat around a lake so she can collect insects on her body I just I don t even know what to say I very nearly put the book down at that point |FREE PDF ♨ Cybele's Secret ♷ 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 cultBut 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 secretMeanwhile, 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 T.S. Eliot Und Ezra Pound Im Dialog Mit Dante: Die Divina Commedia in Der Modernen Lyrik 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 Sacagawea Speaks: Beyond the Shining Mountains with Lewis and Clark Cybele Androgen Deprivation Therapy: An Essential Guide for Prostate Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones, Second Edition to her followers It s the only remnant of a lost Mörder ohne Gesicht pagan cultBut 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 Before the Law signs have begun to appear to Paula في ظلال القرآن urging her to unlock Cybele s secretMeanwhile Through the Glass Paula doesn t know who she can trust in Istanbul The Storm and finds herself drawn to two very different men As time begins to run out Geheimes Verlangen Paula realizes they may all be tied up in the destiny of Cybele s Gift Anandha Vikatan Pokisham and she must solve the puzzle before unknown but deadly enemies catch up to her While not as spectacular and engrossing as Wildwood Dancing, this second installment in the series was still very enjoyable to me, and is on the whole athan correct follow up After this, I m starting to think Marillier has a couple of authorial quirks she would gain much from if improved on her tendency to write dramatic love triangles, that thankfully don t wander into full blown soap opera melodrama, to be fair, so for the most part can be taken as just peculiarities of her storytellin While not as spectacular and engrossing as Wildwood Dancing, this second installment in the series was still very enjoyable to me, and is on the whole athan correct follow up After this, I m starting to think Marillier has a couple of authorial quirks she would gain much from if improved on her tendency to write dramatic love triangles, that thankfully don t wander into full blown soap opera melodrama, to be fair, so for the most part can be taken as just peculiarities of her storytelling style and another that s wayirksome she really, but really, really needs to besubtle with her villains and antagonists She writes them in such a manner that it s clear as daylight they re the baddies or the rotten apples I can t name one single book of hers whose villain antagonist I haven t been able to identify in the first or second chapter And this book was no different, I knew straight away that view spoiler Irene of Volos hide spoiler was no good in spite of appearances It is one permanent element of her books that bothers me the most, for there is no surprise, no mind games, no larger than life baddies, because hers are always rather simple and with little layering.Nonetheless, I m quite satisfied with the conclusion of the arc in this book, and I do hope Juliet Marillier is planning to continue and doesn t stop here, because if felt like there s still a lot to tell and that the story of the five dancing sisters isn t over in the least There s still threads hanging loose and unanswered questions, like when will Tati finally return from the Other Kingdom after earning the right to visit, and whether the younger sister, Stela, will be able to attain her heart s desire and return to see her friends in the other world I picked this book up mainly because of its beautiful cover When I opened it up I was very disappointed to find out this was actually the sequel but as I started reading it, I realized that you don t need to know anything about the previous book at all It can stand up very well for itself.You know I m going to say it, and this is very rare, but I absolutely loved this book It was just the kick I needed Cybele s Secret is a mesh of awesome adventure, fantasy, romance, and excellent writing I picked this book up mainly because of its beautiful cover When I opened it up I was very disappointed to find out this was actually the sequel but as I started reading it, I realized that you don t need to know anything about the previous book at all It can stand up very well for itself.You know I m going to say it, and this is very rare, but I absolutely loved this book It was just the kick I needed Cybele s Secret is a mesh of awesome adventure, fantasy, romance, and excellent writing I was so entranced by it that I just couldn t put it down.The characters were totally cool I really loved the stoic bodyguard, Stoyan, that was hired to protect her But don t be mistaken, she s not those passive, weak characters that can t fend for herself or is ruled by the male presence Paula is smart, quick witted, and is not afraid to get into the down and dirty of things Sure, at first, she may seem a bit off putting because she s stubborn but it helps the story grow and develop.I loved the fact that it was set in Istanbul, which was a refreshing change from so other stories The culture and festive atmosphere sparkled vibrantly with life and color The adventure quest half of the book was excellently done as well, keeping me on the edge of my seat.Even if the story is a tad bit clich in some areas, it still keeps you guessing, and eager to turn the pages It helps that the writing is a delight to read as well Beautiful descriptions that isn t overdone The ending of the book got kind of mushy but it s the ending you can t be unhappy with.Other reviews have stated that this style of book is similar to Patricia McKillip s later books, and lucky for me, I have Alphabet of Thorn somewhere in my to read stack I m so excited to dive into that one too As soon I finished this book I wanted to read it again Loved it This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here It was an interesting read I was compelled to get through it but I wouldn t say it was great The whole thing with Stoyan why The book felt so contradictory, on the one hand you had the scholar Paula who is this forward thinking, brainy, almost feminist woman, who travels all the way to Istanbul and ends up acting as her fathers assistant in a society where there are huge inequality issues with women, and then as the book progressed she seemed to become less like this andlikeNo man It was an interesting read I was compelled to get through it but I wouldn t say it was great The whole thing with Stoyan why The book felt so contradictory, on the one hand you had the scholar Paula who is this forward thinking, brainy, almost feminist woman, who travels all the way to Istanbul and ends up acting as her fathers assistant in a society where there are huge inequality issues with women, and then as the book progressed she seemed to become less like this andlikeNo man has ever looked after me before and weepy and really quite stupid I liked herat the beginning than I did by the end which was quite unusual.And why oh why didn t she choose Duarte I thought there might still be a chance until she told him about the other kingdom and he scoffed at the idea Stoyan was such an awful character though I couldn t really get a feel for him after from him being very tall, serious and solemn Duarte was so muchcolourful, so muchlikeable I was genuinely disappointed when I saw the direction the story was taking The Cybele thing was quite interesting A bit strange I found Irene a great character I didn t trust her from the start I thought she was developed quite nicely and by the end I found myself kind of intrigued by her whole existance.and as for Tati sighI expect that will all be wrapped up in Stela s book One can only hope