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Cybele's Secret Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 9, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037583365X
  • ASIN: B002N2XEFG
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,763,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—Several years have passed since the passageway to the Other Kingdom closed for the five sisters introduced in Wildwood Dancing (Knopf, 2007). Two are married with children, and Tati still has not been seen since she followed her true love into the other world. Cybele's Secret is told by scholarly Paula. Following an accident, she is required to travel with her father to Istanbul in order to assist him in procuring a mysterious religious artifact. Upon their arrival, it becomes clear that there are many who desire Cybele's Gift; not only is the artifact valuable and viewed as a good-luck charm, but also a new cult that practices ritual sacrifice to Cybele is rumored. Soon Paula embarks on a quest to an unfamiliar part of the Other Kingdom. At stake are the life and happiness of her sister, the unfulfilled debt of a friend, and the possibility of true love. Although the fantastical elements of this tale are brief until the last quarter of the book, the plot holds together, providing a sufficient complement to Wildwood Dancing. Paula is not featured extensively in the first book, and although her fierce independence, intellect, and physical attributes are similar to those of the previous narrator, Jena, it is still a pleasure to hear her voice. The Turkish culture is well researched and skillfully incorporated, bringing a richness to the scene in which the plot effortlessly arcs.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Adult-market fantasist Marillier enlarged her teen following with her first YA novel, Wildwood Dancing (2007), about five Transylvanian sisters with ties to the mercurial Other Kingdom. In this honeyed draught of a companion novel, bookish, 17-year-old Paula travels to Istanbul to assist her father in delicate negotiations for Cybele’s Gift, a pagan totem raising a hue and cry among the city’s Muslim clerics. Every bidder risks danger, so Paula and her father hire a bodyguard, Stoyan, who gradually becomes an active partner in Paula’s efforts to decipher portents from the Other Kingdom—a plotline predicated on the first book’s fairy world building but readily accessible to newcomers. Marillier embroiders Ottoman Empire cultural details into every fold and drape of her story, which also interweaves pirates, eunuchs, hidden currents of feminine power, and turbulent journeys across sea and land. Not every thread is neatly knotted, with slow-burning questions about Stoyan’s long-lost brother and Paula’s exiled sister are too hastily dispatched. Of greater importance to teens, though, will be Paula’s determination to be more than merely “curves and smiles, blushes and modest speech,” and her incremental, often-muddled acknowledgment of her deepening feelings for earthy, solid Stoyan. Teens who didn’t know Marillier when they started this sandalwood-scented adventure will rapidly place her alongside the likes of romantic-fantasy idols Shannon Hale and Sharon Shinn. Grades 7-10. --Jennifer Mattson

Customer Reviews

Action, adventure, fantasy and most of all a wonderful romance, this book has it all.
HHK
Hoping very much for a third book in the series...although I'll be satisfied with whatever Marillier comes up with next, so long as it's soon!
Colleen Chen
I didn't like the way Paula turned out, even though I liked her character well enough in Wildwood Dancing- which was FANTASTIC by the way.
Telichan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Janeifer Drew on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I loved "Wildwood Dancing", so I was thrilled when I saw that Juliet Marillier was writing a sequel (or companion) to it. The main character this time is Paula. We don't see too much of the other sisters (Jena, Iulia, or Stela), as Paula leaves them behind to travel with their merchant father to Istanbul as his assistant.

Paula and her father, Teodor, are hoping to purchase a legendary artifact related to the ancient cult of Cybele. The artifact has an air of The Holy Grail to it: nobody is exactly sure what it is, but everybody wants it. They aren't the only merchants in the running, however, and some are not above violence and murder.

Paula, ever the scholar, tries to learn more about Cybele and the mysterious artifact. In Istanbul, where women are hardly allowed out in public, to say nothing of their educations, Paula finds an intellectual sanctuary in the home of Irene of Volos, an influential as well as a respected woman of intellect. It is in Irene's library that Paula receives clues to discovering Cybele's Secret, and the quest she needs to embark upon in order to succeed in her search. Paula finds herself back in the Other Kingdom, where she thought never to return, in a quest filled with eerie dangers and hairbreadth escapes.

As a whole, I really enjoyed "Cybele's Secret". The characters are well-developed, and Paula particularly, is marvelously written. I liked the fact that she wasn't perfect, and didn't try to convince the reader otherwise.

BUT, there is an extremely fine line between brilliant and ridiculous, and Juliet Marillier definitely wavered along it in some parts of this book. Towards the end, things started feeling a little rushed and haphazard.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Angela Thompson VINE VOICE on October 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1), 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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By HHK VINE VOICE on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this amazing book and I have chills on my arms, it is so good. Run and buy this book for you are a woman of any age- Mom or daughter you will love it.

The cast of characters- Paula, Duarte and Stoyan are amazing. I had not previously read Wildwood Dancing, but I had no trouble getting immersed in this story.

Action, adventure, fantasy and most of all a wonderful romance, this book has it all. Paula grows and mature through the course of the story and she has to choose between two very different men. The dashing, erudite and handsome pirate, and the scarred, illiterate farmboy/bodyguard.

OMG, this book defines romance- the growing together of two people through love and trust and of course physical attraction. Straight romance novels focus so much on the physical aspect that true love gets lost by the wayside. This book was so romantic and tender, and set in a wonderfully exotic location of Istanbul.

Please buy it, I promise you won't regret it, even if you are way beyond the YA age group, as I am! I hope we get more books set in this world by this wonderful author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Telichan on January 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was not impressed with Cybele's Secret. I couldn't actually read it through cover to cover (it was that uninspiring) so I read most of it, then skipped to the last two chapters. Honestly, for what it's worth, I LOVE Juliet Marillier. However, this book does not in any way give a clear indication of the true depth and richness of her talents as an author. I didn't like the way Paula turned out, even though I liked her character well enough in Wildwood Dancing- which was FANTASTIC by the way. It was my first introduction to this author, and it was the reason I started to read her other work in the first place. Thus, I was doubly disappointed by this particular story. The characters are glaringly obvious in all their actions, the plot is strange and convoluted, with a distinct departure in style from her previous works. The only parts of the story that I enjoyed were the parts that referenced Wildwood Dancing- with one exception. It might be a bit of a "SPOILER" so be warned: I did not like Tati's involvement in the story. That said, I enjoyed seeing the other sisters married and growing up, and would have loved a little more detail on their lives after the events of the first book.

I suppose Cybele's Secret fell short because it was just so cut and dry- a bit like the Harry Potter Epilogue. Everything seemed to just be exactly as one might expect having read the previous book. And Paula is unfortunately snotty, obnoxious at times, and wholly annoying as a character throughout. If I hear one more word about a "woman's intelligence" or "what women should/shouldn't do" I really will scream.
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