Book Review: Cybele’s Secret

Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
Cybele’s Secret (Wildwood, #2) 
by Juliet Marillier

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Paula travels with her merchant father to Istanbul, hoping to acquire a religious artifact of rare and precious value. There is fierce competition for the artifact, and unscrupulous merchants will use violence to get their hands on it. Paula’s father hires a bodyguard, Stoyan, to keep his daughter safe on the dangerous streets. Paula befriends a wayward pirate captain, Duarte, hoping to get information from him about the artifact. The powers from the Other Kingdom send Paula on a quest, to retrieve the artifact, to unravel the riddles surrounding its history, and to learn from her perilous voyage the meaning of love and friendship.

My heart is too full! I can barely think, my mind is still reeling with all the complex details of the story. I have cried and laughed and clutched the book with white knuckles. What a journey! My heart just went on a rollercoaster ride, and I am still gasping for breath.
The plot is entrancing! The adventure and puzzles and riddles kept me guessing and wondering and full of suspense. There is so much action and chaotic commotion with everything in jeopardy for our characters. I could barely put the book down!

I loved Paula’s character. She is perfection in every way. She is weak and strong, smart and foolish, passionate, kind, and full of fear and courage, all in wonderful balance that pushes her character development forward.
I adore Stoyan and Duarte too! They are both so different, but adorable and strong and compassionate. They both have good hearts, and I was swept away in every encounter that Paula had with them.

Even the supporting characters are wonderful! There is one very minor supporting character who only has a few scenes, and barely speaks three lines of dialogue, but when he died I was crying. I was so upset and emotional about this character who has a tiny part in the story, and yet, the incredible writing made me love him with just a few sentences. Now THAT is excellent writing!

I love the gorgeous and mystic Turkish setting of Istanbul during the Ottoman empire. It was really lovely to see prim European Paula experiencing the sights and sounds and smells of a new culture in a new city. It’s the perfect backdrop for a mystical story.

I love the riddles and puzzles, and the myths and magic of the Other Kingdom! It’s all woven together so beautifully. I wish I could give this 10 stars!

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