Paula, the family scholar with dreams of owning her own book-selling business, is travelling with her father to Istanbul to help him obtain an ancient religious artifact called Cybele’s Gift. While they realize their journey could be dangerous, they have no idea what truly awaits them. When they arrive in Istanbul, they find that their close friend, and their link to Cybele, has been murdered. Undeterred, Paula and her father hire the guard Stoyan for extra protection but still seek Cybele, and they are not the only ones. The dastardly pirate Duarte da Costa Aguiar also has his sights set on Cybele. Misplaced trust, rumor, and treachery help set in motion a quest for the three, Paula, Stoyan, and Duarte, put upon them by the Otherworld. Paula is not so unfamiliar with the Otherworld having spent a lot of time their as a child, and while she realizes that she must fulfill her quest she is not so certain why they have been sent on the quest or whether she will be strong enough or wise enough to complete the tasks set before them.
Reaction: Cybele’s Secret was a really enjoyable fantasy read. The setting was richly detailed. Paula was feisty but flawed. Stoyan was almost too perfect but I couldn’t help but fall in love with him a bit and I have a soft spot for charming pirates, so of course I loved Duarte. I thought the first half of the book moved a bit slowly and the second half read like an Indiana Jones movie–steep, rocky climbs, rickety rope bridges, hidden passages, caves with creepy crawlies. Even the main treasure room had me thinking of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or maybe it was more Pirates of the Carribean. Either way, it seemed a bit over the top. While I believe I enjoyed Jena’s story in Wildwood Dancing better than Paula’s, I look forward to reading more from the talented Marillier. I do believe younger sister Stela needs a story.
Previously, as mentioned: Wildwood Dancing. Cybele’s Secret is a “companion novel” to Wildwood Dancing because it takes place six years after the first and is set in a completely different location.
Covers!: You know I’m a sucker for a wonderful cover and I LOOOVVVEEEEE the covers to both Cybele’s Secret and Wildwood Dancing. Beautiful! The images I found of them do not do them justice–they’re a bit blurry. Oh, well. I hope you check them out in person. Also, this item is going on my Christmas list.