Book Review: Cybele’s Secret (Juliet Marillier)
Cybele’s Secret is a fantasy novel by critically acclaimed author Juliet Marillier. Cybele’s Secret focuses on Paula, the daughter of a famous merchant, traveling to Istanbul with her father in search of the mysterious Cybele’s Gift. It’s not all smooth sailing [pun intended] unfortunately; before Paula and her father have even reached the monstrous city Paula is robbed by Duarte de Costa Aguiar, an infamous pirate.
When they reach Istanbul, they learn of the death of one of their friends. Paula hires the muscular Stoyan as her bodyguard and that is where the fun begins. No stranger to mystical powers, having traveled to The Other Kingdom as a child every month, Paula discovers secrets pointing her towards the location of Cybele’s Gift in Irene – a renowned Greek female scholar – of Volos’ library. Paula also notices a strange woman wearing a tattered black cloak following her. What could this all mean?
I found Cybele’s Secret to be a very slow novel at the beginning, but towards the middle and end it became fast-paced and impossible to stop reading. I enjoyed the progression the character’s underwent, especially Irene and Duarte. The plot was thick and left me guessing to the last chapter.
Marillier has done a good job in constructing this novel, although it could have been better. Overall, I didn’t think this book was overly impressive, despite an impressive plot and great characters. I would’ve appreciated more explanation into the mystical beings that appeared at various times as they seemed to be quite random. The ending seemed to be dragged on for far too long as well.
Nevertheless, Cybele’s Secret was a good read.