To my surprise, I actually enjoyed Cybele’s Secret more than Wildwood Dancing. The main problem I had with Wildwood Dancing was the predictability, and maybe the tortuous way everything went wrong, and so the pacing… For the most part, Cybele’s Secret was better, in that respect. I didn’t figure out the whole plot in the first fifty pages as I did with Wildwood Dancing, so it didn’t drag so much for me — and when it got to the last part, I was hooked, toes curling with excitement, grinning like an idiot: the lot.
My main criticism of Cybele’s Secret is how very, very similar Paula’s tone was to Jena’s. The two sisters are alike, but… Not so alike, I’d thought. I might have been reading the same narrator, though, or so it seemed to me… And the separation of Paula and her father, the way she got on the ship… Once she was on the ship, she acted in character, but there was nothing level-headed about going to confront a man she believed to be violent, unscrupulous and cruel. I didn’t believe that as something she would do. Which is unfortunate, because part of the plot hinged on that.
I predicted who would be following them, too, and even how she would end, so it still didn’t keep me on my toes — but the feeling of utter familiarity wasn’t there.
It’s hard to say, after that, what I did like so much. Duarte and Stoyan, mainly. I believed in both their characters, and in their different loves for Paula. And I believed in her affection for them. The end made me smile a lot.