Friday, December 18, 2015

Book Reviews: Dreamer's Pool & Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

Fantasy, young adult
Publication.Date  November 4th 2014
Published By:  Roc
AuthorJuliet Marillier

Dreamer's Pool Goodreads
My review copy:From the author in exchange for an honest review

Where to get: Amazon: Barnes & Noble


Award-winning author Juliet Marillier "weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page" (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland...

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.


I've never read anything by Marillier, but I've heard such wonderful things about her and her books. I was very lucky to get a copy of this book plus the new sequel to this book from the publisher. Although fantasy is not usually my genre of choice, I immediately felt this book was going to be a favorite and the author did not disappoint.

The story starts out with Blackthorn, who is a lady that has been imprisoned by a evil prince. She is soon granted escape from prison by a fey, in exchange for putting her desire for vengeance aside and offering her services to the people of Dariada. There, with a former prison-mate, named Grim. she will serve as the towns new healer.

Meanwhile, the prince of Dalriada, Oran is getting ready to become betrothed to a lady Flidais, whom he has fallen madly in love with through their letters. An accident in Dreamer's Wood causes one of her maids to drown in Dreamer's Pool, and the lady Flidais does not seem to be the same after the drowning. The prince suspects that there is something wrong with the lady, and enlists Blackthorn and Grim's help in the matter. Something is amiss, and it will take some wit and magic to figure it out.

This book is told from all three points of view which I found very appealing as Oran the prince, burly Grim and angry Blackthorn seem to be very different characters. To tell the story from all points of view, gives the reader the chance to appreciate each one of their plights and points of view.

This book is about Blackthorn, an angry woman who has spent a year in prison for trying to go after a nobleman who has been raping and impregnating innocent woman. But it is also about Grim, a quiet and gruff man who has been quietly serving his sentence for an unknown crime he is said to have committed. Finally it is also about a young prince who believes in romance and dreams and does not have a taste for blood sport and other things that princes should love. This book tells the story of all three of these people, and how their paths intersect.

I loved this book. I love each and every character's story. I think Grim was my favorite as he seemed like the strong and silent type, but was always quick to help. It was obvious to the reader that he had a lot of stories and pain of his own, but he didn't lose focus and seemed to put his history aside to help others.

This felt like my introduction to the fantasy genre and what an amazing introduction it turned out to be.

Fantasy, young adult
Publication.Date  November 3rd 2015
Published By:  Roc>
AuthorJuliet Marillier

Tower of Thorns Goodreads
My review copy:From the author in exchange for an honest review

Where to get: Amazon: Barnes & Noble


Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn’s bond to her fey mentor, hoping to avoid any dire challenges. But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim.

Lady Geiléis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada’s help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land—one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. Casting a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, it threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby. With no ready solutions to offer, the prince consults Blackthorn and Grim.

As Blackthorn and Grim begin to put the pieces of this puzzle together, it’s apparent that a powerful adversary is working behind the scenes. Their quest is about to become a life and death struggle—a conflict in which even the closest of friends can find themselves on opposite sides.


Blackthorn has lost everything. All she has left is a small cottage on the edge of an enchanted forest, her companion Grim and a promise made to the Fae to never turn away someone who asked for her help. So when Lady Geiléis approaches the prince with a tale about an enchanted tower she does everything she can to avoid being asked for help. You see, Blackthorn does not want to get involved in whatever is going on with Lady Gieleis and her home town.

Then an old friend shows up, a friend from the time before, the time she was a different woman and she finds herself agreeing to help Lady Geiléis despite her misgivings. But as she travels north to Tower of Thorns her misgivings turn into suspicions that all is not as it seems. Blackthorn has gotten herself in quite a mystery and she realizes it way too late.

The only person she can trust...the only person who can save her is Grim, but in order to complete the task she will need to push him away.

The second installment of the new Blackthorn and Grim series, could certainly be read as a standalone book. While I loved seeing the two main characters continue to grow and, particularly, address their turbulent pasts, a reader new to the work would comfortably pick up the backstory, as Marillier does an excellent job of giving relevant information along the way. Although I can't wait to read more novels about Blackthorn and Grim, the author doesn't leave you hanging on for more.

Juliet Marillier hooked me in the first book in this novel, "Dreamer's Pool". This novel was just as good as the first book. Blackthorn and Grim are very complex characters that the author has no problem delivering to the reader with gusto!

I can't wait to get my hands on more novels by this author and she has definitely started me on reading everything I can get my hands on in the fantasy genre. Like I needed more books for my TBR!  :) 

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About the Author

Juliet Marillier was born July 27, 1948 in Dunedin, New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Juliet was educated at the University of Otago, where she majored in music and languages, graduating BA and a B Mus (Hons). Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a major influence on her writing.

Juliet is the author of seventeen historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, as well as a book of short fiction. Juliet's novels and short stories have won many awards.

Juliet lives in a 110 year old cottage in a riverside suburb of Perth, Western Australia. She shares her home with a small pack of waifs and strays - she is a foster carer for an animal rescue group. She has four adult children and seven grandchildren. Juliet is a member of the druid order OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.)

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