Monday, August 3, 2015

Dreamer's Pool (Blackthorn & Grim #1) by Juliet Marillier

Synopsis: 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.

My thoughts: wow, long time since I last posted something here… but here we go.

This one has everything that a celtic, mythic afficionato – such as myself – would have loved, plus a strong headed woman with a dark past as protagonist. However, as incredible as it sound, although I liked it, it doesn’t stand among my favorite books.

I’m not familiar with the other novels from this author, though I have friends who read it already and love it with all their hearts. Indeed it is a fine, fluid reading with suspense, adventure, magic, tales, a bit of comedy and a tiny bit of romance as well, but it didn’t capture me as I thought it would, in the same way The Night Circus did, or even close to it.

I loved Blackthorn. She is a strong willed woman, who, against all odd, is trapped in a promise to stay seven years without seeking revenge for the man who imprisoned her in the first place. The book starts with her incarcerated in the lock up of this same man.

Grim was a joy. He really does remind you of a guard dog, watching his beloved master, even when she snaps at him. I even thought that perhaps they could be together, but I’m glad that they didn’t: not all books need to end with a couple. I even thought that Blackthorn would stay with Prince Oran, but again that would be unlikely: firstly because she hates royalty – although she trusts in the prince – and secondly because after all she’s been through is not in her nature anymore to have an amorous relationship with anyone. Yes, she loves Grim, because he stood by her even when she didn’t want him to, but that is a friendly love.

Prince Oran got in my nerves, and that’s a first ladies and gentlemen. Usually I fall head over hills for the good guy – although Donagan or Grim were good guys too – especially if he’s a prince, but he is so blind and so damn full that I couldn’t put myself to like him enough. And don’t even get me started on Lady Flidias: I’m not a fan of the all smoochy lovey-dovey thing, but I’d rather have that one than the bitch that she became! (But to know why she became a bitch, you have to read the book)

The cover is amazing, reminds me of a painting about a Shakespearian character: Orphelia, I believe her name is. And the sequel book cover is absolutely beautiful. I have to confess that the cover was one of the reasons I bought it. It brings magic right at the cover.

Also, I liked the Scottish references in the names of the characters, as well as in the tales and myths that surround the story: Scotland, as well as Ireland, are famous for their fairytales and magical worlds. In general, I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t feel that sadness that usually overcomes you when you finish reading THE book. It was more a feeling of “very well… that’s finished… what’s next?” sort of thing :P. But I’m really interested in the second novel – especially because of the cover.


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