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Dreamer's Pool (Book #1 of The Blackthorn and Grim Series) by Juliet Marillier: A Book Review

Dreamer’s Pool (Book #1 of The Blackthorn and Grim Series)
Author:  Juliet Marillier
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 464
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: 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.

     My Review: Blackthorn, an innocent prisoner, has been freed by a fey nobleman. In return for her freedom she must travel up north to the kingdom of Dalriada and to not seek revenge on the person who has ruined her life. She is accompanied by Grim, a fellow inmate. Together, they try to rebuild their lives by healing the people of Winterfalls. One day, Prince Oran asks for their help. He claims that something is wrong with his soon-to-be bride because she seems to be a different woman than when he was courting her. Blackthorn and Grim begin to look into the mystery and to solve Prince Oran’s problem.

     Blackthorn is an interesting character. She is an emotionally distraught woman. Her heart is so full of anguish that she has turned her heart to hatred and to have a thirst for vengeance. Revenge is her main goal that she does not care what happens to her. However, the penance that she made with the fey nobleman seems to do her some good. For while she still wants revenge, she is beginning to heal spiritually, psychically, and emotionally. She is trying to recover and to have a new start with her life. She is even starting to make friends and to care about others’ well-being. Grim is also a likable character. The book does not mention his past. However, he is caring and loyal. He feels that he needs to protect and take care of Blackthorn. The only main character that I did not like was Prince Oran. He was childish and selfish.

     Overall, this book is about friendship, love, and redemption. The message of this book is to be yourself. While I did like Blackthorn and Grim, I did not really care for the other characters. This book is slow-paced and dragging. I thought that it should have been shortened. I felt this story to be lacking. It did not have any of its magic that I expected from Juliet Marillier. I also felt that the problem was very similar to the other works that she had written. Still, I recommend this to anyone who is interested in historical fantasy and a light story.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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