Monday, December 14, 2015

Tower of Thorns (Blackthorn & Grim #2) by Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier writes fantasy that makes for a great transition from early teen fantasy into adult fantasy.  She combines an alternate Ireland and mythical tales with contemporary issues.  For this, her second Blackthorn and Grim novel, the theme of PTSD continues.  Blackthorn, a wise woman who survived the murders of her husband and child, then a cruel imprisonment by a sadistic King, and her companion Grim--also a victim of King Mathuin, find themselves in Dalriada, quietly tending to the community and trying to find some peace.  Blackthorn is still under the edict of the fey, and must help everyone who asks her for help for seven years.  Only then is she free to take revenge on Mathuin.  

Blackthorn and Grim reluctantly leave their home to travel with the Prince of Dalriada and his pregnant wife to another village, and there they meet Lady Geileis and hear her tale.  Lady Geileis has traveled from her village to ask for help in ending a curse that has taken a toll on the land and her people. A creature lives in a tower surrounded by impassable gnarled hedges of thorns, and every day this creature sends out howls that are driving everyone mad and slowly killing the land.  Just what or who is this creature, and how is it tied to Lady Geileis?  She's not telling the whole story.  And yet, Blackthorn must help end the curse.  

Meanwhile, a friend from the past reenters Blackthorn's life, and gives her an opportunity to exact revenge on King Mathuin.  Does she take the chance and leave Grim, who has only shown kindness and love towards Blackthorn?  Dare she defy the fey, give in to her desire for revenge, and run away?  

This is the second novel I've read of Juliet Marillier, and I am happy to say she's a definite go to author when I want to read some fantasy.  Her characters certainly grow and develop as the plot moves along, and her storytelling compels you to keep moving towards the end.  Her characters are not perfect, and most of the time are vulnerable to their worst human qualities:  revenge, anger, jealousy.  But each has so many good qualities that you keep hoping good will win out.  I would say this author is comparable to Kristin Britain in writing style and storytelling.  Both mingle ancient myths and legends, entertaining characters, and a plot line that will satisfy your fantasy sweet tooth.  

Thank you to Penguin/Random House for a review copy of this novel.  Can't wait to read more in this series, and read through Juliet's backlist titles.  If you'd like to check out Dreamer's Pool I wrote a review on it in September, 2014.  

Rating:  7/10 for a satisfactory second novel in a new series that explores love lost, curses, and betrayal.  And the cover is gorgeous!

Available in hardcover, audio, and e-book.  


  1. I really enjoyed the first and look forward to this one. I like Blackthorn as a person, and want to know more about her. Like you, I'm also a big fan of Marillier - thanks for the heads up on this book!

    1. She's an author I kept staring at on the shelves at my bookstore for years and finally had the opportunity to read her. Now I'm a fan!

  2. This sounds quite good. Thanks! The last fantasy I read was Song Before Night by debut author Ilana C Myer. I had high hopes from the reviews but was a bit disappointed. Irish myths sound good.

    1. Judy I like Juliet's novels because they are a good place to start if you're new to fantasy. She's a good writer and tells a good story!