This mesmerizing variation of a popular fairy tale provides an exquisite combination of fantasy and mystery, and continues to explore two deeply scarred individuals who epitomize a struggle between positive and negative motivations. The artistry with which this author is able to present the conflict between acting for selfish motives and the difference that perspective makes on how things are judged never ceases to amaze me.
The story starts with a low-key lyrical but quickly chilling description and escalates with increasing momentum as the events and days play out and the deadline approaches. The juxtaposition of the wonder of dealing with the fey, the deliberate blindness of those who refuse to believe, and the harsh events—past and present—that continue to shape the various characters provide rich texture to a story that is ostensibly predictable yet has its own unexpected twists. I love that more of Grim’s background is finally revealed and the contrast between the concept of him being a stolid and unemotional man and the revelations of his inner character is quite satisfying. This is a tale that weaves its own spell over the reader, so prepare to be occupied for quite some time and plan accordingly before opening the cover!
“Tower of Thorns” by Juliet Marillier is part of the ‘Blackthorn and Grim Novel’ series and follows the oddly-matched pair as they deal with a series of tasks that gradually become more intensely challenging than anticipated. Each of them will have to confront issues from the past and decide how that will affect the future, but the skewed information that they are receiving from various sources may fatally handicap them.
Award-winning author Juliet Marillier’s “lavishly detailed”* Blackthorn & Grim series continues as a mysterious creature holds an enchanted and imperiled ancient Ireland in thrall.
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.