Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

"I ached to stand on tiptoes and kiss his cheek, to give him a hug, to tell him without words that I was sorry. To say that if I did one worthwhile thing in my life, it would be going to Laois and seeing Mathuin brought to justice, and that I had to take the chance Flannan had offered. And that I was leaving him behind, not because I did not want him, but because, in the long run, he would be so much better off without me. But if I touched him I would cry, and he would decide he couldn't go to St. Olcan's after all, and I wouldn't be able to get away without him." (p. 335)


Series: Blackthorn & Grim, Book 2


In this second installment of the Blackthorn and Grim series, expert storyteller Juliet Marillier has once again woven an enchanting tale of fairy-tale magic, love, and feminine strength. Despite being part of a series, this novel also can be read as a stand-alone piece.

Blackthorn's tortured past came to light in the last installment, but here, we finally get to experience Grim's tragic history. This tale is as much an exploration of Grim's personal growth as it is a tale of Blackthorn's quest to save the people of Bann from the devastating effects of the monster's presence in the Tower of Thorns. In a third point of view from the Lady of Bann, Geiléis, a magical backstory is slowly pieced together, keeping the reader guessing as much as the protagonists as to how the monster came to occupy the tower and why its deafening scream is tearing apart this land.

Compared to the first novel in the series, Dreamer's Pool, Tower of Thorns gets off to a slower start. It is not until mid-book that the story becomes the riveting tale that one would expect from Marillier; additionally, Blackthorn's obsession with childhood friend Master Flannan's plot becomes exceedingly tiresome, hence, the rating of 4/5 stars. I urge you to push beyond the first half of the book and I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Audience: Adult
Recommended for fans of: fantasy, fairy-tales
Trigger warnings: violence, death

Publisher's Synopsis:

Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalraida 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.

A noblewoman asks for the prince of Dalraida's help in expelling a creature who threatens the safety and sanity of all who live nearby from an old tower on her land--one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. With no ready solutions to offer, the prince consults Blackthorn and Grim.

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


Purchased copy

©Roc Fantasy: September 29, 2015
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
385 pages

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