Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Folklore, Retelling
Format: Kindle Source: Library My Rating: 4.5 Stars
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.
I am so glad that I went ahead and borrowed this from the library. I was held captive from the very first page until the end. It’s a little long, but very much a story worth reading. I can’t wait to read the next book. I wasn’t aware of the folklore that was very apparent here. If I’d known that, I may have read this sooner. I love a retelling of any kind. Though, this is more than a mere retelling of one tale, it’s a multitude of them. The one that stood out the most is the The Goose Girl similarities. I love the way Marillier weaved her own magic into this, and made it unique. I’m sure as the books go on, more will become apparent. Can’t wait!
Blackthorn: So angry. I understand her anger, but at times it ruled her. She was so lost in her anger and grief, that she almost believed the lies. If it were not for Grim, and surprisingly Conmael, she would have went back down South and gotten herself killed. Mathiaun (I’m not sure if it’s spelled correctly), will get what’s coming to him soon enough; I’m sure of it. Blackthorn is also a very wise woman. I love that she is able to still bring that part of herself back to help people in need. There were some she didn’t want to help, but she did anyways. I’d like to think it was her own heart, and not Conmael’s deal.
Conmael: Should this Fey be trusted? So far, he hasn’t harmed Blackthorn. I just know that there’s more to his story than what little we’ve seen. I’m still trying to figure it out as I type this review. What does he need a healer for? He’s Fey, he can use his magic.
Grim: I love this big guy. Not just for his protective side, but because his POV was the simplest. He’s a simple, yet complicated character. I know he has a dark past, but he is one character that I think we can rely on here. I don’t care if he killed a whole fleet of soldiers, his demeanor says to trust. No matter how much Blackthorn tries to say she wants to be alone, she enjoys his company. I don’t want a romantic relationship with them. Everything is fine the way it is.
Prince Oran: My first thought? Punk! Okay, just kidding. He is rather soft for a man of his time. He’s a romantic at heart, and that is what made him realize that something was not quite right with Lady Flidais. However much I didn’t like his POV, it gave credit to the story since there was no POV from Flidais herself.
I love this book. I’m not sure about the 3 POVs, but I made it through just fine. Marillier weaves some great characters into a medieval times period, and adds the right amount of folklore and magic. I was intrigued by the setting and ways of the people more than anything. If you love folklore, magic, or fantasy in general – you will enjoy this book. The pacing goes up and down throughout the story, but it didn’t make me stop. If you’ve read Thorn by Intisar Khanani, then you will love this book. Or if you’ve read this book, you’ll love Thorn. They are both written brilliantly, but with a similar premise. Highly recommend this book!