Anluan has been crippled since childhood, part of a curse that has besieged his family and his home of Whistling Tor. But when the young scribe Caitrin is retained to sort through family documents, she brings about unexpected changes in the household, casting a hopeful light against the despairing shadows.
But to truly free Anluan’s burdened soul, Caitrin must unravel the web of sorcery woven by his ancestors before it claims his life-and their love…
Heart’s Blood is a really good choice for anyone who likes fantasy. And well, Beauty and the Beast retellings because YES it’s another one of those. I’m sorry people I just can’t help myself!
In my defence I did not know this was a retelling until I started reading it. I picked this book up at a thrift store because it looked interesting knowing little about it. What can I say, Beauty and the Beast just finds me!
Anyway, moving on. Well written characters, an interesting premise, a nice blend of fantasy combined with historical elements and a dash of mystery. It all came together for an enjoyable read for me. Don’t let the summary fool you, it really doesn’t do the book justice.
Even if you’re not into fairy tale retellings I would say give this book a try. Honestly Juliet Marillier goes so much deeper with her story than the source material. (And that’s saying something because I of course love the source material.)
This book is about overcoming abuse and facing the emotional and physical trauma that often victims encounter. It’s not about easy or convenient fairy tale fixes. It’s about pulling yourself out, being brave and strong and facing your demons.
I will say a negative was the pacing. It was off in my opinion. At times I found the book almost painfully slow and would skim ahead to see when things were going to pick up again. (At one point I think I skimmed through around 80 pages because it was just so tedious and unnecessary.)
This didn’t always happen and there would be good stretches where the writing completely sucked me in. It’s just sometimes I’d find myself thinking, “OK, I got it. Can we move on?”
I have a suspicion this may be a common problem with Juliet Marillier’s books. I have another book by her sitting in my to read pile (picked up at the same thrift store) and it looks just as long. At least I will be prepared for some long winded passages when I get around to diving into it.
Ultimately I did really like Heart’s Blood, I just felt it could have been shortened by a fifth.