Title: Dreamer's Pool
Author: Juliet Marillier
Age Group: Adult
Series: Blackthorn and Grim, book one
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
The bottom line: An enchanting new high fantasy novel from the bestselling author of Shadowfell, Dreamer's Pool was a fun, engaging mystery, but the format and some other things threw me off.
This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I love Juliet Marillier's work--magic, action, and mystery, abound--and have been a fan since reading the smash hit Shadowfell series. She just has a way of utterly enchanting readers, weaving magical worlds full of perilous adventures, magic, and darkness--and this book proves to be no exception!
Blackthorn and Grim are two convicts, locked up in a prison in medieval, magical Ireland. Blackthorn, stewing in anger and bitterness over a momentous, dark event in her past--is the first person to tell you that she isn't one for people. Even for her cellmate, the bulky, burly, silent Grim. But when she is offered a deal--an opportunity for the vengeance she so craves--she jumps at it. Released from prison--of course on several conditions--she finds herself becoming a wise woman near Dreamer's Pool. Though both of our heroes prefer a life of quiet, they are drawn into a web of lies and dark magic, and something that could threaten the very kingdom in which they live..
What I enjoyed:
-I loved the premise of this novel--two sleuths in medieval, magical Ireland out to solve a mystery--I enjoyed the way the author combined high fantasy and mystery so skillfully
-The pacing of this novel--I couldn't put it down once things really began to roll, especially with the mystery aspect
-Blackthorn, the young healer who is all but broken--who seems to live on anger and bitterness--I really enjoyed her character development, and I also liked that she wasn't the most likable antihero
-Grim, the silent, hulking bear of a man who accompanies Blackthorn on her journey, for reasons unknown--I liked the way his silence balanced out Blackthorn's rage, and they really made a good team
-Oran, the naive young man who has his head in the clouds--I really liked him, and his character development especially, from a boy to a man, and a leader, and hopefully, eventually, a king
-Flidias, and the mystery surrounding her and her strange behavior--I really liked her part in the story all together
-Donagan, Oran's best friend and favorite servant
-The ending--I can't wait for the sequel to this exciting new series!
What could've been better:
-The format of the novel was very confusing--it was told from Blackthorn, Grim, and Oran's point of view, and they were also told in different tenses, which made it hard to follow
-I wish there had been more divulged about Grim's history
-The world-building seemed a little bit vague to me and wasn't explained all that well
Overall, I really enjoyed Dreamer's Pool--a fun read, and a must-read for fans of this author! Next on deck: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld!