Review: Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier


Dreamer’s Pool
by Juliet Marillier
Series: Blackthorn & Grim #1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Roc Hardcover
Library book
434 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: 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.

The need to see so many people and to stay courteous left me ill-tempered and weary at the end of the day. Grim was good at having a brew ready when I needed it.


  • The language is lyrical and the story is deeply satisfying.
  • I love the setting of long  ago Ireland. If ever a place might have magic Ireland would be one of my choices!
  • I’ve seen that other reviewers called this a fairytale and that’s certainly true. And it even has a character named Grim!
  • The story is absorbing and even though told from three points of view (Blackthorn, Grim and Prince Oran) it flows well and the three characters have distinct voices. I like having the different points of view of some of the same happenings in the story.
  • The book takes place in a fantasy version of Ireland and has the feel of old stories.
  • Blackthorn doesn’t like being with people and doesn’t have the patience to have to listen to gossip…which, of course, she has to listen to as a healer. This is also part of her healing, I think–having to learn patience and to be with people again.
  • Blackthorn and Grim are both very damaged characters which I imagine will play a big part in the books to come. I look forward to learning more about each of them.
  • This book is a mystery as well as a fantasy and I figured out some of the mystery, but that didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book and I wasn’t sure how it would end.
  • The character who saves Blackthorn–probably a Fae. . . we don’t know his motivations. . . who he is exactly or why he saved her. We get a few clues, but I look forward to learning more in future books.


  • None. This book is a wonderful beginning for a series.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is the first book I’ve read by Juliet Marillier and I don’t know why I waited so long. I own several more books by her and want to read them soon.
  • I can’t wait for the next book and I gave this book an A- only because it’s the first book I’ve read by Ms. Marillier and I want all of her books to be as good or even better!
  • This is one of my favorite books of the year (see my Top Ten Tuesday for this week and for last week as she is one of my favorite new authors, too.)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year)
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog (Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite new authors this year!)

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

6 thoughts on “Review: Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier”

  1. Loved this book. I’ve jumped into her Sevenwaters series, currently listening to the first book Daughter of the Forest in audiobook format. Delighted to discover that it has the similar adult fairy tale vibe as Dreamer’s Pool!


  2. I just read this one too and oh my gosh…it was incredible. I love the old Gaelic stories from Ireland and Scotland so that setting definitely appealed to me. The personal healing aspect is something that I look forward to seeing more of, particularly in Blackthorn’s relationship with Emer (her apprentice) and Ness. Dreamer’s Pool has topped my “Best of 2014” list, too.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: