Can’t Wait Wednesday: A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

Historical fantasy set in Edwardian England

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

A Marvellous Light

by Freya Marske

Series: The Last Binding #1

Published by Tordotcom

Publishing date: Nov 2

Genre: Historical Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.


I haven’t read any books by Freya Marske, but I really enjoy historical fantasy placed in the British Isles. I hope this is a start of a fun and interesting series!

Mini-Reviews: Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy by W.R. Gingell

I read the Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy in February and March and am doing mini reviews for each book. I’m also excited because this is the first time I’ve read a book by an author from Tasmania (as far as I know). I’ve always thought Tasmania sounds like such an intriguing place to visit.

twelve days of faery by w.r. gingellTwelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

150 pages

My thoughts

This is the first book I’ve read by W.R. Gingell, but it isn’t the last book by Ms. Gingell I will read. So far this year I’ve read six of her books! I really enjoy her writing.

I liked that this book turned some of the fairy tale tropes on their head. For example, a prince is cursed instead of a princess. A woman comes to save him, but maybe after the curse is gone she’s not interested in the prince, but in his father the king. This is a short book (a novella), but it’s lots of fun and filled with intrigue, magic, some romance and trips into Faery. A good start for a trilogy.

My Rating: B+

fire-in-the-blood-by-w-r-gingellFire in the Blood by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #2

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

123 pages

My thoughts

This is the second novella in this fantasy trilogy called Shards of a Broken Sword. The first two books are about different characters. They are set in the same world and both about shards from a broken sword that hold a great deal of magic. The books are short (from about 120 to 220 pages), but the stories are satisfying and complete.

This story about a prince, a dragon, a maid and a sleeping princess in a tower is humorous and exciting as the prince along with his dragon try to complete challenges in seven circles to find the princess. And there is even some romance!

My Rating: B

the first chill of autumn by w.r. gingellThe First Chill of Autumn by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #3

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

220 pages

My thoughts

I like how this ties up the loose ends in the trilogy. Each book is about different characters, but in this book all the characters are brought together by the end. I like that. There is magic galore in the book as well as dragons, royalty, enchanters and enchantresses, romances, lots of Fae! And we finally find out what the shards of the broken sword are for.

I recommend this trilogy to anyone who likes fairy tale retellings, a little romance in their stories (that doesn’t take over the story), magic, dragons, fantasy.

My Rating: B+

Trilogy Rating: B+

About the Author

W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She loves to rewrite fairy tales with a twist or two–and a murder or three–and original fantasy where dragons, enchantresses, and other magical creatures abound. Occasionally she will also dip her toes into the waters of SciFi.

W.R. spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.

Reading Challenges

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book with a weather element in the title (The First Chill of Autumn)

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a sequel (Fire in the Blood)

Mini Review: Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Series: Keeper Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Setting: Canada

Published by DAW, 1998

Source: Ebook, purchased

366 pages

Synopsis: Claire Hansen, the Keeper, is summoned to the Elysian Fields Guest House to reseal a hole in the basement, which is literally an opening to Hell. The owner and monitor of the site disappears, leaving Claire stuck managing the place until the problem is solved. Her new employee, Dean McIssac, is a gorgeous Newfie who cooks, cleans, and lives the Boy Scout oath. Then there’s Jacques Labaet: very French Canadian, very sexy, very dead. Jacques is a ghost who wants to be the man in Claire’s life. Oh yeah, and there’s Austin, a talking cat with attitude: “I barely know you, but I’m assuming you’re human. I’m not saying this is a good thing, it’s just the way it is.” 

My thoughts

This is a quick, fun read. I enjoy Tanya Huff’s books and appreciate the different types of books she writes. The book has a lot of humor and I enjoyed much of that. This isn’t my favorite of the many books of hers I’ve read, but it’s still enjoyable.

The book reminded me a little of The Gale Women series by Ms. Huff. The first book in that series is The Magic Emporium. There is some of the same dynamic between characters in the books. However, I like The Magic Emporium better than this book. I probably will read the second book in the Keeper Chronicles series to see if I like it better than Summon the Keeper.

What I like

I like Claire Hansen and the idea that Keepers clean up messes made by holes torn in the fabric of the universe that leak evil. She comes from a magical family so she has known about keepers all her life. But most people outside their small community don’t know about them.

The evil trying to seep through the hole in the basement furnace room of the guest house is amusing, but determined. It tries to tempt anyone it comes in contact with, but because Claire has magic available it really wants to cause her to slip up and allow more evil through the hole.

Down in the furnace room, having spent the last few hours testing the binding, the intelligence in the pit rested. It would have been panting had it been breathing.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED, it observed sulkily.

. . . SHUT UP!

It also talked to itself.

Dean McIssac is from Newfoundland and has worked at the guest house for a while. He’s the cook and handyman and he loves to clean. A funny reversal of stereotype. Claire also notices he’s quite a hunk–even if he is younger than she is.

The ghost, Jacques Labaet, is very funny, but also a little sad.

And not so much

My main quibble with the book is that although I like cats, I don’t like cats that talk very much–especially when they try to be funny. Austin is Claire’s sidekick and helper and he has an attitude. I just didn’t like it very much.

My Rating: B-

Have you read this book or any others by Tanya Huff? What are your thoughts about her books?

Review: One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

one-good-dragon-deserves-anotherOne Good Dragon Deserves Another
by Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Setting: Detroit DFZ, New Mexico and a few other places
Published by Aaron/Bach LLC, 2015
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: August 1, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
404 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: After barely escaping the machinations of his terrifying mother, two all knowing seers, and countless bloodthirsty siblings, the last thing Julius wants to see is another dragon. Unfortunately for him, the only thing more dangerous than being a useless Heartstriker is being a useful one, and now that he’s got an in with the Three Sisters, Julius has become a key pawn in Bethesda the Heartstriker’s gamble to put her clan on top.

Refusal to play along with his mother’s plans means death, but there’s more going on than even Bethesda knows, and with Estella back in the game with a vengeance, Heartstriker futures disappearing, and Algonquin’s dragon hunter closing in, the stakes are higher than even a seer can calculate. But when his most powerful family members start dropping like flies, it falls to Julius to defend the clan that never respected him and prove that, sometimes, the world’s worst dragon is the best one to have on your side.


  • I was so excited when the author’s husband sent an email and asked if I would like an e-Arc! That was a no brainer. 🙂
  • Second in a self-published urban fantasy series. The first book in the series was one of my favorite books of 2014.
  • This book lived up to the first book. I love it! We find out more about dragons and especially the Heartstrikers.
  • I like the world she has built. We learn more about it in this book and it’s very interesting.
  • I like the work Julius and Marci have created for themselves. We see them doing magical animal removal in the DFZ in the first part of the book. They’ve started their own business and Julius is so happy about it. Then his mother, Bethesda visits . . . .
  • Bethesda is a very scary dragon. She has lots of children which makes her somewhat different from other dragons. She has had 10 clutches so far. Because she has so many children she’s a little careless with them!
  • I love the Heartstriker dragons’ origins–Quetzalcoatl was Bethesda’s father. So she and her children are feathered serpents.
  • The dragons are fun to read about. Each dragon has so much character and are unique. Except for their arrogance and aggressiveness which all dragons except Julius seem to have.
  • We get more Bob (Brohomir) in this book! He’s a dragon seer!
  • Amelia is a dragon we didn’t meet in the first book. She’s the only dragon still alive from Bethesda’s first clutch. Amelia is the heir to the Heartstrikers, the Planeswalker, Clan Magus and Consort to the Concept of Mountains! Bethesda doesn’t want Amelia around since she doesn’t trust anyone. After all, Bethesda killed her own father to inherit everything.
  • I love Marci. She’s smart, funny, loyal, very enthusiastic(!) and a great friend. I also like Ghost who is bound to her. He’s a very interesting character who becomes even more interesting in this book.
  • Julius and Marci are very cute together. They like each other, but don’t know quite what to do with that.
  • I really like the story in this book. There are twists and turns, but Julius stays true to himself.


  • None! I love this book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • The book ends with the problems of this book wrapped up, but with more problems for more books! I’m really glad about that and happy to read at the end that Ms. Aaron hopes to have the third book published in early 2016.

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

Author info

  • Rachel Aaron was born and raised in Atlanta, but currently lives a lovely, nerdy, bookish life in Athens, GA with her faster-than-the-speed-of-light son, perpetually understanding husband, and fat weiner dog. She writes full time, all the time, but when her family can drag her away from her own books, she loves reading fantasy (urban and traditional), Romance (paranormal and Regency), and Science Fiction (all kinds). She also enjoys video games, Minecraft, anime, manga, hanging out at conventions, and overdone, epic things.
  • She has also written a productivity book–2 k to 10k and The Legend of Eli Monpress fantasy series and the Paradox Science Fiction trilogy under the name Rachel Bach.

Reading Challenges

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

by Naomi Novik
Series: Unknown
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Del Rey, 2015
Library book
438 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

“It was all right when I did it,” I said, “but when you did it, it was wrong. As though–you were following a trail, but a tree had fallen down in the meantime, or some hedge grew up, and you insisted on continuing on anyway, instead of going around it–”

“There are no hedges!” he roared.

“It comes, I suppose,” I said thoughtfully, speaking to the air, of spending too much time alone indoors, and forgetting that living things don’t always stay where you put them.”

He ordered me from the room in stiff fury.


  • I love this fantasy. Such a good book and so fun to read.
  • The author grew up listening to Polish fairy tales and with this story she pays her respect to that beginning.
  • I also love the cover of this book. I think it’s my favorite of the year so far.
  • I like the way Ms. Novik took a story, a trope about young women given to a dragon–and completely changes it. It’s still a fairy tale just not the one we think it is. I love the opening sentences: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice . . . .”
  • A book of magic–wizards and witches–and some kind of alien evil in the woods. And different types of magic which neither group understands.
  • This isn’t a young adult fantasy even though the main character is just 17.
  • The friendships (or lack of them) in this book are so important to the story. Especially the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia.
  • I like that the romance in this story is not the focus. I’ve mentioned before I like my fantasy without a lot of romance.
  • I like the mysteries in this fantasy. What exactly is the Wood? How and why does it do the things it does? What is happening in the capital? What does the Dragon do to keep the valley safe? Why does he take a young woman from the valley every ten years?
  • The answers to all these questions make a great story.
  • Every part of this story is wonderful. I recommend this story to anyone who likes fantasy. And even those who think they don’t!


  • I would love to read more books set in this world.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I recently found His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik in a box of books I was sorting to donate to my library. That makes me happy! I’ve had the book for quite awhile and now I really want to read it now that I’ve had a taste of Ms. Novik’s writing.

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

Author info

  • Naomi Novik lives in NYC with her husband and many computers. She grew up listening to Polish folk tales. Her first novel–His Majesty’s Dragon–was published in 2006. This was the first book in the Temeraire series about the Napoleonic Wars–but with dragons! And now she has written Uprooted–an entirely different fantasy.

Reading Challenges

Review: Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

turn-coatTurn Coat
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #11
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2009
E-book, Library
540 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: When it comes to the magical ruling body known as the White Council, Harry keeps his nose clean and his head down. For years, the Council has held a death mark over Harry’s head. He’s still thought of as a black sheep by some and as a sacrificial lamb by others. But none regard him with more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules.

Like Harry.

So when Morgan turns up asking for help, Harry isn’t exactly eager to leap into action. Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council, and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog.

Like Harry.

Now Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less than agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.

Like Harry…

Cell phones were like those security guys in red shirts on old Star Trek: as soon as something started happening, they were always the first to go.


Colonel Mustard, in the den, with the lead pipe.

Now all I needed was a clue.

No pressure, Harry.


  • Lots happens in this book.
  • This is one of my favorites of the series so far.
  • I like the Edinburgh setting of parts of this book.
  • Even though I figured out the traitor I didn’t realize all the ramifications of it.
  • Harry has lots of great allies. The werewolves, the pixies, Karrin Murphy–he knows how to be a good friend and is willing to put his life on the line for his friends and allies.
  • He has a code of honor which the rest of the White Council doesn’t have.
  • Many twists and turns in this book and by many characters.
  • I’m glad this book moves the overall arc of the series forward.
  • There are sad portions in this book–I admit I shed some tears.
  • We find out more about Morgan’s background and history.
  • I love the humor in these books…the banter between characters, in Harry’s thoughts and his taunting the bad guys at inconvenient places! Other characters get good lines sometimes and even the bad guys have their moments.
  • Mouse and Mister continue their awesomeness–mostly Mouse who is amazing!


  • I figured out who the traitor was early in the book. However, it didn’t take away my enjoyment of  the book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I hope to read the next book in the series soon!

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

Review: Stained Glass Monsters by Andrea K. Höst

stained-glass-monsterStained Glass Monsters
by Andrea K. Höst
Series: Eferum #1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Andrea K. Höst, 2011
E-book, purchased
245 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: When a motionless woman dressed in white appears in the village of Falk, Kendall Stockton has no inkling that the strange apparition will soon leave her homeless, and tangled in the affairs of mages and monsters. For the white figure is the first sign of a spell which will shatter cities, and make the caster as powerful as the gods.

Saved by a stranger who claims her goal is to stop the woman, Kendall is torn between admiring the mage Rennyn Claire’s strength, and doubting her methods. What is Rennyn willing to do to win? Do the best of intentions justify pragmatic sacrifice, or is Rennyn Claire no better than the monster she is trying to stop?

“It seems the adage about no good deed going unpunished is a true one,” the woman said when they were in earshot. The quizzical look she added sent a sudden rush of heat over Kendall’s face and throat.


“My Gran used to tell me that the ends don’t justify the means. What’s the difference between you and the Black Queen if you’re both willing to kill people to get your way.”

“Probably none, to any people I have to kill….”


  • An adventure story; a page turner. I read it very quickly.
  • I love the way Ms. Höst writes her stories.
  • From the beginning we don’t know exactly what is going on and who is doing what. I wasn’t sure about the motives of  the various characters.
  • The story slowly unfolds as we discover what is happening. So even though this is an adventure story and lots happens quickly it also moves slowly as we discover who, what and some of why.
  • The magic in this world all comes from the Eferum which I’m not sure I really understand.
  • The characters are likeable and I enjoyed reading about them.
  • We don’t know everyone’s agenda during the book–especially Rennyn’s.
  • The book is mostly told from Kendall’s and Rennyn’s POVs.
  • Kendall is a fun character to read about–a skeptic, outspoken, unafraid, always questioning everything.
  • There is some romance in the book though it’s quite muted (which didn’t bother me).


  • I’m not really sure I understand the Eferum–from which all the magic comes into the world. I have to admit that doesn’t bother me too much. I don’t have to understand everything about the world building in a fantasy or science fiction. I’m willing to follow things where they take me!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • A second book in this series is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2015.
  • The Touchstone Trilogy is still my favorite set of books by Ms. Höst, but I’ve liked every book I’ve read by her so far.

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

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (free)

Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch


Foxglove Summer
by Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Peter Grant #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW, 2015
E-book, purchased
377 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London – to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can’t take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what’s more all the shops are closed by 4pm…

“There’s weird shit,” I said. “And we deal with the weird shit, but normally it turns out that there’s a perfectly rational explanation.” Which is often that a wizard did it.


During the whole pointless process not one resident refused to let us in or objected to us looking around, which I found creepy because there’s always one. But Dominic said no.

“Not in the countryside,” he said.

“Community spirit?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “That and everyone would know that they hadn’t cooperated, which people would find suspicious. In a village that sort of thing sticks for, like, generations.”


  • The series gets better and better with each book.
  • I like that I get my police procedurals (which I’m loving reading at the moment) with magic intricately entwined.
  • Lots of humor
  • The setting of this book is in Herefordshire–very rural and near Wales. A different setting than the other books which were mostly in London.
  • Peter has changed a lot from the first book. He’s a more experienced policeman and now he’s on his own without Leslie–though he does have Beverley!
  • I love Peter’s inner dialogue which is often sarcastic and snarky.
  • The way the author uses the rivers, streams, brooks and other waterways and connects them with supernatural characters is one of the things I love about this series.
  • Beverley Brook is a great character. Lots of fun to read about.
  • It’s obvious big things are coming with Leslie and the Faceless Man.


  • Having to wait at least a year for the next book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • The problem with reading a new and latest book in a series is that we have to wait for the next book to be published–usually at least a year between books.

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

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with nonhuman characters)

Review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells


Dirty Magic
by Jaye Wells
Series: Prospero’s War #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit, 2014
E-book, purchased
381 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn’t expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.

The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she’s convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she’s been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she’d never use dirty magic again.

Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should be never say never.

The swoosh and thump from the potion vending machine hinted that one of my colleagues was helping himself to a late-night energy potion. I always found it ironic how many cops justified using clean magic to fight the dirty kind. . . . Black versus white, legal versus illegal. But anyone who cooked potions could tell you the line between the two was little more than vapor. Whether you used it with good intentions or ill, magic was magic, and instead of being black or white, most of it was smoke-screen gray.


  • I liked the book a lot more than I expected.
  • The world building really works for me. I feel like the author came up with an idea and then kept asking herself how would this change the world we know. And our world is changed a lot. This world has magic, wizards, potions, addicts.
  • I like that Kate has been a police officer. Though she hasn’t had an easy time in the police force–both because of her family and because she’s an Adept.
  • Kate jumps at a chance to improve herself by trying to join a task force.
  • I like the little details Wells adds to this world–left-handed people are more likely to be Adept.
  • This world was totally turned upside down when it was discovered that potions could change and affect people.
  • Now there are potion junkies.
  • The author had fun naming some of the potions–Excalibur for an energy potion, for example.
  • This is a dark and scary world. I can see lots of possibilities for future books.


  • I thought a certain character was involved in the new potion early on, but this character isn’t thought about by the characters until nearly the end of the book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is another new urban fantasy series and I didn’t expect for it to stand out from all the others enough that I would want to read the next book. But I do!

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

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with magic)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading

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!)