Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review: Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

Heart's Blood tells the story of Caitrin, a girl running from her past, who finds herself in the remote village of Whistling Tor.  When she finds a position as a scribe for the strange crippled Anluan, she does not expect to be drawn into a curse that haunts his family.  The farther she delves into Anluan's family history, the more she learns about the terrible secret that has been plaguing Whistling Tor for hundreds of years. 

Heart's Blood

Things I Liked:
Marillier has a way of writing gorgeous rich stories that draw the reader right into the action.  The beautiful and complex fantasy world includes historical details with just the right touch of the Other to make it perfect.  The story and characters were fabulous, each with their own history that made me want to know more about them - they each have so much depth that none of them are extraneous.  She could probably write several more books just about the stories of the minor characters!  Here's a quote that illustrates this depth and the descriptive writing I loved:
"I started violently, whirling around at the rough, booming voice.  Between two massive oaks stood an extraordinary man.  I hardly had time to take in his squat build, his ruddy cheeks like ripe apples and his mossy, green-gray beard.  I glanced only briefly at his odd garb: a rough tunic and breeches of skins, a garland of leaves and twigs on his wild thatch of hair, festoons of greenery wreathed around his neck.  As he took a step towards me, I saw what was coming up behind him. If the man was unusual, the dog was monstrous." p19
Things I Didn't Like:
Perhaps with all these things, there may be just a little too much description and too many extra stories - it felt pretty long.  She could have cut some parts and written a separate book about those parts.  Then again, I also wanted more history of each character when I read, so maybe it wasn't long enough. :)

It actually felt a lot like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, though it is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast
The historical depth and feeling reminded me of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Wildwood Dancing also by Marillier

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: XXX
several scenes and references

v-factor: ->
some fighting and domestic violence

Overall rating: ****

How much do you think modern authors are influenced by the classics?

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  1. I've granted you an award! Enjoy!


  2. I really enjoyed your review. I have this book and plan on reading it within the next couple of weeks.

  3. Alaine, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  4. I just found your review - I really love this book..

    Thanks for another take on it..



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