Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Hearts BloodAnluan 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…

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Overall, a fun read.  It was an interesting mingling of fantasy and gothic romance.  Running away from her past, Caitrin finds herself at Whistling Tor.  She is delighted to find work as a scribe, even when the townspeople warn her about the strange going-ons at the manor.  Four generations ago, the chieftain of the manor, after disputing with his neighbors, decided to raise his own unstoppable army.  He doesn’t know what went wrong with the spell, but “the Host” which he called forth aren’t as biddable as he’d planned.  When he, and later his descendents, leave the grounds, the Host go into a violent frenzy, killing friends and enemies alike.

Caitrin enters the scene, and changes the way that everyone views the Host.  She sees good and hope where everyone else has just seen despondency.

My only disappointment in the story was how Caitrin and Anluan’s romance developed.  It developed very slowly, where both characters aren’t confident that the other feels the same way.  When they finally did acknowledge it, they skipped kissing and went straight to making love.  Where’s the progression?  And why couldn’t they be married first?

Besides that, it was a very beautiful, and suspenseful read.  Juliet Marillier is the author of several fantasy books including the Sevenwaters and Bridei series.  She also wrote YA books, Wildwood Dancing and Cybele’s Secret.

4 Stars

560 pages (Hardcover)

Released: October 2, 2009

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