Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

Blackthorn & Grim #1. Roc (Nov. 2014) Library
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.

Blackthorn and Grim - both prisoners, both mysteries. What we do know about Blackthorn is that she seeks revenge on an important member of society. What we know about Grim is that he talks to himself and is very protective of Blackthorn, the only girl in the dirtiest prison I've heard of in a while. So Blackthorn is clearly innocent and Grim seems like a good guy. Blackthorn is getting closer to her execution, but before that can happen someone approaches her and strikes a deal - stop seeking vengeance on the man that ruined everything, always help people who ask, and you can be free. Obviously, she took that deal even if she wasn't happy about it and who other than Grim finds a way to follow her?

Blackthorn is very prickly but has her reasons. She's can be harsh but is still kind and takes to helping heal others well. Grim is still a mystery to me. I don't know if he has powers or if he's trying to redeem himself somehow but he's along for the ride. 

Dreamer's Pool was difficult to get into because the world was a lot more complicated and told in an old fashioned sort of way then I was expecting. Once things got going when Oran, the prince, gets into the mix. He's a bit naive about the world and his bride to be. There's magic, mystery, and various plot lines where the story eventually comes together. I thought the situation with Oran was pretty obvious but Marillier was able to get a good last surprise from me. I see some potential in this series so I'm curious to see what becomes of the prince, the healer, and the protector. Only time will tell if I decide to dive back in.


  1. The cover is very pretty! It sounds like it has a lot going for it too. I like that you were still surprised a little. :) Thanks for sharing.

    1. It's a very immersive read. It takes yo to a whole other time and world.


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