Jan. 16th, 2015

lexlingua: (Divinity)
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
*
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
*
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
*
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
*
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
lexlingua: (Books)
Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier is a strong starting book for her series, Blackthorn and Grim. It hooks you immediately, with the pages opening in a murky prison where our leading lady Blackthorn, a healer with a dark past, has been locked-up wrongfully. Blackthorn thinks she’s up for a death sentence, but a mysterious fae appears and offers her a reprieve –he will help her escape if she agrees to help anyone who asks her for help for the next 7 years. And when I say anyone, I mean anyone.Blackthorn accepts, and finds her way to a province ruled by Prince Oran, which is not as cozy as it seems. Oran, helpless in the face of his troubles, asks Blackthorn for help.

The story is told in multiple and alternating POV which works well without the jarring or abrupt cliffhangers at the end of each chapter that so many fantasy writers like to use. But much of the middle of the book felt like a drag, because Oran’s narratives felt too YA-ish. No doubt that’s because he’s a young, lovesick, perplexed chap, but I just could not connect on an emotional plane with his bag of woes.

Dreamer’s Pool is essentially a folk tale-cum-fairy tale about a mysterious mirror-like lake (hence, the title of the book) in that province, and comes with the necessary insights into domesticity and country life. I was happy to see Marillier return with her fae plotlines as well, and if you like Patricia McKillip, you will like this book as well.

The final section of the book was where the story really caught on, and for that alone, you should read it. Something alien lives in that lake, something that affects everyone around— especially Prince Oran, and Marillier captures that feeling of suspense really well in the last half of the book.

But best of all, and my favourite part of the book, was Grim. Grim is an interesting character; his poor self-esteem (a result of his past incarceration) coupled with his innate kindness makes a beautiful foil to Blackthorn, whose past has made her bitter, hard and cynical. The two together made a great detective team, but Grim, aww Grim. Somebody should tell him not to worry, he’s a great person – maybe Blackthorn will, in the next book.

Rating: 8/ 10. Recommended.

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