Review: Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

TowerofThornsSeries: Blackthorn & Grim #2
Published by: PanMacmillan Australia
ISBN 13: 9781743535448
Published: October 2015
Pages: 400
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites
Related Reviews: Den of Wolves (Blackthorn and Grim #3)

Tower of Thorns is the second book of the Blackthorn & Grim trilogy, following Dreamer’s Pool which won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. In the last book we had Blackthorn and Grim manage to make a life for themselves in Dalriada, staying on the outskirts but assisting Crown Prince Oran and his wife to be Lady Flidais. Both Blackthorn and Grim have been through a lifetime of pain and suffering, yet they manage to find a little kindness and acceptance from those around them, despite their gruff and unsettling demeanours.

In Tower of Thorns, we see them well established and trusted, though still left to their anti-social ways. They’re integral to both Prince Oran and Lady Flidais – so much so, that when the royal couple need to travel, both Grim and Blackthorn simply must go with them. From here up at the court they stand witness to a strange tale from Lady Geiléis who has come to seek assistance with a creature who is seemingly trapped within a tower, wailing, and cursing the land around it. People lose their minds and break out in strange fits of anger, and it is ruining the land around.

At a loss but knowing Blackthorn has a way with strange things, Prince Oran turns to Blackthorn for advice. Initially Blackthorn doesn’t want a thing to do with it – awkwardly trapped between having to help anyone who asks, and having to adhere to her fey promise to avoid conflict that could tempt her towards her bid for vengeance. Then a friend from long ago appears in her life again, and Blackthorn finds herself making tough decisions which she may come to regret.

As we know, Juliet Marillier hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. Her work is a joy to read, weaving fantasy and fable in together to create strong plot and characters, and such a strong sense of self. This is the kind of book you can’t stop reading, and it makes you desperate for the next. Blackthorn is such a strong, amazing character who is intelligent, wise and passionate (in her own way), determined to do what is right even when it seems impossible.

Grim has parts of his past explained in this part, giving him so much more dimension (even though he wasn’t lacking previously) and makes his current circumstances even more distressing. And overall, you still feel the unjust nature of what they’ve been through.

Though quite separate from the first book, there are elements which tie the main plot throughout, leaving the ending even more sought after as you wonder what lengths the opposition will go to, and what blackthorn and Grim will have to do to get their happy ending.

This will be one of my favourite books for 2015, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the third!

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