ISBN-13: 9780451463265
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: October 2010
403 pgs
Source: Library

I have heard lots of good things about Juliet Marillier's Sevenwater Series, but just haven't got around to reading them yet. So when I visited the library and found Heart's Blood instead, I decided to borrow it and read this first.

The story opens with a 18-year-old Caitrin running away from home after her father had died and she was being forced to marry a man she didn't love. With her sister being married off to a traveling musician, she has no one to turn to but to rely on herself and hoping that the craft she has mastered (she is well trained by her father as a scribe) would offer her a roof for shelter and meals to keep her full. Her journey eventually brings her to Whistling Tor, a place where no one dares to cross or even mention it for it was believed to be haunted by the host.

When Caitrin finds out that Anluan, the chieftain of the Whistling Tor needs a scribe, she asks for the task despite that the place gives her the creeps and that Anluan intrigues her with his brooding moods. Crippled and cursed, Anluan is a man whom the people hate and fear at the same time, for they think what had happened to Whistling Tor is the deed done by his family many, many years ago when Anluan's great grandfather performed some dark sorcery and many people had suffered and couldn't rest their souls. They were also cursed so that they could not leave Whistling Tor and be forever at the bidding of the chieftain heirs of Whistling Tor.

While Caitrin is drawn to the heart's blood (which makes fine writing ink when the petals are crushed and concocted) grown in Anluan's household, she also finds herself drawn into his family's history and the man himself. She believes that under that cold and brooding mask is a man who has a kind and loving heart, and she intends to break free of his will through her love and patience. Her efforts are paid off in the end, but secrets and vengeance still linger strongly within the household and it seems history is about to repeat itself again. Will Caitrin and Anluan be able to break the hundred-year-old curse or will they suffer the same fate like Anluan's ancestors?

Heart's Blood is one of the best fantasy I read for awhile. It has elements like mystery, fantasy, romance mixed with bits of Irish history which have kept me intrigued and hooked from the beginning of the book till the end. Juliet Marillier is a great storyteller, and through her prose and writing style she tells a great love story with her unforgettable characters. Aside from the characterisations, I have to say the overall setting and atmosphere are well crafted too, for they gave me a foreboding feeling while reading it. Another thing I liked is that it breaks away the tradition of featuring a hero who thinks he is superior above others. Don't get me wrong, Anluan is certainly a hero in his own rights, but what makes him real is the feelings he portrays in the story, regardless they are traits of his strength or his flaws.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed reading Heart's Blood and would recommend this to anyone who loves a good fantasy tale. Meanwhile, I am going to get a copy for my keeper's shelf after returning this to the library.
7 Responses
  1. Violet Says:

    wow, sounds like an awesome book and since I'm in a mood if reading fantasy's, I'll check if the library has it.

  2. Melody Says:

    Violet - It is! I hope you're able to get this book from the library. :)

  3. The Bookworm Says:

    It sounds so good, especially since there is Irish history in the plot. Great review ;)

  4. Iliana Says:

    I've been reading great reviews of fantasy books, yours included, and maybe it's a sign I need to read one soon. this does sound like a great story. Glad to hear you enjoyed Melody. I'm adding to my list.

  5. Ana S. Says:

    I loved the first book in the Sevenwaters trilogy, so I can't believe it's taken me so many years to read Juliet Marillier again. This sounds excellent!

  6. Julia Says:

    I"m happy to hear you enjoyed this book. I have heard nothing but rave from you about it :)

  7. Unknown Says:

    I'm going to read this since i'm 18 and my name is actually Caitrin...

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