This story has a fairy tale tone, sort of like The Mists of Avalon or Snow White. In some ways it's very magical and has the feel of being set in a mock-Ireland that is at war with the English.
The main character is the seventh child of a seventh son and has healing abilities that are used to help a young English man who has been tortured by soldiers, but helped by her Druid brother and hidden in a cave. Of course complications arise so that she cannot care for him any longer.
The story depicts a battle of different types of spirits, one the benevolent spirit of the forest that guides and the other that appears in human form to disrupt the closeness of the family who practice a form of Pagan magic.
It got a little slow in the middle, but overall a good story.
Blackthorn & Grim is a young adult high fantasy series written by Juliet Marillier. She is one of my favorite high fantasy authors even though I've yet to read all of her work. Mainly, her writing is beautiful and magical.
Den of Wolves, the last book in this trilogy, was published and made available this week, and so I thought, what better way to celebrate than squee about how pretty the covers for all three books are. Fantasy novels tend to have a lot of really good cover illustrations, and the Blackthorn & Grim trilogy is no different. And while I've always liked most of the covers for Juliet Marillier books, I can't say that any have ever actually stood out as much to me.
But the three of these covers, from the illustration to the type setting, it's all just so pretty that I can't stop looking at them. Specifically Den of Wolves--it was the one that drew my attention the fastest, more than likely because of the bold red background.
The last time I started a Juliet Marillier fantasy trilogy, I breezed through one book after another and had the entire series finished in no time. So this time, I decided that I would patiently wait out the publication of the last book before even trying to get a hold of the first.
I feel I've become quite impatient in my old age to wait around to finish an ongoing story, and this whole trilogy thing that's been going on is a bit frustrating sometimes.
Den of Wolves is utterly enchanting. It features mystery, magic light and dark, hard choices, friendship, love, risk, reward, and a satisfying resolution to several series-long storylines.
Blackthorn and Grim are no strangers to the machinations of the fey, and this time they’re faced with a case of a strange young woman, a ruined house with the potential for magic, and a mysterious wild man who may be the key to solving the mystery of what’s wrong in Wolf Glen. To talk much about the story’s main case would be to spoil it. I will say that I loved the magical elements, how Juliet Marillier weaves different plot threads together into a compelling tapestry, and how everything comes together is incredibly satisfying. Blackthorn and Grim are forced to spend a lot of the book apart, which makes it all the more difficult for them, but it also gives them time to come to terms with their changing relationship. As much as I liked the Wolf Glen plotline, what really made Den of Wolves special to me was the continuing evolution of the two central characters.
Blackthorn is one of my favorite fantasy heroines. She has a strong will, is rough around the edges, and is as likely to snap at somebody as hold her tongue. But she’s also giving, caring, and possesses an inner warmth that hasn’t been snuffed out, even in the face of all that she’s suffered and survived. Blackthorn has been tortured physically and emotionally in unimaginable ways, but she still stands strong and fights for what’s right. Her thirst for justice has threatened to be her undoing more than once over the course of the series, and she has some hard choices to make in Den of Wolves. I have loved watching her develop as a character over the course of the series and this is the story that will make or break her.
If Blackthorn is the soul of the story, then Grim is its heart. The big-hearted man who is more than he sees himself to be grabbed my heart from the first Blackthorn & Grim novel, Dreamer’s Pool. Grim is a kind, honest man who would protect a stranger from harm, even at great cost to himself. He’s been through hell as well and has faced his demons, coming out all the stronger, though it’s a heartbreaking struggle for him still, especially when he doesn’t have Blackthorn by his side. He’s Blackthorn’s rock, and finally we get to see him take a brave step and risk changing their relationship. It’s clear Grim is in love with Blackthorn and has been for some time, but she’s got her walls up so high that for a long time she hasn’t been able to see what’s right in front of her when it comes to Grim. Whether or not the two friends become something more is a question that’s been hanging over readers’ heads for the entire series, and the answer is beautifully delivered in this tale.
Den of Wolves is the third book in the Blackthorn & Grim series, and I’d recommend reading Dreamer’s Pool and Tower of Thornes before diving into this story. The threat of Mathuin of Laois and Blackthorn’s deal with Conmael are more important than ever. Ms. Marillier has a lot to juggle in this story, but she does so with such ease and fluidity that I could not help but be enthralled. Den of Wolves may or may not be the final book in the Blackthorn & Grim series, and though I definitely want more, this is a wonderfully satisfying conclusion. Ms. Marillier has a deft hand with myth and magic, but it’s her characters who really make this series shine. I absolutely love Blackthorn and Grim and I cannot wait to revisit them again soon!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.