August 26, 2010

Juliet Marillier: Heart's Blood

I've mentioned this book title already and yet had failed to give this book it's very own post. I wanted to make sure I got Marillier's Bridei Chronicle series blogged in order. I'm sorry for the delay. This, of the eight books I've read by Marillier, is the one that I love best. It's a standalone, too, so it's a perfect way to sample her work.


Heart's Blood is a tale that holds a connection to the well known story of Beauty and the Beast. It follows the point of view of Caitrin, a young woman with a mysterious past who has clearly suffered something terrible. Whatever has happened and for whatever reason, Caitrin cannot return home. With hardly any money to her name at all, she is in luck that at least she is a woman gifted with the ability to read and write. This allows her to be a scribe, and a scribe is exactly what is needed at Whistling Tor.

Whistling Tor has its secrets, too, and the people nearby will not go there. One reason is for the curse that is on them and the family of the chieftain, Anuluan, who lives at Whistling Thor. The other reason is because the people say Anuluan's horrible. Bearing this in mind, Caitrin sets out for Whistling Tor anyways, determined to find work and a place to stay for a while.


I enjoy many different types of books be they historical fiction, classic literature, books about well-loved classics that can make me smile or laugh, fantasy, young adult, and the occasional nonfiction book. Sometimes readers might crave a particular type of book at any given time. As a reader I've begun to realize it doesn't seem to matter much which kind of book I'm most desiring to read, that if given an extraordinary fantasy, I'm quite happy.

With outstanding books as these, it's not just a fantasy I'm reading. Everything about the book just seems to glow. The language is beautifully written so that the words jump off the page. The setting is strong with powerful-seeming places where scenes take place. Characters are amazingly developed into deep, 3-D beings. This isn't to say they're 'real people' as you and I, just that their traits, personalities, and such are quite known. You can think, What would (fill in the blank with a character name here) do? and know the answer.

A great fantasy can lock you in within the first few pages and make it near impossible for you to abandon. There are things you should be doing that, because you're reading a great book, you procrastinate. You read it at work, or, if you ordinarily bring books there anyway like me, you read so quickly that you never have the chance to carry the book around long enough to read it anywhere but in one place. When it comes to be time that you should be sleeping, you're heavily lost in the book's pages and don't notice the time passing by. Hours can pass by after this while you are still reading. You may just read all night, or, if you're a graveyard worker, all day.

That was this book for me.

Now that I've said how much I love Heart's Blood, I just want to say how beautiful that cover is. Just look at all those books! I adore my edition. (Please note, I most certainly did not choose this book for its cover!)