It has been such a long time since I read Marillier and I am so happy to be back. Marillier is one of the first authors I read when I began reading fantasy – mostly I binge read the Sevenwaters series. But I’m pack with Dreamer’s Pool and I am so happy to be back.
In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.
Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.
With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.
One of Marillier’s strengths are the characters. And Dreamer’s Pool is no exception. I was utterly transfixed by Oran, Blackthorn and Grim. Grim was my favorite – not going to lie – but I didn’t expect that. I was fully expecting to love Blackthorn, and I did, but I loved Grim even more. He was such a tender hearted protective soul and I loved that about her. But at the same time I loved Blackthorn’s spirit and Oran’s heart. Gosh I loved them all for different reasons.
The plot kept me guessing from start to finish. The characters really grow into their own, question their expectations, and I am so excited to read the next ones! One thing I really liked was Marillier’s authors note at the beginning about how this book, in some ways, deals with punishing perpetrators of violence against women.
Dreamer’s Pool was gripping, like a mystery and a fantasy. I was absorbed in the characters and needed to know they were alright before I could sleep. It was a late night. Make sure to check out Dreamer’s Pool on Goodreads.