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Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
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Heart's Blood (edition 2009)

by Juliet Marillier

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5433418,474 (4.03)40
Member:MsScarletB
Title:Heart's Blood
Authors:Juliet Marillier
Info:Roc Hardcover (2009), Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fairy tales, fairy tales retold, beauty & the beast, fantasy

Work details

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

  1. 70
    Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (willowsmom)
    willowsmom: An adaptation of Beauty and the Beast by an author with a similar voice.
  2. 30
    Fire by Kristin Cashore (Kerian)
    Kerian: Another beautifully written fantasy that Heart's Blood made me think of.
  3. 20
    The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope (Herenya)
  4. 10
    Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (Herenya)
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» See also 40 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Caitrin is a scribe running away from her past when she stumbles into a strange, enchanted city. At the heart of this place filled with whispering townspeople and strangle ghosts in the woods is Whistling Tor - the home of Anluan, master and cripple. He hires her for a summer, but when war seems to be on the horizon, Caitrin must be able to overcome her fears in order to help save this place she starts to call home.

I love this book. Marillier is such a talented writer for these re-imagined fairy tales. This story pays a near-perfect homage to Beauty and the Beast. It is absolutely beautiful because it takes the story but makes it completely new. I don't say that lightly. We can see the shell of the original fairy tale, but these characters, the situation, the struggles are all new. Beautiful.

The characters are written so well. I love how Caitrin is a strong woman. Not through physical strength, but through her convictions.
Marillier does such a wonderful job writing a woman who can be strong without punching idiots left and right. Usually strong women in books end up as a stereotypical "kick-ass" heroine who asserts her strength by actual muscle and playing ball with the big boys. Here, Marillier accomplishes it by letting Caitrin face her fears and stick to her convictions. She doesn't run away when the chips fall, she doesn't shirk her duty even though she bone-scared. And she presses on forward. Strength in the subtlety. A rare find in books these days.

I love how Anluan is not the stereotypical beast, but rather a cripple. A homage to the true story of a man who is no longer a man, reduced to something else. I love the way the relationship develops. Not the ridiculous insta-attraction, but something slow and sweet from care to friendship to love. It is so real, so raw.

And though these two are the main characters, I loved every single character in this book. Fleshed out, important side characters.

I loved how the two main characters were given time to face their fears alone on their two feet before the war begins. Their strength isn't goopy, sappy, imagined strength from the ohmigahd power of love! (sarcastic). Rather, it's found within themselves first. They fix themselves first before falling into something so deep and committed as a relationship. It's a relationship done right..

Perhaps the only weakness in the story is the amount of history that was thrown at us in the beginning - but that is also fairly necessary for reader understanding, so it's fine. But I had a little trouble sifting through what was important and what was extraneous. Ah well, that's history for you.

Four and a half stars because it was so, so lovely. I haven't read a beautiful fairy-tale adaptation like this is a while. I rounded down (and didn't give it that last 0.5 star) because even thought it was beautiful and I have pretty much nothing but compliments and declarations of love for this book.... it didn't give me the shivers, if that makes sense. It didn't make my heart ache as much as I hoped. Despite the brilliant story and wonderful characters, I wish there were more parts that made me gasp and hurt and love and hate. But that isn't something that one can just prescribe to an author. But it is a requirement for that last 0.5 star for me.
Very highly recommended for anyone who loves a slow, beautiful romance with a bit of a fairy tale twist. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Caitrin is a scribe running away from her past when she stumbles into a strange, enchanted city. At the heart of this place filled with whispering townspeople and strangle ghosts in the woods is Whistling Tor - the home of Anluan, master and cripple. He hires her for a summer, but when war seems to be on the horizon, Caitrin must be able to overcome her fears in order to help save this place she starts to call home.

I love this book. Marillier is such a talented writer for these re-imagined fairy tales. This story pays a near-perfect homage to Beauty and the Beast. It is absolutely beautiful because it takes the story but makes it completely new. I don't say that lightly. We can see the shell of the original fairy tale, but these characters, the situation, the struggles are all new. Beautiful.

The characters are written so well. I love how Caitrin is a strong woman. Not through physical strength, but through her convictions.
Marillier does such a wonderful job writing a woman who can be strong without punching idiots left and right. Usually strong women in books end up as a stereotypical "kick-ass" heroine who asserts her strength by actual muscle and playing ball with the big boys. Here, Marillier accomplishes it by letting Caitrin face her fears and stick to her convictions. She doesn't run away when the chips fall, she doesn't shirk her duty even though she bone-scared. And she presses on forward. Strength in the subtlety. A rare find in books these days.

I love how Anluan is not the stereotypical beast, but rather a cripple. A homage to the true story of a man who is no longer a man, reduced to something else. I love the way the relationship develops. Not the ridiculous insta-attraction, but something slow and sweet from care to friendship to love. It is so real, so raw.

And though these two are the main characters, I loved every single character in this book. Fleshed out, important side characters.

I loved how the two main characters were given time to face their fears alone on their two feet before the war begins. Their strength isn't goopy, sappy, imagined strength from the ohmigahd power of love! (sarcastic). Rather, it's found within themselves first. They fix themselves first before falling into something so deep and committed as a relationship. It's a relationship done right..

Perhaps the only weakness in the story is the amount of history that was thrown at us in the beginning - but that is also fairly necessary for reader understanding, so it's fine. But I had a little trouble sifting through what was important and what was extraneous. Ah well, that's history for you.

Four and a half stars because it was so, so lovely. I haven't read a beautiful fairy-tale adaptation like this is a while. I rounded down (and didn't give it that last 0.5 star) because even thought it was beautiful and I have pretty much nothing but compliments and declarations of love for this book.... it didn't give me the shivers, if that makes sense. It didn't make my heart ache as much as I hoped. Despite the brilliant story and wonderful characters, I wish there were more parts that made me gasp and hurt and love and hate. But that isn't something that one can just prescribe to an author. But it is a requirement for that last 0.5 star for me.
Very highly recommended for anyone who loves a slow, beautiful romance with a bit of a fairy tale twist. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I approached Heart’s Blood with great anticipation but ended it with disappointment. What I adored about Marillier’s YA fantasies [b:Wildwood Dancing|13929|Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood, #1)|Juliet Marillier|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320541546s/13929.jpg|2024857]and [b:Cybele's Secret|963508|Cybele's Secret (Wildwood, #2)|Juliet Marillier|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1335030790s/963508.jpg|948409] was the lush writing, achingly sweet romances, and meandering yet still intricate plots. Sadly, all of those elements were missing in Heart’s Blood.

As I sat down to dig into this book, I was initially thrown off by the writing style, particularly the dialogue. I expected it to improve as I read on and grew accustomed to it, but unfortunately, the writing was weak for me throughout. I found the dialogue stilted; it was awkwardly formal while also sounding a shade too modern. As a result, the entire rhythm of the book was off for me because I was thrown out of the story whenever a character spoke. Marillier also relied on another writing no-no of mine: internal dialogue. When I wasn’t distracted by the spoken dialogue, I was irritated by the heroine Caitrin’s thoughts. I loathe inner dialogue, since as a rule, it seems that all human beings sort of loathe themselves on the inside. Thus all inner dialogue is too full of diffidence. I totally acknowledge that if my thoughts were presented to the world, they would not be that interesting because most of them are inane and selfish. I think most people’s thoughts are like this, so while a self-effacing and dull inner dialogue is rather realistic, I don’t appreciate this element of reality in literature. Inner dialogue is too pathetic and boring, and I hated hearing Caitrin’s steady roll of silly thoughts.

In terms of plot, Heart’s Blood was not much better. Everything about this book was so obvious to me as a reader, but of course, painfully non-obvious to the characters. A book needs conflict, but if I can see the resolution to a conflict with no difficulty, is it truly a conflict? Furthermore, if the conflict develops due to idiotic decisions on the part of the characters, is that a truly a conflict? No and no. I predicted everything that happened miles ahead of time. There was little complexity; there were no problems without easy solutions. This issue especially came to head with the romantic plot. Most of the reviews I’ve read praised the slow-burning romance, but to me, the romance was unsuccessful because there was never any question that things would not work out.

Because of these weaknesses, Heart’s Blood was very trite to me. Even the theme itself—the idea that anyone can overcome tough times with inner strength and hope—is a bit too afterschool Disney special. Although many reviewers loved this tale, I found it too simplistic. I enjoy being challenged as I read, and unfortunately, Heart’s Blood didn’t encourage me to think strenuously in any way. ( )
  IAmChrysanthemum | Jun 8, 2013 |
I'm not sure Heart's Blood actually stands with my other five star books in terms of how much I loved it, but it's the first of Juliet Marillier's books I've read (the other two being Wildwood Dancing and Cybele's Secret) that I felt genuinely excited about and eager to read, once I'd started. I ended up loving it quite a lot, with 'just a few more pages' syndrome and, near the end, excited little eeps and sighs. I'd hoped to enjoy Marillier's work more than I did, so it was lovely to thoroughly enjoy this, and that's probably inflated my rating an extra star.

I do have reservations about it -- the narrator, the main character, was not very well differentiated from Marillier's other narrators. There was the same tone, the same inclinations... There were differences in the characters, and they're certainly not carbon copies, but it didn't come through in her tone.

I was also a little put out by how quickly I realised the true identity of a certain character, and how long it took the main character to realise the same.

But, yes, for the most part, I loved it. It's an inventive retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it has a disabled protagonist, the issues of abuse which hover around it like a cloud from the very first pages are well-handled... I could believe in the situation, whole-heartedly: I enjoyed the setting, and the supporting characters, and believed in how they related to each other. For the first half of it, I couldn't predict what was going to happen, and I couldn't predict the way Marillier was going to reinterpret the story.

If there's to be a series, as I've seen suggested, then I'll definitely buy any subsequent books. But it does stand alone, too: it has a proper resolution, and the end is hopeful and suggesting the future without requiring follow-up, as such. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
This historical fantasy was a bit of a disappointment for me. It's the first book I've read by Juliet Marillier, although I've thought about starting one of her series several times (they always have fabulous covers!). The setting is medieval Ireland, and the tale combines elements of Beauty and the Beast with Celtic folklore. The book is dense and it took me a long time to finish. There are lots of details and scenes of everyday life. At the center of the book is a really interesting plot and likable romantic leads, but for me, all of that got lost within dull surroundings. I guess I like my fantasy a little more action-oriented. The romance, too, builds very slowly. At times Heart's Blood reminded me of a Patricia McKillip novel, with its Celtic mythology and romantic storytelling, but where McKillip seems to choose each word carefully for the utmost lyrical impact, Marillier uses twenty words where five would do. If you like your fantasy dreamy and long-winded, this one's for you. Personally, I don't know if I would read another book by this author or not. Two and a half stars. ( )
  allthesedarnbooks | Feb 25, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Juliet Marillierprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Delon, MelanieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Godfrey-Nicholls, GayeCalligraphersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van der Kuil, WillieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Saskia and Irie with love
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At a place where two tracks met, the carter brought his horse to a sudden halt.
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Book description
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress belonging to Anluan - a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the region in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people, adn the woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.
Then the young scribe Caitrin appears in Anluan's garden, admiring the rare plant known as heart's blood Retained to sort through entangled family documents, Caitrin brings about unexpected change in the household, casting a hopeful light against the despairing shadows.

But even as Caitrin brings solace to Anluan, and the promise of something more between them, he remains in thrall to the darkness surrounding Whistling Tor. To free Anluan's burdened soul, Caitrin must unravel the web of sorcery woven by his ancestors before it claims his life - and their love.
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Anluan has been crippled since childhood, part of a curse that has besieged his family and his home of Whistling Tor. But when the young scribe Caitrin is retained to sort through family documents, she brings about unexpected changes in the household, casting a hopeful light against the despairing shadows. But to truly free Anluan's burdened soul, Caitrin must unravel the web of sorcery woven by his ancestors before it claims his life-and their love.… (more)

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