Review 185. Juliet Marillier – Heart’s blood.

Title: Heart’s blood.6278019
Author: Juliet Marillier.
Pages: 405.
Published: October 2nd 2009
Publisher: Tor.
Sort: Part one of ‘Whistling Tor.’
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. Surrounded by a wooded hill, and unknown presences, the crumbling fortress is owned by a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom. For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitrin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.

This book is a loose retelling of Beauty and the beast and she manages to capture the sphere perfectly. As you might now, Beauty and the beast is my favorite fairytale and she does it justice. The characters are flawed, but have great characteristic features and you have to root for them. I liked the plot, the pacing and the world-building. This book is a re-read for me, but it’s just as good as the first time. It deserves it’s 5+ rating without any doubt and I highly recommend this book (or any of her other work) I’m so happy that I finally can review this book, so more people might pick up this wonderful piece of work!

Caitrin ran away from her abusive aunt and cousin after the death of her father. Her mother passed away years ago and her sister fled away in a marriage with a musician. Her father taught her the skills of writing and reading - when she arrives at a mysterious village, she hears someone asking around for a translator. Caitrin accepts and comes to live in Whistling Tor with Anluan. He is troubled by a hundred years old curse and a wounded body. He is looking for a cure and Caitrin needs to translate old diaries to help him. She is sucked into the scary and bloody past, where someone made an army from ghosts. Ghost only Anluan can control.

I liked the paranormal aspect and the original twist to the story. It makes the story a bit darker and interesting. The constant treat of the hoard and the rage they have gave this book a thrilling undertone. I also appreciate the fact that it’s not an obvious retelling; this book can stand on it’s own.

One of the things I love about Marillier are her characters. Caitrin is an admirable young girl. Skilled with writing and reading (something that wasn’t normal in this time period), loyal, fierce and caring. I like how she starts to fall in love with Anluan, despite his appearance and difficult temper. Anluan is plagued and tired of controlling the ghosts. He became a cripple when he was young – losing the control over his right side. This makes him insecure and he hides away in his castle. He is afraid to get close to Caitrin, because he expects her to go away like everybody else. Caitrin is still able to see him for who he is and his constructed walls are falling down. Their slow romance was cute. Two broken people who are trying to find their place in life. They take care of each other and they are supportive. It was fun to see Anluan change from the bitter, angry man to a leader who takes responsibilities. He has some great developed friends – I love these secondary characters. They completed the story for me. They all have distinct voices and an important place in the story.

Some twist to the story are a bit obvious, but I was still amazed by the way Marillier blends everything together. Every little detail becomes an important part of the story and the ending is perfect. We get the climax this story deserves, with all the pieces falling together. Everything is solved and they all get to have a happily-ever-after. I’m very much looking forward to more books in this series.


  1. This is the first review of Heart's Blood that I have come across since joining the book blogging community! It's one of my favourite books of all time, and I am so glad to have found another fan! :D
    Sadly, this isn't the first book in the series, and Marillier doesn't plan to further Caitrin's and Anluan's story (at the moment).
    Have you read any of her other books? They are all just as amazing as this one!
    Great review, Melanie ^.^
    Chiara @ Books For A Delicate Eternity

    1. Woehoe, I always love to meet other Marillier fans! It's a shame that few people know about this book, it's fantastic. And yes, I've read her other books as well :) She is an amazing author.

  2. Hi Melanie! This is my first time to see this book. The Plot sounds awesome and your review made me want to read it. I love happily-ever-after!


  3. I haven't seen this one before but it looks pretty good.

    Thanks for putting this under my radar, Melanie! <33

  4. Never heard of this book before :) But so so glad you loved it a second time as well. <3 glad you loved the romance and the characters and the story. Might have to check it out :) thank you for sharing <3

  5. I've been meaning to read this book for some time. I am so glad you loved it. I always like when retellings are similar but different enough to stand on their own. Like Marissa Meyer's books. And I have heard so many great things about Juliet Marillier's work.

  6. I have yet to read anything by Marillier (I know, I'm embarassed, believe me), but I did get my hands on the audio version of Daughter of the Forest so I'll be listening to that very soon. Everyone seems to like her books.
    Great review, Mel!

    1. I hope you will! She is great and I think most people will like her :)

  7. Wow, this sounds great. Characters play a huge part in books for me (... as you probably know, due to that mini rant in my previous comment :P), so that alone pulls me in already. And I love how the secondary characters didn't go forgotten either. Actually, Marillier's writing kind of reminds me J.K. Rowling's! Like how every small piece matters and how they both have the ability to blend things together.

    Wonderful review, Mel, and thanks for putting this one on my radar! I sincerely hope I get to read it in the future.

    1. Haha, I think characters are important for most readers. In a certain way, she does feel like Rowling yes!

  8. This is one of my all time favourite books! Such an amazing story, even if it is predictable at times. The gorgeous writing and fantastic characters make up for it though. I really hope we do get more books, but haven't really heard anything yet.

    Lovely review! It's great to have found someone who loved it as much as I did. Now I really want to reread it :)

    Bec @ Ransom Reads

    1. Yes, it's great when I find someone else who loves this book. I wish her books were more popular in the blogging world!

  9. YAYYY!! I'm so happy you loved it! It's been sitting on my shelf for ages and now I'm really excited about it being there again! :D I didn't even realise it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling... I'm so bad at just buying books because the cover looks interesting...

  10. I've had this book on my reading list for a very long time so I was pretty psyched reading through your review! I LOVE how much love you have for this book and this author :D

    The paranormal aspect added in there sounds really fresh, and like you said it sounds like it gives the book a darker vibe. I'm also a fan of how you described the characters!! Eeep, this is exciting, thanks for the lovely review :)


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