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Heart's Blood (Roc Fantasy) Mass Market Paperback – October 5, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wearing her influences openly and simply, Marillier (Heir to Sevenwaters) incorporates familiar elements of mystery, fantasy and Irish history into a strong tale of very human romance. Trained by her father as a scribe, 18-year-old Caitrin yearns to practice her craft, but she must first escape a forced marriage to a brutal man. Her flight takes her to Whistling Tor, where the crippled, cursed chieftain Anluan rules over a wasteland of horrors. Against the odds, Caitrin makes a place for herself in a household of ghosts and in Anluan's heart, but when the Norman conquerors arrive, violence once again threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. Not innovative but eminently readable, Caitrin and Anluan's love story is bittersweetly realistic, best suited to romance readers who like a bit of fantasy rather than fantasy readers who like a bit of romance. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Set in Ireland during the twelfth-century Norman invasion, Marillier’s outstanding fantasy is a Beauty and the Beast tale with gothic sensibilities. Fleeing an abusive suitor, Caitrin arrives in Whistling Tor penniless and uncertain of her future. She becomes a scribe for the chieftain Anluan, who lives in a neglected hilltop fortress, but the job has perils rivaling her own. Mercurial and physically crippled, Anluan is beset by revenants, thanks to an ancestral curse. Those otherworldly forces wish only rest, but a whispering voice drives them to violence whenever Anluan leaves the hill. Caitrin believes that the secret to breaking the curse lies in the family records. Though her presence brings much needed hope and love to Anluan, it also puts them in danger. Caitrin and Anluan are a dynamic couple. No longer willing to be passive victims, they struggle to overcome the past and make their destinies. Though the folkloric structure and gothic tropes are predictable, and the pacing occasionally lags, in Marillier’s capable hands, this is a rousing supernatural mystery and a satisfying romance. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Roc Fantasy
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451463269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451463265
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Juliet Marillier; counting this one I've now read eight of her books. Quality-wise, I'd say Heart's Blood is nearly on par with the Sevenwaters books (generally regarded as her best), although it's certainly different.

The story is part fairy-tale-retelling, with some obvious "Beauty and the Beast" parallels--although it has little in common with the Disney movie; on the most basic level, the male lead isn't giant and furry, and there are no talking candelabra--and I've seen the author call it part ghost story as well. I hesitate to agree: I don't do horror at all, and still loved this book. There are a lot of undead characters wandering around, but it's still squarely in the realm of fantasy rather than horror. This book also has a stronger mystery component than I've seen from this author before; most of the "secrets" revealed early on are quite obvious, but some actual surprises are held back until the end. And of course there's the romance element--to my mind, Marillier can't go wrong writing romance, so that was good as always.

Heart's Blood is set in 12th century Ireland, and I got more of a feel for the actual, historical place than I have in previous books from this author; while a good portion of the action of the book takes place in the uncanny fortress of Whistling Tor, we also get to see some of the regular, outside world through the eyes of a middle-class girl. The characters are in the same mold as Marillier's characters usually are: strong, independent (perhaps anachronistically so, but I'm not complaining) heroine; hero who's her dream man but needs her help working through personal issues.... but there are plot-related reasons for all of this, so it didn't feel to me like a mere recycling of a formula.
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Format: Hardcover
As soon as I heard that Juliet Marillier had written her own version of Beauty and the Beast I knew I had to read it. I admit I've had this one checked out from the library for quite awhile waiting for the right mood before I began. I think Marillier has a very unique way of writing; she is able to create a lot of atmosphere in her novels. She does go into a lot of detail and spends a lot of time on world building and character development. I think that is why I have to be in the right mood before reading one of her books.

While the book certainly reminded me of Beauty and the Beast, it also reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre. There are a lot of similarities to both stories, yet Marillier truly created a unique story that I think stood on its own. While the plot was somewhat similar to Jane Eyre, Marillier really creates her own magic and unusual characters. Caitrin was a unique heroine. I liked her, for the most part. I was of course sad by the physical abuse she suffered by her aunt and cousin, but she found the courage within herself to leave and find a better life. At times though, she seemed almost too hopeful, when something went wrong she would feel bad, but then quickly be hopeful and positive again. Which I guess isn't a bad thing; at times I would have liked a little more anger or something. Anyway, as for Anluan. I did like him, I understand why he was negative and hard on himself. I liked to see the growth that he went through and the changes he made. To be honest though, I didn't feel that much chemistry between the two. At times it felt more like good friends then romance. It seemed like the two were falling in love, but neither really showed it to the other. But, in the end I was happy with how everything turned out and felt they were right for each other.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Juliet Marillier and when I read the the excerpt for 'Heart's Blood', I couldn't wait to read it! It is rare for me to write a review, but I feel a need to write one and will try to do the book justice.

If you've read the excerpt (or if you haven't - you should!), the reader gets a sense of the atmosphere of the book. Even though it is based in Ireland (like the Sevenwaters books) there is an air of mystery while reading. Right from the start the heroine, Caitrin, encounters two men while walking to the nearest village. But before she enters the village, the greeting is not welcoming and notices the men are no longer with her. She is hesitantly allowed in and while staying at the inn, they tell her tales of Whistling Tor: the whispering voices, the massive dog, and the chieftain who is under a curse and no one from the village stays at his keep for long because of fear. But Caitrin cares not for these tales, for she is running away from something more realistic and frightening that ghost stories. She has ran away from home and is need to find a safe place to stay and employment - Caitrin is a craftswoman, a scribe, taught by her father. She overhears the next morning that the chieftain is looking for a scribe and she grabs her chance. They are surprised she would want to work they and warn against it. Through her eyes we see her introduction to Whistling Tor, its inhabitants and its mystery.

Juliet Marillier is a master of creating (or recreating) world's that one can practically smell the dusty library, damp walls, and homey kitchen. I was constantly wondering about the mystery behind the curse and how it would be broken. If you are used to the extensive lore and history from the Sevenwaters books, you will find 'Heart's Blood' lighter.
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