Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

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Heart’s blood by Juliet Marillier is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, in which the magic elements (the mirror, the rose) are put in a defined historical context, The XII century Ireland during the Norman invasion.

Caitrin is a young scribe and she is running away from an abusive family, and chooses to propose her service as translator and writer at Whistling Tor, a fortress surrounded by woods, known as malicious.

Whistling Tor, and its chieftain Anluan, are subjected of a malediction lasting for more than one hundred years: the surrounding hills are populated by the dead people come again alive, and only Anluan mental control stops them in devastating the surrounding areas.

Anluan is presented as a resigned character: because of an illness as children he has some physical impairments, and he thinks he is not suited for his role, but the arrival of Caitrin will change the situation and bring hope again.

I found this novel excessively long and obvious: Caitrin keeps on talking about hope, probably in the logic of repetita juvant, and the final turning of events is quite foreseeable.

The love story between the two main characters (Caitrin e Anluan) is thick as a leaf, we are told they are in love, and we have to believe it, despite the fact that they met a couple or times exchanging a few words.

Too bad, because other elements are innovative, like the creepy mirrors, the sorcery operated by one of Anluan’s ancestry, and the historical dimension that was partly exploited.


* Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in english

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[ARC] This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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This Is Where It Ends seemed to have all the features of an engaging novel: the story of Tyler, a student, who brings guns at his high school and begins kill his former schoolmates, the narration divided among different characters who once knew the person who became a killer.

But keeping on the reader ends up disappointed, and I agree with other online review that point out two main issues of the story:

  1. the narrating voices in the end seem to be only one: the author creates various characters (and points of view) whohowever share mostly a single kind of feeling. The characterization lacks emotionality and the only way to discriminate characters is for something the book tells us (about their past, about their behaviour).
  2. Tyler was a potentiality for the novel, in understanding or deepen his reasons and his character. Instead the novel, in the various POVs, shows the reader an evil guy, and it adds also other evils to his story, building, in the end, a quite dull and mono-dimensional bad guy.

I did not grow fond of any of the characters, and I think the novel failed in chosing not to talk about the most complex character (ending instead in a simplification of his story), the one so exasperated to take a gun and kill his former schoolmates.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp ★☆☆☆

*I read this book in English