Blackthorn and Grim Series Review

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This series has to be, hands down, one of my favorite series of all time. I love everything about it. Especially the message that compassion can conquer anything.

What it’s All About:

The Blackthorn and Grim Series by Juliet Marillier starts out with the main characters: Blackthorn and Grim, imprisoned by a local lord. Blackthorn is offered freedom by a mysterious individual but if she accepts she has to go back to what she was before, a healer. Something she is unsure she can do. She then makes her way to a remote and isolated dwelling. While she doesn’t expect (or want) any help, she gets it in the form of Grim. When they reach the village they quickly find that not everything is as it seems.

Each novel in this trilogy has the pair solving some sort of mystery and while they solve it gradually more of their backgrounds and personalities are revealed.

My Thoughts:

Each novel in the series is set up with 3 viewpoints with an occasional 4th perspective thrown in here and there. Two of the viewpoints always belong to Blackthorn and Grim, our heroes. The third perspective typically belongs to a character who is caught up in the mystery that Blackthorn and Grim have to solve. I really enjoyed this setup. The author is clearly able to distinguish each voice not by the name of the chapter but by the individual voice created for each character. The writing style for Blackthorn is completely distinct from Grim’s and their voices are distinct from the other characters chapters we read. Each voice fits each character perfectly and it provides a wonderful reading experience. Overall, the prose in these novels is spectacular, so lyrical and fits the story to a T.

The themes in this series are truly what makes this series so special. Especially, the theme of redemption. When we meet these characters they believe they are irredeemable, but throughout the series, they are gradually proven wrong. They each see each other in a positive light and, through the other, they begin to see themselves the same way. This relationship between the characters is another wonderful part of this series. The author does a fantastic job of creating characters that aren’t perfect but that are beautiful characters you root for. The characters make this series quite an emotional one, especially when we learn about their pasts. (When I read about Grim’s past I still cry)

I love this series and the magical setting Juliet Marillier creates in all of her novels. The setting where the characters live is a described beautifully and magically as well as the places the characters visit. The author is truly gifted at creating a beautiful and layered setting.

But as I said earlier my favorite aspect of this novel was the voices that the author gives each character how it captures the essence of the character when we hear their thoughts and how it made me more emotionally invested in their story. This series really is something special and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a wonderful story.


Books in the Series:

  1. Dreamer’s Pool 
  2. Tower of Thorns
  3. Den of Wolves
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Series Review: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries

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My Review

I think it’s no secret that I love history, so the fact that I liked the Sebastian St Cyr Mysteries by C.S. Harris was no surprise. As a historical mystery series, it seems pretty obvious that I would be interested but what came as a shock was how much I loved them and enjoyed reading them over and over.

The Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries are set in Regency England (think Jane Austen) but instead of just portraying the glittering, beautiful upper-classes this series also delves into the darker side of England’s upper class, that wealth, privilege and power can corrupt and allow people to get away with their crimes. But that is where our protagonist Sebastian, as part of the nobility, can investigate his peers that are above the reach of the people who aren’t in the same social strata. The series begins with Sebastian accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Along the way, readers meet people who help and become indispensable to Sebastian throughout the series.

I love this series for a variety of reasons. The first one is the historical settings in each of the novels. The author includes various true historical events from the Regency period that are incorporated into the story and plot. The author has a background in history and it clearly shows in her novels, she does a great job of intertwining the fictional and the true. At times it was like a springboard to learn about different historical events.

The second thing that I love about the series is also my favorite thing from the novels: the characters. They are incredibly fleshed out (haha) and are made three dimensional and complex with their emotions. Throughout the series, readers discover the motivations behind the characters as you keep reading the series. This book series is definitely a character-driven one almost as much as it is driven by the mystery.

The relationships between the characters is also a reason I love the series. spoilers Especially the relationship between Sebastian and Hero. Their beginning is rough but they eventually overcome their initial animosity and end up realizing that they make quite a team.

Honestly, I have to admit that the mysteries aren’t exactly what drives me to read these novels, the aforementioned reasons are the real reason I read these series. But as this is a mystery series I figured I should probably discuss the mysteries. The mysteries are usually very good and addicting enough to keep me reading. Occasionally, however, the mysteries can get a little-overcomplicated leading to a lengthy explanation or rather the infamous an info dump. But on the whole, the mysteries are intriguing.

This series is a favorite of mine and has become something of a comfort read for when I need a palate cleanser, break a reading slump or to just as a pick me up. I would recommend this as a good place to start with mysteries, especially for any romance reader. 5/5 stars.

First Book: What Angels Fear 

Book Review: Grant by Jean Edward Smith

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Let me start this off by saying that Grant happens to be my favorite President. It’s not because of any of the great things he accomplished but rather because he had the courage to do what so many people do not. He was able to fail. He was able to dust himself off and try again. Grant was flawed, yes, but Grant was able to overcome his failures. He had the courage to keep trying. Ulysses Grant had the tenacity to keep moving forward even when things were at their roughest. Continue reading

Book Review: The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J Sullivan

I recently read and reviewed (link to review here) the first book in Michael J. Sullivan’s new series: Age of Myth and was left wanting more. So to fill the void I listened to the newest book in The Riyria Chronicles, The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter. I have high expectations when it comes to Michael J Sullivan and this book did not disappoint. Continue reading

Book Review: Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

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Have you ever put off reading a book because your afraid that it won’t measure up to the author’s previous works? No? Just me? Okay lol. In the case of Age of Myth, book one of the Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan, that’s what happened. I’d wanted to read this book since it was released but I put it off because I was afraid there was no way this series could be as good as the Riyria series’ (Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles). But since I was in the mood for a good story I picked Age of Myth up while I was at the bookstore. My fears, however, proved groundless. I found this book just as compelling as the Riyria books. (although, Hadrian remains my favorite character and probably always will). Continue reading

Ladies Guide to History: The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney

Who Was She?

Hatshepsut was a woman who had the courage to take power and the fortitude to hold that power in a society where women in power went against the status quo. Because she went against the status quo she was often thought of as power hungry, and that she stole power from the true (male) owner of that power. The author, Kara Cooney, of The Woman Who Would Be King goes a long way in proving Hatshepsut’s story was different than what was previously believed. Continue reading

Mini Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

IMG_1839Recently I picked up The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden while looking for a good fantasy novel. I chose The Bear and the Nightingale because it was blurbed Robin Hobb along with some other fantasy heavy hitters. The Bear and the Nightingale follows Vasilisa, as she grows up in Russia, with the ability to see and interact with spirits and creatures of folklore. Read the goodreads summary here. Continue reading