Book Review: Heart’s Blood
By Juliet Marillier
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. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
The author, Juliet Marillier, describes Heart’s Blood as having the bones of Beauty and the Beast, though she wanted a strong female protagonist and a love story where the two characters are instrumental in saving each other.
There are elements that I thought were good literary choices. I liked the setting in Medieval Scotland, I liked the choices of Caitrin’s being so distraught over the loss of her father and that the “beast” was a man who had been afflicted by a palsy (stroke). I also enjoyed all of the secondary characters.
I had a few problems with this book. On the first page Marillier employs a very trite phrase, “…he asked, eyeing me up and down as if I were a prime cut of beef.” My outlook was diminished for the entire book and prejudiced me against the writing at that point. My next problem was that I felt like the reading level is for Junior High and some of the content was too adult for this age bracket. There are a couple of sexual references, a detailed fantasy and a full sex scene. My thoughts are that sexual content should be more innuendo and less explicit for the YA genre. At this point I also didn’t like the violence of the torture scenes though that complaint pales in the face of the level of sexual content.
Though Marillier had interesting ideas, Heart’s Blood was not my favorite. My daughter and I discussed the book and she used the phrase, “trashy not classy” in regards to the sexuality and she chose not to read it.
– the Mother