Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Narrator: Ruth Urquhart
Published by Tantor Audio on October 16, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 16 hours, 10 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious, wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of 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.
Juliet Marillier is a favorite author so when I saw this standalone was being released on audio I was thrilled to try it. Heart’s Blood is a sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling. The world was fascinating with its magic. The setting is historical Ireland during the Norman invasion.
The main characters are Caitrin, a scribe, who left home after her father’s death, and Anluan, the chieftain of Whistling Tor. Both of them have been abused in some ways. Over the story, they give each other hope and strength to develop beyond what they thought they could manage. Caitrin had already taken a first step in her personal growth when she left home.
Caitrin works in the library to organize all the papers and diaries in different languages for Anluan. He is trying to find some information about the magic his great-grandfather did which left an odd situation. Matters go from bad to worse when the Normans come to invade. Both must use their best wits and confidence to find information in time. It’s suspenseful with a blast of action racing up to the invasion.
I enjoyed this so very much. I loved the character’s growth and compassion for others. Caitrin builds a whole circle of friends at Whistling Tor, Magic is a favorite of mine so it was fun to see this version. The plot twists kept me guessing all along how things would happen. I was completely engaged and highly recommend this.
Ruth Urquhart has a unique voice. With the main point of view being Caitrin, I think of her as Caitrin in my head. It seemed Anluan was pronounced more like Anulan, which is irrelevant to the story. I didn’t realize it until I saw the spelling of his name in the blurb. The other voices were performed well as male and female but none so distinct as the main character. I wasn’t sure if I would like the voice but I settled into it quickly at my usual 1.25x speed. I would definitely listen to a clip for a few minutes as it is very unusual. In the end, it added to the feel and quality of the story for me.
Listen to a clip:
- Conquer the Kingdom by Jennifer Estep @Jennifer_Estep @HarperVoyagerUS@avonbooks @LaurenFortgang#LoveAudiobooks - March 23, 2023
- Red Queen by Juan Gomez-Jurado @JuanGomezJurado @StMartinsPress @MinotaurBooks - March 21, 2023
- Sunday Post –19 March 2023 @kimbacaffeinate @readingreality - March 19, 2023
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2018 Audiobook Challenge
- 2018 New Release Challenge
I have not read this author before but it sounds like a great story. I wonder if I would have had more trouble with the narration. Thanks for putting this one on my radar!
This is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I have read her Grim & Blackthorn series which was amazing. I have purchased but not yet read the Sevenwaters series. This is a great standalone. I think Grim & Blackthorn is better but this is really great too.
This sounds lovely, Anne. Really enjoyed your review.
Thank you! I just loved it. This is a favorite author. The narrator had such a distinct voice too.
O.o I read this recently after finishing all the Blackthorn and Grimm books. I totally would have waited if I knew audio was coming. I liked this re-envisioned Beauty and the Beast telling. The mirrors and horde were a few of my favorite things.
I really loved this. It was just so fun and interesting. I have enjoyed everything I have read from this author. She has a new series coming out in January and I already have it on my review calendar. I’m stalking Netgalley for it.
I’m unfamiliar with her books, but I do love historical fantasy and that time period. The Beauty and Beast aspect along with Ruth’s narration is a definite draw. Glad you enjoy it, Anne!
I honestly don’t think I’ve tried this author Anne. But yes for a retelling of Beauty and the Beast + standalone! I liked the narration sample.
OMG The Grim & Blackthorn trilogy is amazing. I read them and now bought them on audio. I haven’t listened to them yet and I don’t know the narrators. It is the same trio for each book. I’ve also started buying the Sevenwaters but need to start reading it. But I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her.
The narration was very unusual and that’s part of what I liked – distinct.