Tower of Thorns continues the story, as Blackthorn and Grim settled in Dalriada, waiting out the seven years' bond to Conmael. They hope that troubleTower of Thorns continues the story, as Blackthorn and Grim settled in Dalriada, waiting out the seven years' bond to Conmael. They hope that trouble won't find them. Unfortunately, Lady Geiléis and her men arrive from the North seeking help from the Crown Prince. Hers is a strange story about a howling creature trapped in a tower surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. This creature's howling casts a sort of dark spell on the Lady's lands, killing animals and causing its inhabitants to suffer from terminal depression and disorientation. He has been present for almost two years, and all attempts to drive him away by ordinary means have failed. The prince consults Blackthorn and Grim, and against their better judgment they set off to solve the puzzle of the monster in the tower. Meanwhile, Blackthorn finds herself conflicted when an opportunity arises to seek revenge against the man who destroyed her loved ones and held her in his foul prison, but to do so, she feels the need to lie to Grim in case she has to leave him safely behind.
Although Tower of Thorns again incorporates a fairytale-style storyline along with Blackthorn and Grim's ongoing thread, there are quite a few differences to be found. Marillier's fairytale is not only darker than in her first book, but also more complex. The 'monster in the tower' surrounded by a thicket of thorns sounds familiar, yet it is unique. The writing has a dreamy quality at times, and yet at others, there is an earth-bound sense to it. Marillier achieves this by utilizing different points of view. Lady Geiléis provides part of that dream-like quality through characterization, as well as through her slow narrative of events leading to the advent of the 'monster in the tower.' Meanwhile, Blackthorn's and Grim's points of view, Grim's in particular, bring the reader back to reality within the boundaries of this fantasy.
The main and, most importantly, the key secondary characters involved, are on the grey side, not black and white. Blackthorn and Grim are further developed in this second book. In Marillier's hands, Blackthorn's bitterness becomes a palpable thing, however as her courage is challenged, the depth of her inner strength and vulnerabilities are revealed. Grim's emotionally devastating backstory, on the other hand, is fully disclosed to the reader in Tower of Thorns. As this story progresses, his character becomes a stronger force within this series, as well as more endearing to the reader. Hidden agendas are a theme in Tower of Thorns, ensuring that Lady Geiléis' character, unlike Oran's in Dreamer's Pool, is as grey as grey can be. She is not the only one though, because the fey, and even the monster and other characters involved in this excellent fantasy, play a double game.
The events, as they unfold, are rendered in such a way as to convey a real sense of danger to both Blackthorn and Grim. It keeps the reader wondering about that final piece to the puzzle. There are unexpected twists to the end of the fairytale, as well as to Blackthorn's plans for revenge. So that, even if the reader believes predictability will factor in, they may just change their minds once the end is reached. Highly recommended. ...more
In Bloodlines the tone is lighter. Nick is moving on and has found peace. Yet, the specter that was AIDS in the 1980's still haunts the reader. The twIn Bloodlines the tone is lighter. Nick is moving on and has found peace. Yet, the specter that was AIDS in the 1980's still haunts the reader. The two mysteries are interesting and involved, however, for me, the interpersonal relationships make this book a winner. Actually, Thornton's Boystown series is an all-around winner and a must read!...more
I put off reading From the Ashes. The beginning is grim after the events that occurred in Murder Book (Book #5), but as I have come to expect from Mr.I put off reading From the Ashes. The beginning is grim after the events that occurred in Murder Book (Book #5), but as I have come to expect from Mr. Thornton, this is another excellent addition to the Boystown series. The slow development of Nick's "rebirth" was perfection, as were the mystery and contributions by secondary characters. A 5 star read. ...more
Accessible literary fiction that reads like a memoir. Written in short, connected chapters that move backwards and forward in time. The beauty of langAccessible literary fiction that reads like a memoir. Written in short, connected chapters that move backwards and forward in time. The beauty of language and its fluidity are key to this story about a Vietnamese immigrant recalling her childhood journey from Vietnam to Quebec, Canada, and going on to relate life as an adult. This novel won the Canadian 2010 Governor General's Literary Award and, in my opinion, deservedly so....more