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Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier is a beautiful fairytale full of broken characters and a disturbing mystery. If you are tired of worrying about romance ruining perfectly good friendships, but also kind of like the sweet naïveté of the adorable secondary characters sometimes, Dreamer’s Pool is probably your book. Dreamer’s Pool is also your book if you love writing that just keeps pulling you back in and character development that wrenches your heart but makes your proud at the same time. Basically, Dreamer’s Pool is rockin’ and the narration of the audiobook is pretty darn good as well!

Note: I received an audiobook copy of Dreamer’s Pool from the publisher. Audiobooks change my experience with the story.

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier
Narrated by Natalie Gold, Nick Sullivan, Scott Aiello
(Blackthorn and Grim #1)
Published by Roc on Nov. 4th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

4.5 Stars


  • Blackthorn and Grim are both very troubled and broken main characters (so of course I adored them to no end), but they are balanced well with our third main character, Oran, who is such a hopeless romantic that I probably wouldn’t have been able to tolerate him without Blackthorn’s amusing assessments. Oran is not just a naive prince though, he is knowledgeable about the law and cares for his people, which makes it all the more amusing when he is confronted by surly Blackthorn and silent Grim ;-).
  • You’d think that three points-of-view would be too much, but it worked quite well, with each character having a very distinct voice. The audiobook has three narrators, too, so that helped a lot. Each of the narrators portrays their character very well and I kind of want to find Grim’s narrator and just give him a hug!
  • I can’t tell you the last time I came across an adult story with a man and a woman being JUST FRIENDS! Blackthorn and Grim are very clearly just friends from the start and it was so refreshing to see their friendship and trust develop without any worry about relationship angst.
  • The writing and mystery of Dreamer’s Pool is so addicting. I found myself doing extra chores around the apartment, listening while walking and driving and any other excuse I could find. I even kept listening while icing my forehead from eyestrain! I just had to know what happened next!!!
  • You find out very quickly that Blackthorn and Grim are in prison and it has been a very tough prison sentence. Thinking back on where they both were at the start of Dreamer’s Pool now that I know how much they grow and recover from their trauma, I can’t help but be impressed by the character development that Marillier smoothly pulls off.
  • There are some seriously hairy issues in Dreamer’s Pool and I applaud Marillier for not shying away from them and giving Blackthorn a voice to shout what so many of us wish we could. I don’t want to give anything away, but there were definitely times when my eyes got quite big because I just didn’t expect Marillier to pull it off but she does!
  • Dreamer’s Pool is the start of a series but stands alone quite well. You’ll be relieved to know that there will be more Blackthorn and Grim adventures though as soon as you’re at the end of Dreamer’s Pool. I certainly can’t wait to hear what they’ll be up to next!


  • Oran’s narration is the one exception to the otherwise excellent narration choices. He has some quirks such as a very strange and rather annoying voice for Oran’s manservant and close friend. I was kind of relieved when that character faded to the background because he was so annoying to listen to at first.
  • Major trigger warning for sexual violence in Dreamer’s Pool. Those tough issues I mention above? Yeah, they involve some pretty horrible things done to innocents. Nothing is graphically depicted, but I got sad just thinking about it myself so I want to make sure others are warned in case you’re more sensitive to those subjects.


Dreamer’s Pool is an excellent choice for fantasy fans and promises to be just the beginning for a great series. I was guessing right up until the end and am thrilled to have been able to listen to the audio version so I could fit in lots of extra reading time ;-). I am now quite convinced that I need to go read everything else Marillier has written because there is just something downright addictive about her storytelling!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I own this, and now that I am reading about the non-romance part…..OMFG I have to read this, and soon!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases We’re Excited ForMy Profile

  2. Drat, every review I read of this book just makes it sound better. I need this test to be done so I can ignore work and blogging and sleeping and eating and life and just sit down and read all this stuff! ;)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Discussion: 1-Star ReviewsMy Profile

  3. I swear, this is the millionth perfect or almost-perfect rating I’ve seen for Dreamer’s Pool. I’ve got an audio copy that I’m saving as a reward for finishing exams. Soon! :)
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerMy Profile

  4. Wow, this sounds wonderful. I love dark, adult fairy tales and I think I’d share your enjoyment of seeing a male and female character stay just friends for once!
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…Nonfiction November Week 4 Wrap UpMy Profile

  5. It’s so nice to come across a book where a man and a woman can be just friends. It’s not a book that I would have picked up based on the cover, but it sounds good. I really should stop adding books to my TBR list…
    Hellen recently posted…Top Ten Winter ListMy Profile

  6. Anya, stop adding books to my TBR list! *lol* Your review is the second high-praise one I’ve read for this book, so I’m convinced I’ll have to check this out at some point.
    Sara L. recently posted…The 7/7/7 ChallengeMy Profile

  7. YOU HAVEN”T READ MUCH MARILLIER??? WAS THIS YOUR FIRST BOOK OF HERS??? ANYA GO READ SEVENWATERS AND HEARTS BLOOD AND ALL HER OTHER BOOKS RIGHT NOW. Marillier is one of my favourite authors. All her books are beautiful tales set in historical fantasy type worlds. Her writing is magical and her characters are amazing. I JUST LOVE HER BOOKS SO MUCH OKAY. AND I GET TO FINALLY MEET HER IN TWO DAYS KHLSKHDKSJHD

    *ahem* Anyway, I just finished Dreamer’s Pool this morning and it was sort of weird to not see any romance between Blackthorn and Grim! It was refreshing though. And oh Oran. He got on my nerve sometimes with all his lovesickess, but he was a really great character and leader! I really can’t wait for more :D
    Bec @ Readers in Wonderland recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [47]My Profile

    • IT WAS! All right, Sevenwaters and Heart’s Blood, gotcha :D

      Hehe, yeah Oran *sigh* but I kind of like that I didn’t love all the characters if that makes any sense? Since I don’t like everyone in real life, so it felt realistic for me not to like everyone in the book *is weird*

  8. Agreed, I love this book. I wonder how listening to it would have affected my enjoyment, if at all. I read the print ARC so I was spared any annoying-voiced narrators :D
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Tough Traveling: BugsMy Profile

    • Hehe, that’s good! I really loved Blackthorn’s narrator though, and I feel closer to characters I think if I have a voice associated with them too ya know?

  9. I loved this book, and can’t wait for her to continue the series. I liked that Blackthorn is so much of a loner, and thought that her reluctant friendship with Grim was adorable. :)
    Grace recently posted…“The Jewel” by Amy EwingMy Profile

  10. I love your reviews! They are always so spot on and well thought out. Mine, lol, are an outpouring of emotion with no prep and little structure. I’m jealous.

    Glad to see another fan of this book. You really should look into her previous works. Especially if you enjoy Irish Folklore!
    Mulluane recently posted…The Hero and The Crown (Damar #1) by Robin McKinley | Fantasy Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Hehe thanks! I write little notes for myself and force myself to wait at least a day so that helps me gather my thoughts ;-)

      I will definitely be checking out her previous books, so excited!

  11. I just ordered a copy since many blogoers have been raving about this. It should be showing up in the mail any day now!
    Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [127] – PERSONA by Genevieve ValentineMy Profile

  12. I have a huge list of possible best books I read this year. This is absolutely one of them, I adored this book.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Tough Travels – BugsMy Profile

  13. Haven’t seen this around, but that cover is breathtaking! Just for the sake of it I want it. Although you made it sound like an awesome read, so I think it is worth it!
    Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness recently posted…November’s Best of The BunchMy Profile


  1. […] book probably needs very little introduction, but last year I read and loved Dreamer’s Pool so I’m very excited to be able to give one of you the sequel that comes out tomorrow :D. If […]

  2. […] Dreamer’s Pool – I have a feeling this is going to be on a lot of lists this year! Dreamer’s Pool is actually an Audible production and I have to say that I’m looking forward to a lot more productions straight from Audible if they are all going to be of this high of quality! The story of Dreamer’s Pool is completely amazing on top of three excellent narrators! Highly recommended for fans of dark fairytales ;-). I kind of want to go back and listen to it all over again. […]

  3. […] this (Tabitha at Not Yet Read, Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn, Mogsy at Bibliosanctum, and Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings, to name a few), how could I NOT buy a copy? Yes people, it’s peer pressure or the power of […]

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