Review – Den of Wolves

Den of Wolves (Blackthorn & Grim, #3)Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Feather bright and feather fine, None shall harm this child of mine…

Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the recent ordeal she and her companion, Grim, have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life.

Despite her personal struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada in taking care of a troubled young girl who has recently been brought to court, while Grim is sent to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task—repairing a broken-down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems—the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies…

Back at Winterfalls, the evil touch of Blackthorn’s sworn enemy reopens old wounds and fuels her long-simmering passion for justice. With danger on two fronts, Blackthorn and Grim are faced with a heartbreaking choice—to stand once again by each other’s side or to fight their battles alone…

The final Blackthorn and Grim novel was the one I found most enjoyable – and most frustrating.

The mystery I found to be the weakest of the ones in all of the books combined and the payoff with Mathuin was practically nonexistent.  That  might be because of how quickly and easily it was wrapped up – or it might be because so much of that story line happened off screen.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that the mystery of the heartwood house was uninteresting and the plot thread involving Mathuin throughout all three books wrapped up in a very unsatisfactory manner.

On the other hand, I found the characters to be the most interesting so far.  Even if I constantly wanted to slap Cara for her stupidity.  But I really felt like I got to know Grim, especially, as well as Blackthorn and Bardan, who was a great addition.  Plus the scene between Conmael and Blackthorn was very touching.  Oran, on the other hand, came out of nowhere with some of his scenes, but that could be due to the fact that he was offscreen most of the time.  And I wanted to know a lot more about the Swan Island men.

On the other hand, I still didn’t really emotionally connect with anyone in this novel.  That’s been my mian problem since book one – the detachment between the characters and the reader, especially for a first person narrative.

But the use of tales continues to be top-notch.  If nothing else I can say that I have read tales I hadn’t heard of before while going through this series, all of them lovely and wonderful and interesting.  Even if a couple had fairly obvious endings, the majority had twists I wasn’t expecting.  Although some of them I guessed at due to the way they paralleled the main stories/”mysteries” of the novels themselves.

3 out of 5 stars.  Overall, I wanted to like this novel – and this series – more than I did.  Unfortunately, I only kept reading to a) see how it all ended and b) for the tales, neither of which are strong enough to save the trilogy.

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