Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Roc: November 1, 2016
Source: Free From Publisher
I’d go there again!
Den of Wolves is the third and what I hope will not be the final book in the Blackthorn and Grimm series. While I loved Dreamer’s Pool and Tower of Thorns, I can’t help but appreciate the fact that Den of Wolves offers a satisfying conclusion, yet still allows for the possibility of more from Blackthorn and Grim.
Since the first book, I have enjoyed how Marillier combines a fantasy tale with elements that I generally associate more with the mystery genre. In each book, the healer Blackthorn and her man-of-few-words companion, Grimm, tackle a new mystery. That is no different in Den of Wolves. This time Blackthorns helps a troubled young princess, Dalriada, who’s father is building a mysterious house in the woods. Why is this house so important? Why must Dalriada be kept away from the house and the man who is instructing it’s builders? Those are both questions that Blackthorn seeks answers to. And Grimm is uniquely positioned to help as he’s been hired on to help finish the building of the home. Adding to the conflict of the book is Blackthorn’s search for vengeance against the man who murdered her husband and child and imprisoned her. Readers of the first two books will be aware of the fact that Blackthorn cannot seek revenge because of a bargain she made with the fae that rescued her and Grimm from their prison. However, it seems that there is now an opportunity for Blackthorn to legitimately find justice without going back on her word to the fae. The question becomes whether or not Blackthorn is willing to forgo justice to help Dalriada and find out what’s happened to Grimm.
What I love about this final book is that it provides readers with a strong connection to the previous two books. It’s so evident that both Blackthorn and Grimm have grown and transformed over the course of the three books. Blackthorn in particular has changed from a woman governed by one purpose only: revenge. Now, Blackthorn has a companion she cares about and people who rely on her for her healing abilities. I love this level of complexity of character in Blackthorn and it has been absolutely stunning how the author has demonstrated personal growth in a character that initially appeared so broken.
As usual, the writing is also beautiful. If you’re a fan of grown up fairy tales, Den of Wolves is a sure bet (just like all of Marillier’s other books!). Marillier imbues this series with an otherworldly sense of wonder while never forgetting the meat of the story. A rich atmosphere and a complex story makes this a book that is hard to leave behind.
The only complaint that I have about the book is that Blackthorn and Grimm were separated for much of the story. Romance reader that I am, I was rooting for some resolution to their relationship, and while I wasn’t disappointed on that score, I will admit to wanting to see these two interact with each other. For me, Blackthorn and Grimm are such strong characters, but it’s the two of them together that make each other stronger. While I appreciate the fact that Blackthorn and Grimm have gotten to the point where they trust the other to be on their own, I still love seeing them together and that is the only thing that I felt was missing from the book.
Den of Wolves is a stunning conclusion to the Blackthorn and Grimm series. If you’ve enjoyed the previous two books, Den of Wolves is not one that you should miss. And while I don’t know that the author has plans to add more titles to the series, I think the fact that each book presented a self-contained mystery in addition to the main story arc featuring Blackthorn and Grimm, leaves the potential for more books. One can only hope!