Tower of Thorns

432p. (Blackthorn & Grim: Bk. 2). ebook available. NAL/Roc. 2015. Tr $26.95. ISBN 9780451467010.
In this sequel to Dreamer's Pool (Roc, 2014), the healer Blackthorn and her faithful companion Grim are trying to recover from the adventures in their first novel. Blackthorn is completing a sentence for the fey—she has to do what she is ordered and live in the area for seven years, serving the people as a healer. She's always a tad grumpy, but she enjoys the work and even tends to the expecting royal couple. At court, a visiting lady asks for help—a wailing monster is being held captive in a tower on her lands, and the curse is hurting her holdings and her people. Blackthorn agrees to help and uses her connections with Druid lore, healing herbs, magic, and common sense to save the day. Marillier is known for her fantastic fairy tale epics, and this novel is no different—the Celtic myths and fey are interspersed throughout. But the real gem is the friendship between Blackthorn and Grim—they aren't lovers, but their love bonds them together as they deal with post-traumatic stress disorder in their own ways. Their stories are what will make this series a hit with fantasy readers. Marillier's adult novel Daughter of the Forest (Tor, 2000) won the Alex Award in 2001, and her young adult novels Shadowfell (2012) and Wildwood Dancing (2007, both Knopf) are popular with teens.
VERDICT Give this novel to young adults who love fairy tales and female heroes.

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