Review: Juliet Marillier – A Dance with Fate

A Dance with Fate
Juliet Marillier

Liobhan, Dau and Brock are in training to become elite Swan Island Warriors. Brock and Liobhan were musicians before, but will they remain able to maintain their skills with the hard training at hand? After the events of the first novel (spoilers ahead), Liobhan and Dau have completed their training, while Brock remains in the Otherworld. A horrible accident sends Dau and Liobhan back to Dau’s childhood home where more is at stake than it appears.

Although I was introduced to Mariellier’s work through the Sevenwaters series (those are some of my earliest reviews, circa 2012), I personally feel that the Blackthorn and Grim novels are some of her best work. I hurried to read this novel, because I knew anything by Juliet Marillier would be good. I was shocked to discover that I hadn’t read the Harp of Kings! Fortunately I still had it on my reviewing shelf, and I didn’t have to break quarentine to get it from my main (offsite) bookshelf. As a result, I read the two novels back to back, and this will ltherefore be a combined review.

I knew that I loved the Blackthorn and Grim novels and I was both sad and satisfied after reading them (Dreamer’s Pool, Tower of Thorns and Den of Wolves). Because I don’t tend to read anything about a novel until after I’ve read and reviewed it, I didn’t initially realise that this novel was about Blackthorn & Grim’s children. I was thinking that the writing and tone of the characters was familiar, and then on page 39 I finally realised why! Liobhan and Brock are their children!

As always, Marillier pulls you in with relatable characters, and then sets the scene for them masterfully. Liobham, Brock and Dau lept out of the pages at me, demanding that I keep reading. This has the elements of mystery (and subsequent reader frustration that we can’t work it out either!) that I loved from the first series. That being said, there is no need to have read the first trilogy as this one can stand alone. Equally, you could read A Dance with Fate without having read The Harp of Kings – but why stint youself on reading?

There might be the underlying idea that the three protagonists are warriors first and foremost, but that’s not the case. Marillier doesn’t linger on bloody fight scenes, but includes enough detail that I could see the action sequences in my mind. The music is included in such a way that I wished there was a soundtrack to listen to while reading.

Oh! And did I mention the glossy covers with beautiful, appropriate art? I perhaps expected Liobham’s hair to be tied back, but otherwise she’s the woman I would imagine. I’m giving these 5 stars (naturally) and I can’t wait to see and read the next book.

Pan Macmillan | 28th July 2020 | AU$32.99 | paperback

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