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Dreamer's Pool Audiobook

Dreamer's Pool: Blackthorn & Grim, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author Juliet Marillier "weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page" (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland... 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.

©2014 Juliet Marillier (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Narrators Scott Aiello, Natalie Gold, and Nick Sullivan deliver this Blackthorn & Grim series opener in alternating chapters.... Together, the narrators weave a compelling tale." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

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  • Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings
    EAST LANSING, MI, United States
    19/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful story, pretty solid narration"

    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
    Narrated by Natalie Gold, Nick Sullivan, Scott Aiello
    (Blackthorn and Grim #1)
    Published by Roc on Nov. 4th, 2014
    Genres: Adult, Fantasy
    Length: 448 pages
    How I got my copy: Publisher

    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.

    Strengths:
    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!

    Weaknesses:
    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.

    Summary:
    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!

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Pabkins
    Sacramento, CA
    21/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A true fairytale, dark and yet full of light"

    Dreamer's Pool was an amazing book! A true fairytale full of darkness, despair and a fair amount of hope. As this is my first time reading Juliet Marilier I already know it won't be my last. Her writing has the perfect tone and flow to it, able to elicit from me a perfect balance of emotions that kept me wrapped up in the story and aching to get back to it at every chance. There are a handful of mysteries in this story and ache to be solved and each one leads in seamlessly to the next giving the reading experience that perfect pacing that I think must be so hard for authors to deliver. Indeed Marillier created amazing characters that I as the reader connected with immediately and felt were perfectly flawed in their humanity. The world building was given an excellent amount of attention and delivered in such a way that I never felt like it was too much or too little. It all call across in a natural way through the observations and daily lives of the 3 main characters. And speaking of characters....

    A jaded woman with a dark and mysterious past.

    Blackthorn - She starts out this story as the prisoner of a nasty High Chieftain named Mathuin. It's obvious to us that she has been wronged greatly in some way and accused of crimes that it doesn't sound like she committed, but it will be some long time the book before we find out all of the reasons she hates Mathuin. Imprisoned for the past year she has been beaten, abused and practically broken. And on the eve of her trial she is told that rather then honoring the law of every prisoner receiving a trial, the Chieftain is going to have her quietly murdered. But that night a fae, Conmael, comes along and offers her a bargain. Her life and freedom in exchange for 7 years of service in a town far away from there, where she must serve as a healer and wise woman to all those who ask for help as long as that help requested isn't something that would be harmful to themselves or others. She must cast aside her desire for revenge for these 7 years. So of course faced with certain death you'd take the bargain, and so she does. But it seems to be a bitter pill for her to swallow because she is still burning inside for revenge, filled with rage over all of the injustices visited upon her in the past she is surly and mistrustful and does not like the company of people let alone the thought of helping almost who ask.

    The big hulking man is actually quiet and full of painful nightmares

    Grim - A big strapping ogre of a man with a dark past of his own. He is a fellow prisoner in the same jail as Blackthorn. And the day Blackthorn's fae savior Conmael sets things in motion to free her, it is Grim who actually aids her in escaping. When he escapes as well he makes it his personal mission to be Blackthorns protector. She grudgingly allows him to accompany her to the town of Winterfalls where they set themselves up in a cottage bordering the mysterious Dreamer's Pool and Woods. He doesn't talk much and he is one of the main POVs but he doesn't get as much on air time as Blackthorn and the additional POV of Prince Oran but I definitely became attached to him and ache to know more. He suffers nightmares and because of that doesn't sleep much and when he does has a tendency to talk in his sleep. Even when he isn't sleeping at night he'll gibber jabber to himself. Something from the past haunts him and I am so intrigued to find out what it is!

    The quintessential fairy tale prince

    Prince Oran - He's everything you'd want in a fairytale prince. He reads, writes poetry, believes in romance, the stories and cares about his people and being fair to everyone. Sounds like the perfect man right? His parents believe him to be a complete dreamer with his head stuck in the clouds and insist he needs to settle down and get married and start doing his duties in preparation for when he will someday be king. He finally gives in because he just so happens to fall in love with the portrait of a young girl his mother has brought to his attention as a good candidate for marriage. He soon starts a heartfelt chain of correspondence with this young Lady Flidais that leads to their betrothal. But when Lady Flidais arrives she is not everything that he had come to believe from her letters. Indeed she is nothing like the Flidais of her letters and Oran is left with a despairing heart, crushed dreams and wonders who he can turn to in order to sort out the dilemma he is in.

    I cannot recommend Dreamer's Pool highly enough. As with books that I adore if I start out listening to them on audio and fall in love with them I feel compelled to not only listen to the audio version but read the print version as well. (The spelling of many of the names was not what I expected from hearing the narrated version) I would highly recommend either format. The narration was done by 3 different narrators and was one of the best I've listened to this year (or ever even). The print always suits me as well when I want to really soak something in and feel like I need to revisit details at my own pace. This is definitely among my top pick of fantasy books for 2014!

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    lakeland, FL, United States
    26/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good solid listen"
    Where does Dreamer's Pool rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book was worth the time spent listening. The story was engaging, even if somewhat predictable. Did not make me want to sit in the car to hear what happened next, shame.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Predictable but likeable characters


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    They all did an okay job.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Leslie
    Sausalito, CA, United States
    17/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed it, but lags a bit."

    I debated between giving this 3 or 4 stars for the story. On the one hand, I quite enjoyed the adult fairytale, but on the other, there were times I was exacerbated by the author repeating things over and over and the "mystery" was rather transparent. This could have been edited down a lot more. I found myself sometimes thinking: "Yeah, we get it—now get on with the story!" There was a lot of build up to a revelation that was pretty obvious. There was a small twist to mystery that I hadn't guessed, but overall, no surprises.

    In spite of the complaints above, the characters and world are pretty well-developed and I found it a relief after wading through a number of really bad fantasy and paranormal romances I've listened to recently to just read a nice, decently written fairy tale.

    I wish this story's plot was a little more complex, but it was a pleasant and refreshing book and I will be checking out more by this author. This is a good book to listen to while you are doing something else.

    The narration is excellent. All three do a good job and it was nice having different narrators reading the 3 main characters' perspectives.t

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Bruce
    Knoxville, MD, United States
    15/01/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Five stars for 2 great characters and word craft."

    Blackthorn and Grim - Great characters, alternating narration, and the Sidhe. I loved this and enjoyed the style enough to give this first book in a new series 5 stars.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    20/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This will be a good series"
    What did you love best about Dreamer's Pool?

    Interesting and new characters. Nice blend of human, fantasy and folk lore . Interesting character personality development.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The goal of any First book in a series is primarily character personality development. Setting the stage for future adventures. Story line is not as interesting at the beginning as the characters. As the characters develope the story really improves and ends with a bang and a twist.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Where Blackthorn realizes she has been played by the princess. Grimm points out and she realizes her past experience has made her vulnerable and she looses her objectivity when woman are abused in some way.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • MSEreads
    Marianna, FL
    11/01/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dark Faireytale, Tortured Characters, My 2014 Fav!"

    This book is filled with totally engaging characters and a gripping tale of tragedy, hardships, folklore and dark magic! The story is told in a versatile manner from the rotating first person views of the three primary characters, Blackthorn, Grim and Oran. There are wonderful historic descriptions of the settings - dungeon, fortress, village, gypsy camp - all blended nicely into the storyline. There is backstory woven in as well as mysteries to be solved with steady reasoning and bold courage. Although I guessed the details in both mysteries it was still a delight to watch the protagonists unravel the truth and deal with the wrongdoers.

    This was a delightful surprise and a book I did not want to put down. This entanglement concludes satisfactorily but leaves open questions that make me eager for more episodes and adventures. I have not read Ms. Marillier before but I will definitely be seeking the next book in this series and other works too. I highly recommend this tale to readers who enjoy a thoroughly engaging fantasy.

    Audio Notes: The three narrators, Scott Aiello, Natalie Gold and Nick Sullivan, did a great job in sharing the depths of their characters. There were times I was annoyed by the characters’ emotional responses, or lack thereof, but I felt this was intentional and that the narration conveyed the nuances of each character. The audio enhanced my pleasure in an already absorbing story.
    I received the audiobook through AudioBook Jukebox for an honest review. (Full review at Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Danielle
    20/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story - horrible narration!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend this book but i would not recommend the audiobook.

    The story is set in Ireland so the American accents totally ruined it for me. Some basic research on the pronunciation for some of the words wouldn't have gone astray either.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    Narrators with Irish accents....


    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Paula
    11/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narration detracts from good story"

    I thoroughly enjoyed Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters series. When I saw that she had written the first of a new series, I was looking forward to what I hoped would be another fun audio book experience. Although I did complete the story and liked it, it was an extremely disappointing performance. Why choose actors with a Midwestern American accent to read a story taking place in "old Erin" with Kings, Queens, Princes and magic?
    The narrator for Blackthorn- the main character- was just plain dull, bordering on monotone at times. Grim's voice could have been from an old John Wayne western. The prince and his entourage sounded like they were in a high school play. It was distracting.
    The series has great promise. I do like the story concept and the characters of Blackthorn and Grim. With better narration - including Irish accents- it could become another popular series.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jan
    Arkansas
    18/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I Found a New Author Just in Time For Winter"


    I'm a fantasy reader, and don't know how I missed Juliet Marillier until now.

    Marillier has created characters that I bonded with immediately in this adult fairytale. The story centers around a broken Healer who no longer trusts her world or the people in it, and Grim, a giant of a man that has no place and no one in his world. The two are friends of a lifetime.

    The storyline lends to impressive world building that pulls you in from chapter one, and is equal parts fantasy, mystery, and magical journey. This book has adult situations, but doesn't depend on one sword fight after another or rely on continual violence in the dark ages to keep the reader interested. Some readers may consider it geared toward the female audience, however, I am not a chick-lit reader and loved this book.

    The narrators of The Dreamer's Pool were perfect choices, and nailed their roles consistently.

    This is an easy read that excels in character development. Really, really, liked it.

    On to book 2~

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • jennifer
    CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
    18/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So disappointing"
    Would you try another book written by Juliet Marillier or narrated by the narrators?

    I have read both her Sevenwaters series and the Bridei trilogy which were brilliant but won't read anymore from this series


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Not much


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    As this series, as with the others is based in Pagan Briton, Scotland and Ireland, the use of American readers was both dis enchanting and grating. Completely destroyed the mystical ambience evident in her other works


    Was Dreamer's Pool worth the listening time?

    Not really.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine
    Belfast, United Kingdom
    26/02/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Predictable"

    I have to start off by saying I am a HUGE fan of Juliet Marilliers books, she is one of my favourite authors and I eagerly await the next book she releases. I snatched this book up as soon as it was released but with other books in the queue it was only now that I got a chance to read it.
    Almost immediately I guessed the conclusion of the plot which annoyed me as I'm usually fixated on these books and it is hard for me to put them down. I just felt the whole storyline was predictable and it didn't feel as magical as say the brideai chronicles or even the daughter of the forest ones which are by far my favourite books. It's not going to stop me reading the next instalments in the series as it is Juliet Marillier after all and I'm intrigued as to where she will take this series. I just hope the next few are better!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nurse Betty
    7/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant want more !!!!!!"
    Where does Dreamer's Pool rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Loved this story, twists and turns very nail biting. Only problem with grammar, a Prince would never say " you and me"! rather "you and I", or David and I", as an example. That is one thing that sets my teeth on edge. !!!!! Can we please have the correct English grammar.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great story line. Such imagination. I loved it.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Narrators were brilliant. Gave the story vivid pictures in my minds eye.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Gripping all the way.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Suzy GM
    7/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book!"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book not something I would have normally chosen but would read more by this author.
    Narration was brilliantly done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Melanie K.
    18/01/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fab as always!"

    Another good story with new characters from J. Marillier! I truly enjoyed this!
    Loved the familiarity of her writing.
    Great!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • oaklands
    Norfolk
    28/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best story ever"
    If you could sum up Dreamer's Pool in three words, what would they be?

    Fanstastic,gripping,moving.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dreamer's Pool?

    To hard to answer this question it is all memorable


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

    Grim's performance was my favorite, but you will have noticed I gave performance only 4* I took 1 away because I am Irish and love that Juliets tales are based in Ireland and Scotland so prefer those accents for the tales. Nothing wrong with the readers performance otherwise.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    As before I was moved by this tale so many times sometimes happy,sometimes sad, sometimes with love. At the end I was sad because it had ended, I just canot get enough of Juliet Marrillier tales.


    Any additional comments?

    I have many favorite authors, but my top two have always changed when, each time they release a new book they move to the top of my list. This time I do not think Diana can remove Juliet Marillier from first place after this one. Best tale I ever read, and I read a lot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pamella Clapham
    Lincoln
    9/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could not stop listening!"

    This the first book I have listened to by this author and I really enjoyed it. I loved the way the different characters told their story. The plot was not predicable and kept you on the edge till the very end. I would recommend this book to anyone. I have already brought the next book and I can't wait to see what happens next!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angelsea
    29/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"
    Would you try another book written by Juliet Marillier or narrated by the narrators?

    I love Juliet Marillier' s books but the narration let it down.


    If you’ve listened to books by Juliet Marillier before, how does this one compare?

    This book does not have the intensity of the 'Daughther of The Forest' or 'The Bridei Chronicles' series. The language used was less considered and the vocabulary more basic it seems. I also didn't appreciate the swearing or the crudely handled sex scenes but that is my own personal opinion. It was as if this book was written for a different market.


    What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

    The narration was completely incongruous and robbed the story of any sense of time or place. The tone was monotonous and lacked any vigour making it difficult to have any empathy with the characters.


    Do you think Dreamer's Pool needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I can't answer this at this time as I have not yet finished this book but my interest in the story and the characters is such that I don't know whether I shall continue to the end.


    Any additional comments?

    Narration of a story adds so much to its effect. It sets the scene and enlivens the characters. The actors chosen to read this work were good but unsuitable for this story. It has completely coloured my opinion of the book. If the future volumes are read by the same narrators then I don't know if I shall continue with the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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