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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Human evil, dark magic and romance

    This book is about human evil and dark magic versus a desire for freedom and love. I was confused by how dark the story was at first, and then surprised by how good it was. I read it twice so that I could properly appreciate it. Once there was a wizard who lived in a house on a relatively small plot of land near a large, bustling city. The wizard had used some dark magic that left him always ravenous. No matter how much he ate, he was never full. His wife, whom he had turned into a bird, was dead. He hated change, and hated the bustling, busy city that had grown up near his land. He had three young daughters that he kept strictly confined on their small property. Each daughter had her own magic - and secrets. He exploited their talents to make money, particularly that of the youngest daughter Marlinchen. Marlinchen's magic required her to touch the patrons, usually men, which she hated. The two oldest daughters talked their younger sister into sneaking out and going to the city with them, to see a ballet. Marlinchen was captivated by the excitement of the city and more so by the ballet, particularly the principal dancer. She met him outside the opera house before the performance. He is a gorgeous young man who is under the thumb of his mentor while she is similarly controlled by her father. It was wonderful to see her begin to bloom, while she also began to understand the true horror of her home life and the history of her family. I received an advance reading copy of this book from publisher Avon Books via NetGalley. It was my pleasure to read and review this book. All opinions here are my own.

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  • A wonderfully dark tale

    I loved this book! Ava Reid’s debut, The Wolf and the Woodsman, was one of my favorite books in 2021 so to say that I was excited to read this book is an understatement. I couldn’t wait to dive into this story and once I did I read almost the entire book in a single day simply because I didn’t want to put it down. This is a very dark tale and I would encourage readers to check out the content warnings before picking this one up. This story is told from the point of view of a young witch, Marlinchen, who lives with her father, a wizard living under a curse. Marlinchen and her two older sisters must deal with his cruel ways but they have found a way to escape to the city to see the ballet while he sleeps. This is where she meets Sevas, the principal dancer in the show. Even though Marlinchen isn’t as beautiful as her two older sisters, she wins the eye of the young dancer. The world that Marlinchen and Sevas live in is often cruel and decisions about their lives are frequently made by others but they hope to change that. I grew to like Marlinchen pretty quickly and hated the way she was treated. I really wanted to see some positive changes come into her life. She worked so hard to keep her father happy and was never appreciated. The story itself was exciting. There were some pretty big surprises that came into play in the story. Because of Marlinchen’s father’s magic, anything could happen in this tale which kept things really interesting. I thought that the writing was excellent and loved the way that the vivid descriptions helped to bring the story to life. I would recommend this book to others. This was an incredibly imaginative and well-written tale that kept me glued to the pages. I have not read The Juniper Tree so I can’t say how this book compares but it was an entertaining read on its own. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future. I received an advanced review copy of this book from Harper Voyager.

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  • Thank you Netgalley and Harper Voyager!

    Thank you Netgalley and Avon Harper Voyager for allowing me to read and review this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thoroughly enthralled and captivated by Ava Reid's storytelling in Juniper and Thorn. This is a very dark, horror retelling with gruesome imagery that might turn off a few people. I honestly love dark books and authors who aren't afraid to "go there" with their stories and characters. I'm not as familiar with Juniper and Thorn's original story but I've heard it is a dark tale. In Juniper and Thorn there are three witch sisters, two very beautiful and one plain faced, who live with their father, the last wizard in Oblya. Sheltered, abused, and "prisoned" in their home, the two beautiful sisters take their plain faced one outside the perimeters of their home. The plain faced one has never left in twenty three years and is taken to a ballet theater where she sees the great dancer Sevas dance to a story she has known all her life. Falling in love with Sevas, Marlinchen rebels against her father to see him which starts a series of unfortunate events as the story progresses. Marlinchen is the dutiful and pleasing daughter who can see things if she touches flesh. Whereas her older sister Undine, the most beautiful and wicked, can use a scrying pool and Rose, the clever, is a herbalist and creates potions... both are hurtful and consistently blame Marlinchen for all the unfortunate things that happen. The story is cinematically written and I can picture in my mind every well-written detail. The amount of imagery is astounding, creepy and creates goosebumps on my arms. I feel so sorry for Marlinchen and Sevas, both who have been abused mentally, physically, and emotionally. I'm happy for their ending and how Sevas continues to support Marlinchen as she tries to battle her demons and rise against her father's claws. Marlinchen also supports Sevas with his demons with his mentor and abuser. Again, this is a darkly written tale that will keep you hooked till the last word. I plan on reading The Wolf and The Woodsman very soon. I'm very interested in reading more from this author in the future. 5 stars.

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