Author: Juliet Marillier.
Published: October 2nd 2009
Sort: Part one of ‘Whistling Tor.’
THIS IS A REREAD.
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. Surrounded by a wooded hill, and unknown presences, the crumbling fortress is owned by a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom. For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitrin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.
Caitrin ran away from her abusive aunt and cousin after the death of her father. Her mother passed away years ago and her sister fled away in a marriage with a musician. Her father taught her the skills of writing and reading - when she arrives at a mysterious village, she hears someone asking around for a translator. Caitrin accepts and comes to live in Whistling Tor with Anluan. He is troubled by a hundred years old curse and a wounded body. He is looking for a cure and Caitrin needs to translate old diaries to help him. She is sucked into the scary and bloody past, where someone made an army from ghosts. Ghost only Anluan can control.
I liked the paranormal aspect and the original twist to the story. It makes the story a bit darker and interesting. The constant treat of the hoard and the rage they have gave this book a thrilling undertone. I also appreciate the fact that it’s not an obvious retelling; this book can stand on it’s own.
One of the things I love about Marillier are her characters. Caitrin is an admirable young girl. Skilled with writing and reading (something that wasn’t normal in this time period), loyal, fierce and caring. I like how she starts to fall in love with Anluan, despite his appearance and difficult temper. Anluan is plagued and tired of controlling the ghosts. He became a cripple when he was young – losing the control over his right side. This makes him insecure and he hides away in his castle. He is afraid to get close to Caitrin, because he expects her to go away like everybody else. Caitrin is still able to see him for who he is and his constructed walls are falling down. Their slow romance was cute. Two broken people who are trying to find their place in life. They take care of each other and they are supportive. It was fun to see Anluan change from the bitter, angry man to a leader who takes responsibilities. He has some great developed friends – I love these secondary characters. They completed the story for me. They all have distinct voices and an important place in the story.
Some twist to the story are a bit obvious, but I was still amazed by the way Marillier blends everything together. Every little detail becomes an important part of the story and the ending is perfect. We get the climax this story deserves, with all the pieces falling together. Everything is solved and they all get to have a happily-ever-after. I’m very much looking forward to more books in this series.