Monday 27 June 2022

Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid Blog Tour

 I'm a huge fan of fantasy and I also have a soft spot for fairytales (my inner child coming out) so when I was kindly sent a copy of Ava Reid's latest novel, Juniper & Thorrn, I couldn't help but get excited at the chance to see what this book had to offer.


The last magic practitioners in their small town, and living in house filled with monsters, Marlinchen and her family are both loved and reviled by the townsfolk they work to cure. Their father, cursed to never be satisfied, keeps a tight grip on his daughters; their freedoms, virtues and powers under his control.

But when, chafing at his restrictions, the sisters sneak out to attend the theatre and they hear of two men found dead, rumoured to have been brutally ripped apart, Marlinchen is soon drawn into a situation she never could have dreamed, and that will reveal secrets she'll wish she never discovered.

After all, can you ever be truly free from the monster that lives inside yourself?

Magic and monstrous mayhem ensue in this gothic retelling of The Juniper Tree.

Our main protagonist is Marlinchen, who is one of three sisters that are all witches, forever cursed by their wizard father to live out their days serving him in a place called Oblya.

Marlinchen is the youngest and deemed as the favourite, doing everything to serve their father who is also himself cursed, his being that he can never be satiated. That means forever cooking for him whilst also using her own 'gifts' to help bring in the rubeles. 

Her willingness to comply changes one evening when she escapes the walls that confine her - with help from her sisters - and observes the most captivating ballet (and ballet dancer). Suddenly her inner most desires are trying to escape her, the life that she thought she was destined to live no longer one she cares for.

What would the cost of her freedom be? 

I hadn't read anything else by Ava when reading this novel and now I feel a strong need to read more of her works.

This story was gruesome and deliciously dark. 

The descriptions so vivid, my imagination was well and truly captured from the first chapter. I felt the fear, the tension and the remorse.

There is a strong sense of the need to survive with every turn of the page.

What really worked was the fact that actually the story isn't a happy one. There is much sadness, such heartache. None of the characters are truly likable, they are all hugely flawed. I will admit to having a soft spot for Sevas (and not just for his dancing skills). Marlinchen's determination and bravery was admirable, she was unashamedly selfish at times and well, why the hell not.

Although a fantasy, the emotions portrayed felt real, raw. Reid has a real skill when it comes to combining the two.

Juniper & Thorn is clever and captivating novel. Unique and striking. I'd love to see an illustrated version of this devious tale.

Cannot wait to see what this author has to offer next.

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