Book Review | A Dance With Fate by Juliet Marillier

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A wondrous tale, A Dance with Fate, pulled at my heart-strings while sending me on a journey that I never wanted to end.

What I Love

I love the characters. They are intricately layered and divinely developed. Though the only one who shows any significant growth in this story is Dau, the other two main characters Liobhan and Brocc, have a great deal of potential and are endearing in their own right. Liobhan, unusually tall and strong for a woman, is the perfect blend of fierceness and femininity. I love a strong woman protagonist, and she is that and so much more. Brocc, Liobhan’s brother, is half-Fay and half-human. He was raised in the human world, now has a life and a wife in the fay world, but struggles with giving up one for the other. His growth, which will hopefully come in the future, will be to find a way to make his two worlds come together, as he finds acceptance for the two aspects of his being.

I love the world-building, which quickly envelopes you like a thick forest of trees. This world is familiar with touches of fantastic elements that keep me mesmerized, and I want more of its beauty and challenges. I love a fantasy world that can make you feel like you know the setting, as well as you, understand your back yard. It takes an exceptional level of skill, and I am in awe.

The story, mostly told by the three main protagonists in alternating chapters – each in the first person – is strongly character-driven and took me on an emotional roller coaster ride that I won’t soon forget – just like the first book in the series, The Harp of Kings. Though I wasn’t moved to tears with A Dance with Fate like I was with The Harp of Kings, the story is emotionally impactful in its unique way.

I found it very interesting that we get two chapters in Eirne’s point of view. It took me by surprise and added insight into her character that gave the story even more depth. I can’t say that I like Eirne any more so because of it, but it made it much easier for me to understand my reaction to the Queen of the Fay and her choices.

To Read or Not to Read

I highly recommend this mesmerizing tale of the warrior bards to all high fantasy lovers and anyone who wants to get lost in a world full of magic and music.


About the Book


  • Print Length : 507 pages
  • Publisher : Ace
  • Publication Date : September 1, 2020

A young woman who is both a bard–and a warrior–seeks to repay her debts and settle scores in this thrilling historical fantasy series.

The young warrior and bard Liobhan has lost her brother to the Otherworld. Even more determined to gain a place as an elite fighter, she returns to Swan Island to continue her training. But Liobhan is devastated when her comrade Dau is injured and loses his sight in their final display bout. Blamed by Dau’s family for the accident, she agrees to go to Dau’s home as a bond servant for the span of one year. 

There, she soon learns that Oakhill is a place of dark secrets. The vicious Crow Folk still threaten both worlds. And Dau, battling the demon of despair, is not an easy man to help.

When Liobhan and Dau start to expose the rot at the center of Oakhill, they place themselves in deadly danger. For their enemy wields great power and will stop at nothing to get his way. It will take all the skills of a Swan Island warrior and a touch of the uncanny to give them a hope of survival. . . .

13 Replies to “Book Review | A Dance With Fate by Juliet Marillier”

  1. I hope Brocc gets a chance to grow in future books, too. His struggle is so compelling to me and it was a little disappointing that he wasn’t as present in this book. It’s comforting, though, that all three of them were included, so hopefully there will be more of him later on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My prediction for book 3 is that he will be more the focus. I think we will see him figure out who his biological parents are and work through the struggle of being able to be in the human world at least part time.

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      1. I’m hoping for that! I’m also hoping to see how he’ll tie back into Swan Island.

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  2. I like your description of Liobhan, with “the perfect blend of fierceness and femininity.” She makes me think of Maid Marion from Robin Hood who I always thought was the ideal female protagonist with the blend of those two traits.
    That book cover is simply stunning!

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    1. I think that’s a fair comparison. I believe the period in time would be similar too. I love the covers of both books in the series. So beautiful ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty Cover and your review has some high praise. I love vivid world-building and characters that have an emotional impact. Thanks for the recommendation, Tessa. I’m torn whether to wait for the series to wrap up or dive in. 😀

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    1. Since it is a trilogy (as I understand it) – it might be best to wait. I think the third book comes out next year. But it is a wonderful fantasy series and I am sure you will enjoy it no matter which way you go ❤️

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    1. It really is. It always reminds me of the opening lines of the Merlin series “In a land of myth, and a time of magic… “.

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  4. 507 is a bit long for me. I keep it to 350 or so. Fantastic review. It has been so long since I read a fey book. I wouldn’t call myself high fantasy lover, but I do like them when I have the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a good story but I can see where the length would give you pause. And then there is that little pesky thing called time.

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  5. Oh!!! So it’s a series then?! AWESOME!!! Can’t wait to read it now!!! Amazing review AS ALWAYS, Tessa! ❤ ❤ ❤

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    1. It is at least a trilogy. And it really is an awesome story. Lots of feels, especially in the first one.

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