November 26, 2014

Faves & Flaws: Daughter of the Forest

Today's Fall Into Fantasy post is a Faves & Flaws post focused specifically on Daughter of the Forest. Instead of doing a traditional review, Hannah and I will both be sharing what we really liked about the book, as well as what we thought didn't work for each of us.

Daughter of the Forest book cover
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Series: Sevenwaters #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 1, 1999
Source/Format: Gifted by Alyssa (Thanks!) || Paperback

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment. 

But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever. 

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all.

1. Fairytale feels

The way Juliet Marillier writes Daughter of the Forest echoes the feel and writing of fairytales beautifully. It is all too easy to fall in love with the way she paints a picture of her settings, scenes, characters and story. Her descriptions are utterly evocative, her words are chosen with care and her plot twists and turns are perfectly times. Readers will come to feel like the world of the Sevenwaters series truly exists; they will also appreciate the loveliness of every turn of phrase. Whether it’s the fairytale-ness you’re after, or if you’re a connoisseur of excellent writing, Daughter of the Forest will meet your expectations – and far surpass them.

2. Character connections

Hand in hand with her gorgeous writing, Juliet Marillier adds yet another strong element to her spellbinding story: wonderful characters. Writing a story with a plot that keeps readers turning the pages is one thing; writing that story plus populating it with characters that feel so real, almost as if their your friends, well, that’s another thing entirely. Marillier definitely does an excellent job of bringing to life Sorcha, her brothers and all the other characters in Daughter of the Forest (whether human or magical). Readers will be utterly invested in Sorcha and her fate in particular, as they’re privy to her innermost thoughts and emotions for the most part. And readers will love (or hate) the other characters of this tale as called for, which is no easy feat considering how many people Marillier mentions! Yet each one of these secondary characters is written well enough that they remain distinctive and interesting even when they disappear for long periods at a time.

3. Slow-burning swoons

Fairytales have their fair share of romances; Juliet Marillier certainly draws inspiration from them in the way she chooses to weave in the romantic aspect of Daughter of the Forest. It totally, absolutely worked. Even before either character was invested in the romantic sense, I already was. It is a romance edged in subtlety, feelings unspoken but expressed in actions and events that unfold. In spite of the lack of outright admission of any feelings until much later, it is absolutely, wonderfully believable. The romance is one of the elements that made me cry more than once while I was reading, which speaks volumes about how invested I had become in the relationship.

1. Lengthy chapters

Is this even really a flaw? If you’re the kind of reader who likes finishing a chapter before you pause in your reading, then this might slightly irk you. But I happen to be that kind of reader, and it didn’t once bother me so… Basically, this is just in the flaws section for those of you who would like to be informed of such things. But it’s not even a REAL FLAW.


If it's not yet clear to you based on the decided lack of actual flaws in this post, Daughter of the Forest was a total five star worthy (or even MORE than five star worthy) read. Inspired by a fairytale, it drew on the elements and characters of the original but breathed new life into them in a style all Marillier's own. The writing, the characters, the relationships, the story - I loved it all so, so much. Even though the length and print might initially prove intimidating, trust me when I tell you Daughter of the Forest is definitely a worthwhile read.

(I just reread that, and seriously, my paragraph does not convey my full love of this amazing novel. Just know that I highly recommend it, and that it made me cry multiple times while I was reading it. When I finished, I wanted to start it all over again. And I'm still thinking about these characters. It's freaking amazing, y'all.)


  1. One of my favorites books, and authors, she has amazing books.
    Like you say, the characters stay with you :)

  2. This is a great review! I feel exactly the same about the story and characters. My heart ached for Sorcha continually throughout the tale.


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