Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Faithful, The Fiery & The Fearful

Daughter of the Forest / Son of the Shadows / Child of the Prophecy book cover
Series: Sevenwaters #1-3
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: May 5, 2000 / June 17, 2002 / March 20, 2002
Source/Format: Gifted by Alyssa (Thanks!) || Paperback; Bought || Paperback

As a reader, I can't get enough of hearing other people's stories, and it's truly exceptional to find an author who tells her story well. Juliet Marillier is, without a doubt, one of my favorite new writers. She's been writing for years now, but I only encountered her work when I read Daughter of the Forest with Hannah for Flights of Fantasy last year. Because I was so impressed with her storytelling, I decided I needed to read more of her stories, and waited until I had all three of the first Sevenwaters trilogy before I embarked on a full-on immersion into the Sevenwaters universe.

Daughter of the Forest, the first novel, was a reread, and a damn good one. Marillier's deft hand at description brings to life the world of Sevenwaters, as well as heroine Sorcha and her beloved brothers. It was all too easy to get caught up in the magic and tension of this tale. Even though I knew what would happen, it still felt like I was viewing it with fresh eyes. Sorcha's tale is both tragic and true, remarkable and romantic, and I loved it even more upon a second read.

Son of the Shadows, the second novel, kept a surprisingly quick pace. Having settled us quite solidly into the world with its predecessor, Marillier focuses more on Liadan's present situations. Liadan, of all three heroines, is the one who seems to have the most agency; she decides and does things without allowing others to turn her head. Her fiery spirit + her adventures were what had me unable to stop turning the pages until I'd reached the very end. It's an incredible tale, really, almost too fantastical, too horrific, too much - and yet it's so engaging that you won't be able to stop reading.

Child of the Prophecy, the third novel, was, in all honesty, the most difficult to finish. The pacing is finicky, with too much lingering in contemplation versus taking action. But the most frustrating aspect of the novel is main character Fainne, and that's because of her indecision. It takes her a very long time to figure out what she wants to do, and the journey to get there is not all that exciting. Still, the way Marillier wraps up the arc of this initial trilogy is impressive.  She decisively gives this generation of the Sevenwaters clan the right ending for their story, and I liked that a lot.

Reading this trilogy back to back was such an incredible experience. With all the details from the previous book in my mind, I would go straight into the next without hesitation. My fondness for Sevenwaters and its inhabitants grew with each novel; my loathing for any enemy they faced was cultivated as well. Marillier's writing was the steady constant, so no matter how different a character's journey turned out to be, I could rely on her words to see me through.

To break things down a little more conclusively for you, I've decided to create a chart (as I did in this review) to show you which elements I enjoyed best overall.

CATEGORY
DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST
SON OF THE SHADOWS
CHILD OF THE PROPHECY
ALEXA’S PICKS
Main Character
Sorcha
Liadan
Fainne
Liadan (A healer, a seer, and a girl of action who fights for what she believes in. I loved her right from the start!)
Love Interest
Red
Bran
Darragh
Red (He’s the most wonderful man! His love, compassion, kindness, understanding and strength are so dang easy to fall in love with.)
Secondary Characters
Sorcha’s brothers
Bran’s outlaws
The Old Ones
Bran’s outlaws (They might not look like the most respectable lot, but they have incredible skills and plenty of loyalty and human decency.)
Plot
Sorcha must save her brothers from the enchantment that has turned them into swans.
Liadan must choose her path, and save her sister and her beloved along the way.
Fainne is being given a chance to make a choice that will secure the fate of Sevenwaters.
Sorcha’s story (I just admired her willingness to sacrifice years of her life to save her brothers, no matter what obstacles she faced. Her journey isn’t easy, but it’s amazing. Plus, I believe my first brush with this series will always be special!)
Pacing
Moderate
Fast
Helter-skelter
Fast (I was this close to choosing moderate, because it can be awfully nice to linger sometimes. But Marillier’s ability to keep up description even as she told a fast-paced tale really amazed me!)
Romance
Slow burn; unrecognized until the last moment
Enemies-turned lovers; bad history keeping them apart
Friends-to-romance; a denial until the last moment
Slow burn (I’m a sucker for this type of romance, honestly. It was a thrill to watch it unfold, to see how it hit a crescendo at just the right moment. I totally ship it.)

Really, all three of these novels are a testament to Marillier's ability to spin a good yarn for her readers. They're evocative in tone, rich in detail and succeed in making you feel as if you are a part of Sevenwaters too. If you've not yet had the fortune of reading these novels, consider this my endorsement of the first three books.

10 comments:

  1. It's official: I NEED to read these books! I've been seeing Daughter of the Forest pop up everywhere lately. I really love your chart; great idea there! I'm also a fan of the slow-burn romance... something about it just gives me all the swoons! :)

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  2. I need to read these books, too, just like Candice! They have been on my TBR for ages. I don't know what my problem is.

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  3. I've seen Daughter of the Forest around but I've never felt compelled to read it until now. This series sounds really good, I think your chart really helped me decide that I want to read it.

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  4. Thanks so much for this post! I've heard such great things about the author and now I have a better idea about this series and why it's a must read!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  5. Wonderful post! I love how you broke down the books. I can't help but get overly excited whenever another reader falls in love with Marillier's books. I must have read Daughter of the Forest back in eighth grade or something, and it's still one of my all-time favorites, all these years and re-reads later. If you haven't read any of her other series, you should give them a try! I don't like her YA novels quite as much, but most of her books are worth reading. My favorites after the Sevenwaters trilogy are probably the Bridei Chronicles (books 2 and 3) and her newest adult fantasy.

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  6. Wow, I LOVE your idea of reviewing a series with a chart. Brilliant! And very concise. The organizer in me is awed.

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  7. I have read her most recent series, which I enjoyed, but I know that she has been writing for years. I have it on my list to read more from her very soon!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  8. One of these days I really need to finish this series. I absolutely love Daughter of the Forest. Sorcha & Red! I too loved the slow burn of their relationship. It was just so good. A re-read and continuation is definitely in order one of these days.

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  9. This sounds super interesting- I love that chart! I haven't heard of this series until now but I'll have to check it out! I'm so glad you really liked it, Alexa!

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  10. Yeeees! OMG I love this graph!! It is perfect!! So creative and I love your reviews!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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