Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier ★★★★★

Daughter of the Forest  (Sevenwaters, #1)
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Series: Sevenwaters series
Publication Date: 1999
ISBN: 9780765343437
Page Count: 554
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Synopsis: 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...


REVIEW


A Fairy Tale for grownups.

And so, my love affair with Juliet Mariller's writing continues. I'd been so looking forward to this. After reading my very first Marillier book, Shadowfell, last year and absolutely loving it to pieces, I decided to go right back to the beginning with this, her début novel, Daughter of the Forest. It's loosely based on the Brother's Grimm fairy tale, The Six Swans, about a girl who, had she been born male, would have been the seventh son of a seventh son. Instead, she is the much doted on sister of six older brothers, and daughter to a stoic but steadfast father. Set in a magical ancient Ireland, the beauty of Marillier's historical fantasy setting has once again completely captured my imagination, and Sorcha has won my heart with her determination against impossible odds, and the way she handled the nightmarish tasks set before her. A heroine worthy of respect, if ever there was one. The story spans 3-4 years and so feels quite grand on that scale, and yet the biggest aspect by far is the growth of Sorcha's character as she goes from a sheltered, protected girl of twelve, to... well, you'll just have to read it and see.

The cast of characters was quite large, Sorcha's six brothers alone making it so, not to mention everyone else she meets along the way. The secondary characters were all wonderfully realized a fleshed out. I made a comment in another review recently about cartoonish, over-the-top characterisation. I won't repeat myself, but let's just say that THIS is how your write subtly different siblings! You get to know a couple of them much more than others, but each had merit in their own way.

I found it impossible not to make comparisons to Shadowfell. Having read her most recent work first, then gone back to her earliest book, I was able to see the changes in her writing over the decade or so, particularly in the tone. This was a lot more formal, which occasional made it feel slightly stilted, but it was just as evocative and, once I'd found my flow, the hours slipped by without notice.

My favourite aspect, by far, was the romance. It was a long time coming, and the characters are painfully timid and awkward about it, but it was really beautiful. I may be slightly unnerved by Sorcha's young age, but those were the times, I guess. Their definition of "marriageable age" being very different from our own.

If I could wish for one thing, it would be that the beginning wasn't quite so slow to get going, and that Sorcha didn't spend so much of the book being 12. But I didn't feel that either of those things were enough for me to drop a star. The magic, the journey, the romance and the sense of triumph were more than enough to make up for any weak spots.

5 Stars ★★★★★

1 comment:

  1. This one is on my tbr list for this year! I can't wait to finally read it. Grest review :D
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    ReplyDelete

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