Archive | July, 2014

Book Review: Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier (Sevenwaters #2)

31 Jul

SonoftheShadowsLiadan, daughter of Sorcha, is the child who no one saw coming and the child who has the power to change everything.

The fey folk have been waiting for the child of the prophecy: the one who is of neither Britain nor Erin, but of both, and bears the sign of the raven. It was thought that one of Sorcha and Red’s children would be the child of the prophecy, but so far they have been nothing but disappointing: Niamh has been corrupted, Sean is too youthful and foolhardy, and Liadan has fallen in love with a man that would have been better left in the shadows.

The old evil is awakening, and Sevenwaters is at its most vulnerable. Still, there is a ray of hope that everything might go to plan after all… but for that to happen, Liadan must make a heart-wrenching choice.

I’ve been on a Juliet Marillier kick lately–I mean, she’s a fantastic writer that I should have been introduced to long before this!–but I have to say, this book was probably my least favorite of all of those I’ve read so far. I certainly liked the first book in this series better. Yeah, some of it has to do with being much more interested in YA books than adult, but I think my issues ran deeper than that. Which makes it all the more surprising that all of my friends who read it rated it a 5!

First, Liadan was basically Sorcha, but a little less likable. I saw very few differences between the two. She felt like a repeat character, a repeat narrator. She was also just a little too perfect and predictable in some ways: she only wanted to stay at Sevenwaters and never marry and grow old and tend to people who are sick. But then she meets a guy, and she now will do anything in her power to fix him. I mean, I’m not saying these are necessarily bad qualities, but she never really seemed to lose hope, which meant that there wasn’t that same sense of “how in the world is she going to accomplish this” like there was with Sorcha in book one.

While the descriptions and what have you are the same great writing that features in all Juliet Marillier books, the plot left much to be desired. I felt like it just plodded on and on, and as I already mentioned, it simply didn’t have the anticipation and build-up that book one did. I didn’t feel as compelled to turn the page. Plus, I’d already figured out who Bran was early on.

I’m not saying this book is completely without merit. It does further some plot points started in book one, and I imagine it provides an important stepping stone to book three (which, according to some reviews I’ve read, is much better!). I was just disappointed after reading so many fantastic Juliet Marillier books–this one just fell a little flat for me.


Book Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (The Sevenwaters Trilogy #1)

12 Jul

Daughter of the ForestNote: This book contains more adult content than most books I review. I won’t mention all of the details in this review, but would recommend the book for those who are 18+.

Sorcha of Sevenwaters is the youngest of seven, and the only girl. She was meant to be the seventh son of a seventh son, destined for greatness, but instead her mother died shortly after she was born and her father threw himself into his campaigns against the invading Britons. Sorcha was allowed to run wild with her brothers, learning to respect the fey folk living in the woods around her home. That is, until her father marries the Lady Oonagh, who has her own plans for Sevenwaters. After Oonagh casts an evil spell, Sorcha is set on a path to save her brothers. But the path is long and difficult, and Sorcha grows tired of being strong enough to see it through…

This story is the retelling of the “Swans” legend you might know from your childhood fairytales. The plot is well fleshed out, filled with twists and turns that leave you wondering if Sorcha ever will finish the tasks set her by the fey folk. It’s a lengthy read, but I couldn’t stop turning pages.

I loved Sorcha–her determination, her loyalty, and her caring nature made her into a well-rounded character. But she wasn’t all bravado, either–she had her moments where she wanted to give up, but she always went back to her tasks. All of her brothers were different and well-rounded, each with his own purpose. The other characters, too, were enjoyable to read about.

The romance didn’t sit entirely well with me (let’s face it–I’m tough to please when it comes to literary romances!). I mean, the primary romance was fine enough. The secondary romance hinted at the beginning and thrown in again at the end wasn’t fleshed out quite enough for me to feel like it was anything other than an unnecessary complication.

I said before that this book has more adult content in it than most books I review. It’s also an adult book–not something in the YA section–which I don’t usually read. I just vastly prefer young adult books, which tend to be a bit more straightforward than adult books. Don’t get me wrong, you can still have all the twists and turns in YA that you can in adult, but YA has never seemed bogged down to me. Adult books tend to, which is why if I start them I rarely finish them.

I nearly gave up on this book about 50 pages in, when it started hopping from one seemingly unnecessary background story to the next. I’m so glad I stuck with it (and yes, those seemingly unnecessary background stories did become somewhat necessary!). This was a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

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