Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Daughter of the Forest is the sweeping tale of Sorcha and her six brothers.  Growing up deep in the heart of their forest, the seven of them are as close as they can be to one another.  But, when a mysterious and powerful woman comes into their lives, everything changes and Sorcha finds she must perform an impossible task in order to save her brothers' lives.  But even she does not at first realize just how difficult that task will be.

Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1)

Things I Liked:
I was blown away by this book!  (A huge thanks to Angie from Angieville for recommending it so highly.)  There is so much in it, that I couldn't possibly do it all justice in this review without going on forever.  I had a hard enough time trying to write a "summary" for it - it doesn't even scratch the surface.  The characters are so complex and believable and real that you start to feel things right along with them, particularly Sorcha and Red.  The plot is complex and has many twists and turns, but it is easy to see that Marillier knew exactly where she wanted it to go.  Everything seems to happen for a reason, even the most horrible things.  I was also really impressed that she didn't just wrap things up all nice at the end.  Everything does not end up perfectly and the characters have each changed so much that things don't go back the way they were in the beginning.  We would not want them to.  And can I just say, the love story was so beautiful.  So many books today, especially a lot of teen romances (not to disparage the genre, since you know I read a lot of it), the love stories are so incomplete - the people fall in love at first sight.  They can't be separated - they feel incomplete without one another, but we really don't see any reason for this.  Not so, with this book.  Just so gorgeous.  And heartbreaking.  And I'll stop raving so you can pick this one up. :)

We may be torn asunder, and it may seem as if there is no tomorrow for us.  We may travel  our own path, and we may fall and be broken and mend again.  But in the end, as surely as the sun and moon make their way across the arch of the heavens, the strenght of one is the strength of seven...Like pools in the same stream, we must meet and part and meet again.  We belong to the flow of the lake and to the deep beating heart of the forest. p 124
Real life is not quite as it is in stories.  In the old tales, bad things happen, and when the tale has unfolded and come to its triumphant conclusion, it is as if the bad things had never been.  Life is not as simple as that, not quite. p532-533

Things I Didn't Like:
It is not a simple, easy read.  It takes a long time for the action to start and there are a lot of details and side stories and pages to get through.  Those of you who don't like high fantasy will not want to bother.  But, you will miss out.  Take plenty of time and don't rush.  I think you'll fall in love too.

I kept remembering Hush: an Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

And very like Marillier's other books, especially Heart's Blood

s-factor: !
a few

mrg-factor: XX
mostly it is implied or skimmed over, but one rather disturbing scene

v-factor: ->->->
plenty of fighting and injury and the above-mentioned scene

Overall rating: *****

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  1. I owned this one forever without really knowing anything about it... and never read it...

    And I think I let it go in the last round of cleaning off shelves...

    And of course THEN I find out how fabulous it is. :P

  2. And I get the feeling you are not easily "blown away." Am I right? Which means, yet another book to add to my list! Yeah! :)

  3. I've been meaning to read some of Marillier's work, but I was going to start with Wildwood Dancing. I wonder if this one might be a better idea instead...

  4. Well, this post has made me ridiculously happy. :)

    I'm so glad you loved it, Melissa. "blown away" is exactly what I was like when I first read it. I mean, oh my word is it good! Definitely give SON OF THE SHADOWS a go as well if you feel like staying in the world awhile longer.

    Britt, Suey, you must read it. Like I've never told you that before...lol...but it's very true.

    Natalie, definitely start here. It's her first and it is unforgettable. WILDWOOD DANCING is good, but not THIS good.

  5. Britt, how sad!

    Suey, I don't think I'm easily blown away, but you should definitely still put this one on the TBR pile :)

    NatalieSap, what Angie said :) Though Wildwood is probably a bit easier to read, this one is worth it!

    Angie, thanks again for recommending it - many times over! I've got to get my hands on Son of the Shadows soon.

  6. I was glad to see your comment about not understanding how people in some of these books "fall in love." I often have that reaction to films as well: the movie seems to assume that we'll all be on board that two people are star-crossed lovers, but if you ask yourself what these two people actually know about each other, it's not much. More like lust?

  7. Shelley, I completely agree! There is a lot of this in movies and in some YA paranormal romance especially. To a degree it can be intriguing, but not terribly realistic.

  8. I read this and I was haunted by it for days after. Seriously, I would be taking a nap and would either wake repeatedly just thinking about the story or start mumbling lines from it while half-asleep. I was that affected by it and was left with a sense of emptiness after the final line was read. The love between Sorcha and Red was beautiful but I couldn't help but feel a sense of deep deep sadness for Simon, with what he'd been through and his rather unhappy ending!

  9. This is one of my favorite books. I love Juliet Marillier's writing. The fairy tale was a favorite of mine as a child and I really love this grown up version. There is a YA version that I read by Zoe Marriott which is good but not as good as Daughter of the Forest. Great review!

  10. I haven't read this book by Marillier, but will definitely pick it up now.

    Wildwood Dancing is also very good though, and I enjoyed Heart's Blood (though not quite as much as Wildwood.)

    I agree with you about the teen romance, Melissa. One of my particular gripes is that so many of the romantic heroes are completely unbelievable--either totally understanding and sympathetic and supportive ALL the time--or almost the opposite but it's ok because hero and heroine are in lo-o-o-ve. And as you say, why?

  11. Amy, I felt that same way - I would dream about the story while I was reading it. Something very compelling about it!

    Christina, I will have to look up that YA version. I haven't heard of it!

    Andie, YES! Neither the ones that are perfect nor the ones that are complete wretches are very realistic. We need more fictional men who are somewhere in between. I guess they aren't as exciting as either extreme, but it works in real life!


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