Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Review: Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier


I've decided to join in Angie's Retro Friday Reviews meme (hopefully I'll do it regularly).  From her site:
Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted here at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time!
What I'll be doing for the most part, is reviewing books I've recently discovered that were published two or more years ago.  I know I read a LOT of new stuff, but I'd like to review some things from the past too.  I find it especially appropriate that I'm starting with a book from a series Angie originally got me hooked on.

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Publication date: 2001
ISBN: 9780765343260

Source: Library

Son of the Shadows (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 2) 

This sequel to Daughter of the Forest, follows the story of Sorcha's daughter, Liadan.  Liadan inherited much from her mother - her skill in healing, her strong spirit, her stubbornness.  But, when Liadan is taken from her family to care for a sick man in the company of mercenaries, she finds her future is changing before her eyes.  As she falls for one of those mercenaries - an enemy to her family - she must decide for herself where her future leads, despite influences both from her family and from otherworldly creatures. 

Things I Liked:
Once again, I am enthralled by the skill Marillier has as a story teller and as a creator of a world full of depth and history.  The story is complex and takes many twists and turns that are both expected and surprising.  I fell in love with Liadan as I did with Sorcha before her.  She was a strong and resilient woman, who ends up being the one who saves, rather than being saved.  I love a good, strong heroine.  Marillier has a skill with words and with folklore, weaving a gorgeous setting and brilliant characters that seem as real and flawed as any I know.  I find myself completely immersed in the drama that unfolds at Sevenwaters and beyond.  The flawless way she includes magic in the ancient historical background of Ireland is just a testament to her skill as a fantasy writer.  Oh, and the bitterness of this book just broke my heart.  It is not a happy tale like Daughter of the Forest is (for the most part).  It is filled with heartbreaking moments and broken lives and lies that tear families apart.  And yet, I'm looking forward to reading the next books just as much.  Some of my favorite parts:

I wove into this story as much wonder and magic and enchantment as I could.  But I did not forget the ordinary things, the things that are wonderful in themselves, without being in any way unusual. p 182
The question was not so much did they trust me, as did I trust them?  Bran had dismissed trust once as a concept without meaning.  But if you could not trust, you were indeed alone, for neither friendship nor partnership, neither family nor alliance could exist without it.  Without trust, we were scattered far and wide, at the mercy of the four winds with nothing to cling to. p 370
I do not seek to make these wounds vanish as if they had never been.  I know he will always bear the scars.  I cannot make his path grow broad and straight.  It will always twist and turn and offer new difficulties.  But I can take his hand and walk by his side. p 551
Things I Didn't Like:
Once again, the book is long and not for those with very short attention spans.  I had to return this book twice to the library before I finished it.  It takes time and patience, but you will be richly rewarded at the end for it.

Start with Daughter of the Forest by Marillier

I also love Marillier's Wildwood Dancing and Heart's Blood

s-factor: !
perhaps a few

mrg-factor: XX
there are a few scenes, fairly tasteful, but descriptive nonetheless

v-factor: ->->->
there is fighting and some gruesome images, but not a lot of scenes

Overall rating: *****

Do you have a favorite fantasy author?  One you haven't yet been disappointed by?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I'm tickled you read this one as it's possibly my favorite of hers. I go back and forth between this one and DotF, but wow. Such a good series. I can't wait for the fifth one to come out in a couple weeks! Liadan and Bran are two such strong leads. I never tire of them and of Liadan's determination to keep and protect all that are hers.

  2. I am so excited to read this sequel to Daughter of the Forest.

  3. Angie, I'm excited to get to the next books! Thanks again for convincing me to read them :)

    Des, it is worth every minute of the read.


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