Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Series: Sevenwaters #1
Book Published by Tor Books
Publish Date: May 5, 2000
Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac.
But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift.
To reclaim the lives of her brothers, Sorcha leaves the only safe place she has ever known, and embarks on a journey filled with pain, loss, and terror.
When she is kidnapped by enemy forces and taken to a foreign land, it seems that there will be no way for her to break the spell that condemns all that she loves. But magic knows no boundaries, and Sorcha will have to choose between the life she has always known and a love that comes only once. –(summary excerpt from Goodreads)
My Thoughts: I’ve seen Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier around the bloggy world lotsa times. Some of my most trusted reading friends have recommended it and almost pushed it, which I love. When Lauren at Love is not a triangle decided to read it after we both read an amazing review on Heidi’s blog, I grabbed a copy from my local library too. There’s nothing like reading and discussing with friends, you guys!
In case anyone forgot, I LOVE FANTASY.
What makes the fantasy genre a bonus for me is that several of my reading friends also love love love fantasy. So if I choose one of these books to read, chances are I’ll have someone to talk, gush, rave, or CAPSLOCK with over how incredible it probably is. This is really the best part of reading in general with any genre, but fantasy tends to bring out the very best in some of us.
Juliet Marillier is amazing in that she stays pretty true to the story of The Six Swans without veering out too far, yet Daughter of the Forest still has its own distinct voice. It’s obvious to me that the story is being re-told, but it isn’t being ‘ripped-off.’ I absolutely loved it. This particular fairy-tale is one of my favorites by The Brothers Grimm and it was so comforting to me to read something that had a twinge of familiarity and was reminiscent of my childhood.
But Sorcha is an incredibly strong and awesome female lead.
Sorcha – Sorcha is the one that stole the show, in my opinion. When her brothers fell victim to a spell that made turned them into swans, Sorcha was the only person that could break the spell and set them free. She could only do this, however, if she remained entirely and completely mute for the duration of the task, and the task took her a long time. And it was extremely difficult! During her time of silence, Sorcha was accused of a plethora of untruths – some quite condemning, embarrassing, and life-threatening – and she managed to keep her head high. She was attacked physically, verbally, and emotionally – still she toiled on. Sorcha maintained that no matter what, she and her brothers were a group of seven – a family – and they would remain that way. She was written with such a strong spirit and sense of character, and yet sometimes she was the not-yet-matured adolescent-turned-teenager that supported her young age.
Sorcha’s story is amazing. It’s filled with hard work, with hope, with despair and heartache, with pain, and with happiness. Sorcha made me feel nearly every emotion while I was reading Daughter of the Forest. She did have a weakness, though, and it was that she allowed herself to FEEL THINGS for someone while she was working to save her brothers. As she felt things, so did I, and I knew that as Sorcha would eventually have to choose her brothers or the man she loves, my heart could potentially be broken. Is there ever really a winner when you have to make a choice like that?
While I loved the setting so much and could visualize it in a very sensory way – sounds, smells, the way everything looked – and I loved the lore that Marillier weaved into the Fair Folk and the belief system of the people of these regions, I have to admit that the characters and their interactions and relationships were my favorite part of the story. I loved Sorcha intensely, and that love fanned out to each of her brothers equally. Such care was given to creating seven siblings that were believably so entwined and close-knit that they would truly do anything for one another – even work hard, painful laborous tasks in complete silence for years in order to break an evil spell set by an evil woman. The relationship between Sorcha and her brothers was everything wonderful that you can imagine.
There was so much more to this story than just Sorcha’s relationships with her brothers. Sorcha had a romance that was wonderful and I loved it so much. She had great friendships that were wonderful and emotional and I loved them too. She had hard times with cruel villains that I despised, and this is a classic part of reading fantasy. There was also so much ‘real life’ in Daughter of the Forest – little pieces of life lessons thrown in here or there. Sometimes they were obviously written in and sometimes you had to think awhile before you grasped what those lessons were, but there was so much in this book that rings true to life – families sometimes change, sometimes people you love leave you, friends come and go, you do what you have to do to survive – things like that. This book is full of everything.
The end of the book has some good resolution and I’m completely satisfied to sit on it for awhile before I start book two. I love it when I LOVE the end of a book SO MUCH and just want to bask in it for awhile before I hop right into the next section of the story. While the ending is a good, clean one without cliffhangers, there are still questions that are unanswered – which are always good starting points for the next book in the series or companion set. I’m honestly really excited to start it, but it’ll be a little while. I’m just loving the time I’m spending thinking back on the details of Daughter of the Forest. I recommend this book wholeheartedly to fans of fantasy, period.
**My words are not fitting for this book. There are others who have written far more convincing and appropriate reviews:
High/Epic Fantasy & Historical
Great Storytelling – Coming-of-Age, Travels, Romance, Heartache
Romance – slowly developing, no triangle
Good vs. EvilA quest/task!
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