After reading Juliet Marillier's Heir to Sevenwaters last January, I didn't know how obsessed I would be over the rest of the series. Thanks to a friend who shared with me the other four books, I spent the last few days just reading in my room. The series is such a lovely marriage of fantasy and romance that it really refused to let me go. Given that, I thought it would be better to share my thoughts on them in just one post instead of separately.
One great thing about reading Ms Marillier's Sevenwaters books is how each one features a different heroine so if you come across one, you shouldn't hesitate about starting with it. Though I started with Clodagh in Heir, I wasn't spoiled too much when I read Daughter of the Forest, the first of the series. It is a retelling of The Six Swans, set in what would seem to be ancient Ireland. It takes a familiar tale and infuses it with courage, heartbreak, and a host of memorable characters, and fans of romantic fantasy will be swept away by the epic movement of this tale. Sorcha's love for her brothers (and theirs for her) was the fulcrum of this story and as much as I enjoyed the unfolding romance that began towards the middle of the novel, I found myself constantly wondering about her brothers. I've read retellings of this story before, but I don't think I ever really contemplated how changed a man can be after going through that experience. Ms Marillier's treatment of this process really gave me pause, and even reduced me to tears a few times.
Another series favorite is Son of the Shadows, and mostly because I think its protagonist Liadan is arguably the strongest of Ms Marillier's heroines. Liadan led me down unexpected roads -- I wasn't really sure where the story was going at times but don't take that the wrong way. Liadan, a second daughter, finds her place in the world through her steadfastness, her generosity, and her political acumen, and follows a path 'outside of the pattern'. Friend and fellow book blogger Chachic once told me she enjoyed the first two books and I definitely agree. I love how Ms Marillier ensures that her characters are strong, capable women even if they don't vanquish evildoers with flaming swords. Even Fainne from Child of the Prophecy had her strengths, although I must admit that out of all the five books, this was the one I enjoyed least.
The last two books revolve around two of Liadan's nieces, Clodagh in Heir to Sevenwaters and Sibeal in Seer of Sevenwaters. Even from a young age, Sibeal has known that she is being called to be a druid. But during the summer before she has to make her vows, her mentor sends her to the warrior community of Inis Eala where she meets the shipwrecked Felix and a dangerous mission threatens to take her away from her quiet life. I am glad that I ended with Seer instead of Child because I enjoyed Sibeal and her adventures far better than I did Fainne's journey. In its own way, each Sevenwaters story has spurred me to look for more. Unfortunately, I seem to have come to the end. Still, I harbor the faintest of hopes that Ms Marillier will continue to write about Sevenwaters. As a new convert, I feel that there is so much more to explore.