Fantasy Book Review – Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Synopsis: Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, was badly burned as a child and carries the legacy of that fire in her crippled hands. After ten years she’s returning home, a courageous, forthright woman. But while her body’s scars have healed, her spirit remains fragile, fearing the shadows of her past.
Sevenwaters is in turmoil. The fey prince Mac Dara is desperate to see his only son, married to Maeve’s sister, return to the Otherworld. To force Lord Sean’s hand, Mac Dara has caused a party of innocent travelers on the Sevenwaters border to vanish—only to allow their murdered bodies to be found one by one.
When Maeve finds a body in a remote part of the woods, she and her brother, Finbar, embark on a journey that could bring about the end of Mac Dara’s reign—or lead to a hideous death. If she is successful, Maeve may open the door to a future she has not dared to believe possible….

I had certain predictions going into this book, that I thought would happen. I’m happy to say that those predictions didn’t exactly come true. I don’t want to say what those were because I don’t want to spoil anything.

It’s unusual to see a disabled protagonist in fantasy novels, at least in my experience, especially one who can’t use her hands. Maeve was burned in a fire as a child and as a result her hands are basically useless. She’s aware of her limitations and has accepted there are things in life she will never have. But Maeve has a gift that most others don’t: an affinity with animals.

I really liked Maeve. She is brave and practical, but she still has the longings of woman her age. As the reader, it’s hard not to feel for her, to want her to have the things she knows she can’t.

Honestly, I can’t think of a lot to say about this book. It’s a very good book and a satisfying end to the Sevenwaters series (at least as far as I know). I enjoyed the entire series overall and would recommend it to any and all lovers of fantasy, especially Celtic fantasy.

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Fantasy Book Review – Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Synopsis: Prior to making her final pledge as a druid, the young seer Sibeal visits the island of Inis Eala, where the Sight leads her to Felix, a survivor of a Norse shipwreck who has no memory of his past. As the island’s healers struggle to keep Felix alive, he and Sibeal form a natural bond. But Sibeal’s vocation is her true calling, and she must choose between the two things that tug at her soul-her spirituality and a chance at love…

I have so many mixed feelings about this book that it’s driving me a little crazy. I apologize in advance if this gets a little ranty and possibly contain some spoilers.

To begin, Sibeal was first introduced in Child of the Prophecy when she is quite young. She appears again in Heir to Sevenwaters. In both books she is established to be destined to become a druid. She is a seer with many talents, always calm and serene even as a young child. Seer of Sevenwaters begins with Sibeal on Inis Eala, sent there for the summer by her mentor before taking her final vows as a druid. On the first day there, a shipwreck happens just off their coast and Sibeal saves the life of a man who nearly drowned. Feeling a responsibility for him, she spends a great deal of time with him during his recovery.

Everything seems all fine and dandy until around 100 pages in when Sibeal is interacting with some of the other women on the island and they start asking her about her vocation. She’s happy to answer as best she can. Then it’s brought up that becoming a druid means she will never know love and the joy of having children. This is where the problems start for me.

Now, I know that this takes place in a different time when that is exactly what is expected of women: get married, have babies. However, though likely unintentional, I really feel a parallel here with things I have been experiencing in the real world. Even now, in 2023, there is this pervasive idea that people, women especially, cannot possible live a happy and fulfilled life without having children. As a woman who doesn’t want children I have gotten all kinds of comments from people about my choice. Like how I will regret it and I’ll die alone etc.

With this feeling, I continued on reading this book, both loving it and feeling annoyed by the inevitable outcome. I suppose I should have known better considering all the previous books have a romantic plot and the idea of love prevailing over all. I don’t mind romantic plots, I really don’t (it’s long descriptive sex scenes that bother me) but I felt like Sibeal was supposed to be different. She knew what her life was going to be and then it just all changes because of a man.

Don’t get me wrong. This book is great and I loved it. Reading through the first person point of view really makes me feel like I’m in the character’s head, feeling what they feel. Because of that, I felt Sibeal’s longing and her conflict. There was a part of me that wanted them to end up together, but I still felt annoyed by it.

Like I said at the beginning, I have very mixed feelings. However, this shouldn’t deter anyone from reading it. This book is amazing, it’s a great addition to the series and you should definitely read it.

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading even if this was a little ranty.

Fantasy Book Review – Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier


Child of the Prophecy is the thrilling conclusion to Juliet Marillier’s award-winning Sevenwaters Trilogy.

Magic is fading… and the ways of Man are driving the Old Ones to the West, beyond the ken of humankind. The ancient groves are being destroyed, and if nothing is done, Ireland will lose its essential mystic core.

The prophecies of long ago have foretold a way to prevent this horror, and it is the Sevenwaters clan that the Spirits of Eire look to for salvation. They are a family bound into the lifeblood of the land, and their promise to preserve the magic has been the cause of great joy to them… as well as great sorrow.

It is up to Fainne, daughter of Niamh, the lost sister of Sevenwaters, to solve the riddles of power. She is the shy child of a reclusive sorcerer, and her way is hard, for her father is the son of the wicked sorceress Oonagh, who has emerged from the shadows and seeks to destroy all that Sevenwaters has striven for. Oonagh will use her granddaughter Fainne most cruelly to accomplish her ends, and stops at nothing to see her will done.

Juliet Marillier is fast becoming one of those authors whose books I auto-buy. I don’t even need to know what they are about, if I see her name, I will buy her books. I’ve already added her other novels to my Goodreads TBR and when I can I will pick up the actual books to sit on my lovely shelf for who knows how long.

Child of the Prophecy is written from Fainne’s point of view. She is the daughter of Niamh and Ciaran and was raised far away from Seventwaters by her father alone after her mother died. She was taught from a very young age, how to use the sorcerer’s craft of magic. She is skilled and disciplined, despite being only 15 years old.

It is interesting to read this novel after the first two because of Fainne’s point of view. She grew up far away from Sevenwaters so when she does go there her perspective of that place and the family that resides there is very different. She was taught that the family of Sevenwaters was responsible for tearing her parents apart, treating her mother terribly and likely her death. She there to do her grandmother’s bidding, to destroy the family of Sevenwaters.

Fainne initially goes into this fairly willingly, though her grandmother is manipulating her by threatening the people she cares about if she doesn’t do as she’s told. She doesn’t expect to be truly welcome at Sevenwaters or to actually care about the people there. But of course, the longer she spends there, the more she comes to care the family she never knew.

Much of this story is about Fainne’s internal conflict. She wants to protect the people she cares about from her grandmother’s wrath, but doing so means bringing about the destruction of those very same people.

Fainne is smart and resourceful. I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. I would love to read more about her but judging by the ending of this novel, she isn’t likely to appear in the series again.

My rating for Child of the Prophecy is 4 out of 5 stars. I definitely recommend it to fans of this series, to fans of Celtic fantasy and fantasy in general.

Thanks for reading.

Fantasy Book Review – Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier

Synopsis: After years of comparative peace, darkness has fallen upon Ulster. Trouble is brewing and even those in the heart of the forest are not safe. Niamh, elder daughter of Sorcha, is required to make a strategic marriage, while her sister Liadan, who has the gift of Sight and her mother’s talent for healing, finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of the Painted Man and his warrior band. There Liadan begins a journey that is to transform her life.

Son of the Shadows, book 2 of the Sevenwaters series is told from the point of view of Liadan, the youngest daughter of Sorcha and Hugh of Harrowfield. Liadan has inherited her mother’s talent for healing, as well as her uncle Finbar’s unique gifts.

It has been around 18 years since Sorcha’s ordeal. Her and her family have been living happily until the oldest daughter, Niamh enters into a forbidden relationship and ends up being married off to a strategic ally. While on the road to see Niamh off to her new home, Liadan is abducted by bandits who need a healer to help one of their men who is gravely injured. This brings her in contact with the notorious leader of outlaws, the Painted Man, and changes the course of her life.

Liadan is mature for all of her 16 years. She is skilled at healing and shows quite the stubborn streak. She rarely does what people tell her she should do. She forges ahead, determined to make her own path. I liked this about her, although sometimes her blind faith in certain people got a bit on my nerves.

I didn’t really feel the natural progression of her relationship with Bran. He was down right cruel to her not only when they first meet but even after their relationship gets established. I honestly don’t know why she puts up with it.

Did I like this book? Yes, I did, though not as much as I enjoyed Daughter of the Forest. There’s nothing wrong with Liadan as a character, I just didn’t feel as invested in her story as I did with Sorcha. There isn’t the same sense of tension as in the first book.

That’s not to say that Liadan doesn’t face any dangers. Her life is in peril more than once and she goes through a great deal to protect the people she loves.

My rating for Son of the Shadows is 3 out of 5 stars and I would definitely recommend reading it if you’ve read Daughter of the Forest and want to continue the series.

Thanks for reading!

Fantasy Book Review – Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier


Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives: they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift—by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…

After reading Heir to Sevenwaters, I realized how much of the first three books I didn’t remember so I decided to go back to the beginning and read them again. I’m really glad I did because there was so much I had forgotten. The first time I read Daughter of the Forest was well over five years ago and I’ve read a lot of books since then.

I remember liking these books the first time but not necessarily loving them. I think I have grown as a reader since then because this time around, I loved Daughter of the Forest. Sorcha is such an amazing character. She’s barely more than a child when her father is enchanted by an evil sorceress, and her brothers are all turned to swans. I can be silent for hours without thinking about it but Sorcha remains silent for YEARS, while enduring some of the worst trauma a person can go through. She is isolated and alone through the majority of her ordeal. Even when there are people around her, they don’t understand what she’s doing or why and make assumptions about her that nearly lead to her death.

Can I relate to Sorcha as a character? No. Her experiences are far beyond anything I can imagine. However, reading this book from Sorcha’s point of view really draws the reader in to her experience. I don’t think it would have quite the same impact if it were told from third person point of view.

My rating for Daughter of the Forest is 4 out of 5 stars and I would recommend it to anyone who loves Celtic based fantasy, fantasy in general and folklore retellings.

Thanks for reading!

Fantasy Book Review – Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Synopsis: The chieftains of Sevenwaters have long been custodians of a vast and mysterious forest?and a new heir has been born. But the family’s joy turns to despair when the baby is taken, and something unnatural is left in his place. To reclaim her newborn brother, Clodagh must enter the shadowy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there?

Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier is the 4th book in the Sevenwaters series. This book is told in the first person point of view of Clodagh, one of six daughters of Lord Sean and Lady Aisling.

Clodagh is seen as the “domestic” daughter. Her skills are thought to be that of a housewife, and therefore rather boring. Her other sisters have talents of their own, as a healer, a seer and just a more outgoing personality.

This book begins with Clodagh tying a ribbon as an offering to a tree in the forest to pray for the safe delivery of her newest sibling. Lady Aisling is older now, has already had six children and her health is not at it’s best. There is an oppressive sense of doom hanging over everything even though the house is also preparing for Clodagh’s sister’s wedding. With her mother mostly confined to bed, Clodagh is expected to keep the household running.

Clodagh is an interesting character, one I felt I could relate to. She is expected to keep the house running smoothly, take care of wedding preparations, as well as keeping her sister, the bride from going a bit crazy. I felt her sense of duty to her family, how she pushed herself to keep going even when she was exhausted and kept up appearances of being calm and in control. When the new baby is born, a son, Clodagh is the first to step up and help care for the baby. She even tells herself that there is no sense in thinking of what her own marriage might entail because she is needed at home to help her mother care for the baby. When the baby unexpectedly disappears and a changeling is left in his place, only Clodagh can see that he is a living being, the only one who can hear his cries.

Since she was the one watching the baby when the abduction occurs, she is blamed by her father for not watching every second. Although men are sent to search for the baby, Clodagh knows that this isn’t a normal sort of abduction and that the Fair Folk have something to do with it. Clodagh sets out on a perilous journey to find her brother, facing all kinds of dangers and heartache along the way.

This woman, who most dismiss as the “housewife” type of daughter has more courage and love than most people have in their little finger. When she puts her mind to something, she will see it through no matter the personal cost.

Based on the title of this novel, Heir to Sevenwaters, I had expectations of how the story would likely go. I’m so glad that my expectations were completely dashed. This story is in no way predictable and a complete rollercoaster of emotions.

After reading several books with multiple POV, this first person POV felt like a breath of fresh air. The reader doesn’t know anything that Clodagh doesn’t. We don’t see what the bad guys are up to, or even other people in the household. I love that.

Although I can rarely pronounce the names correctly, Celtic fantasy has to be one of my favorite subgenres of fantasy. The three books that precede Heir of Sevenwaters are all excellent and I look forward to the rest of the series.

My rating for this book is 5 out of 5 stars! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Celtic fantasy, though I’d recommend reading the three previous books first.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!