Book Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Series: Sevenwaters #1
Published: 1999
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 544
Source: Purchased
Dates Read: March 2-8, 2019
Grade: A
Synopsis: 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… (from Goodreads)

REVIEW

dotfWhere do I begin, and how can I do this novel justice? This book is wonderful, yet full of heartache. It’s beautiful, yet harrowing. It is full of life, yet death lurks around every corner. And I want more of it.

Readability: 4.5/5

The story’s woven together so beautifully. If something, even if it seems to be nothing, comes up early on, it’ll come back. This book was written with care and love, for both the story itself and its characters.

Characterization: 5/5

Each of these characters seems so real and believable. Even though Sorcha’s brothers got on my nerves when they don’t want to let Sorcha be with Red, their reactions are understandable. They haven’t seen her in years and had missed how she’s grown into a woman with her own experiences, both good and bad. When they’d left her, she was just a girl — but when they return, she has endured trials they couldn’t have imagined.

Sorcha has to go through some harrowing things, but Marillier doesn’t just blow over them to make the writing easier. No, she has Sorcha deal with them and struggle through. It’s very realistic. Sorcha’s terrified and discouraged, but she finds the strength within herself to finish her task for her brothers. When Sorcha was in pain, so was I. It was almost so unbearable that I couldn’t go on, but I had to. I had to get through to the other side and see her safe.

Red was wonderful. He’s the exact contrast to what Sorcha expected a Briton to be, and that was exactly what he had to be for her to see the Britons — once her worst enemies — are actually people just like her own. She realizes that those you should fear are not determined by their race or kind, but by their thoughts and actions.

Interest Value: 5/5

Interestingly, the story itself reads very slowly; however, after getting through the first couple of chapters, I couldn’t stop. I put nearly everything else aside just to read it. Watch a game? I can get the updates. Get something to drink? I can last a little longer. Go out to eat? Okay, but I’m not driving.

The fairy tale aspect of the book is so powerful. The Fair Folk are both formidable and benevolent. Their contradictory actions can seem confusing, but you know as well as the characters that they must be obeyed. They are almost like Greek gods toying with humans, but at the same time, they are helping them achieve their destinies. Going against them could mean your demise. Most of the times I’ve encountered the fey in books, they have been the main or at least secondary characters — but never have they taken a role such as this. It somehow makes reading the novel more immersive and fantastical than a fantasy would otherwise be because you can almost feel their power coming through the pages. Getting a glimpse into the druids through one of Sorcha’s brothers added to the overall feeling of the book, as well.

Romance: 5/5

Red’s love for Sorcha is subtle yet profound. He definitely shows less than he tells — and because of that Sorcha often misses these cues — but the things he does for Sorcha and the ways he cares for and takes care of her reached down to squeeze my heart and refused to let go. I think I may have a fallen a little bit in love with him myself.

Sorcha naturally doesn’t realize how much she loves him until they’re apart, but as readers we can see it in the way she feels safe around him when everyone else frightens her, how she worries for him when before her only concerns were for her brothers, and mostly how she (thinks she) endangers herself and even her brothers to try to protect him.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “The end of the story is of your making, nobody else’s. You can do with it as you choose. There are as many paths open to your hero as branches on a great tree. They are wonderful and terrible, and plain and twisted. They touch and part and intermingle, and you can follow them whatever way you will.” (91)
  • “Do not judge too quickly that which you cannot understand.” (212)
  • “This hurts, I know. But you have been strong before, and you will be now. What is burned can be replaced; what is destroyed can be made again.” (362-363)
  • “You are the blood in my veins, and the beating of my heart. You are my first waking thought, and my last sigh before sleeping. You are—you are bone of my bone, and breath of my breath.” (529)
  • “There is no good or evil, save in the way you see the world. There is no dark or light, save in your own vision. All changes in the blink of an eyelid; yet all remains the same.” (535)

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