It's time for a Fall Into Fantasy review! Today, we're talking about our Faves & Flaws for the Daughter of the Forest. Instead of doing a traditional review, Alexa and I are each sharing three things that we really enjoyed and three things that just didn't quite work. So, what did I think of this fantasy classic?
Release Date: April 1999
Publisher: Tor Books
Source & Format: Bought; Paperback
Series: The Sevenwaters Series #1
Summary (from Goodreads)
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...
(1) the enchanting writing & world
Yes, I am basically combining the writing and the world into one category. I'm sorry, but it was hard to limit myself to just three favorite things about this book. Daughter of the Forest is a retelling of the "Six Swans" fairy tale, which I was unfamiliar with prior to reading this book. But from the moment I stepped into this world, I was hooked. Marillier's writing is just absolutely gorgeous. I lost myself in the story! Marillier so perfectly captures that fairy tale tone - the harsh realities of life and the infusion of magic into the every day.
I particularly loved that this series is historical fantasy - it's a real time period (9th century Ireland) and yet still manages to feel otherworldly. There are some very dark and sad moments in the book, but the writing makes it seem so hopeful and lovely. There is a powerful darkness threatening to disrupt the peace in this world, and I was absolutely aching for the family in the story and anxious over the fate of this world. I cannot get enough of Marillier's writing, and I already know I'll be returning to this world by continuing with this amazing series.
(2) the incredible, well-developed characters
What can I even say about these characters? The heroine, Sorcha, is absolutely incredible. She's strong, loyal and fights against all odds for the people she loves. She is given a seemingly impossible task, and I read with bated breath... hoping that she would be able to complete it. I was worried at first that I would be confused by the six brothers, but they soon began to feel like family to me. With small scenes and tiny moments, Marillier made it impossible for me not to know them. As for Red... what can be said? He captured my attention from the moment he made his first appearance, and he had stolen my heart before I even realized it. There are so many other secondary characters who shine in Daughter of the Forest, and I found myself so invested in all of them. As a character reader, this book was like hitting the jackpot.
(3) the slow-burn romance + abundance of feelings
THIS ROMANCE, Y'ALL. I had heart palpitations, knots in my stomach and legitimate angst while I was reading this book. I didn't expect to fall so hard for this love story, but I absolutely did. I have always loved a slow-burn romance, and this book has one that I'll never forget. I re-read so many scenes, highlighted so many passages and just sighed (and cried) over so many moments. I'm not a very emotional reader, but it was impossible not to be one while reading this book.
There is also a different kind of love story in this book - one of family and the bond between siblings. The lengths Sorcha goes to save her brothers just ripped my heart out. Love is sacrifice, and that is something you see depicted in such a remarkable (and memorable) way in this book. I couldn't get enough! I finished reading before Alexa and was barely able to contain my feelings while I waited for her to discover its magic.
(1) umm... long chapters?
This barely even counts, but I literally cannot think of any flaws for this book. Seriously, this was a five-star read and is pretty much perfection. I loved everything about Daughter of the Forest, and the only negative thing I can even kind of think to say about it is that the chapters are long. The first chapter is a bit slower, too, so it makes it a little daunting at the start. I was unsure in the beginning if this book would work for me, but it didn't take me long to realize just how much I loved it.
But it all seriousness...
I am, quite literally, SO OBSESSED WITH this book. Marillier has skyrocketed to the top of my favorite "new-to-me" authors, and I cannot wait to binge her entire backlist. After finishing Daughter of the Forest, I immediately started the second book, Son of the Shadows, and loved it just as much. I'll be spending quite a bit of time in Sevenwaters, and I already have no regrets. I've loved the Fall Into Fantasy event for so many reasons, but the biggest one is the discovery of this author and this book. It's gorgeous, moving and just begging to be read again and again. I have no doubt this will be a forever favorite for me!
And yes, this is all-caps worthy because OMG. THANK HEAVENS THERE ARE FIVE MORE BOOKS WITH THESE CHARACTERS.— Hannah (@soobsessedblog) November 5, 2014