‘“Don’t you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?”’
Anyone whose a regular visitor to my blog has probably heard me go on about Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest: it was easily the best book I read last year, and definitely one of my all-time best reads (high praise indeed!). So I’ve no idea why I’ve waited this long to read the next book in the series, especially as it turned out to be equally as compelling! The only complaint I can really make about it is that whilst they rereleased Daughter of the Forest with a new, sleek black and red cover, they haven’t yet rereleased the later books, meaning my copy of Son of the Shadows doesn’t match (so annoying!) and is actually kind of ugly…but at least the story was amazing!
Son of the Shadows tells the story of Red and Sorcha’s youngest daughter Liadan, who has been told by the Lord and Lady of the Forest that she must remain forever at Sevenwaters, if the sacred isles are to be taken back from the Britons. Whilst Liadan is for the most part content with her lot, using the healing gifts she has inherited from her mother to help the people of Sevenwaters, her world is thrown into turmoil when she is taken prisoner by the feared mercenary known as the Painted Man. He proves himself to be quite different than the cruel and heartless man of legend, and against her will Liadan finds herself drawn to him, threatening her once idyllic life at Sevenwaters…
Yet again, I was captured by the beauty and lyricism of Juliet Marillier’s writing, and I was so excited to be back in the enchanting and mythical world of the Sevenwaters trilogy. I wasn’t sure if the feel of the book would be different because it focused on different characters, but I ended up loving how this book intersperses the much loved characters from the first book – namely Sorcha and Red – with new and equally wonderful characters. I don’t think I’ve read a series yet with this kind of concept, where each book takes a character from the next generation as the main character, but I really love the idea!
Liadan as a heroine was similar to Sorcha in a lot of ways, but different enough that she was definitely her own character. She is caring and an expert healer like her mother, but she also seemed bolder and more active, constantly taking matters into her own hands as events spiral further and further out of control.
I also loved her relationships with the people around her, from her family members to the Painted Man’s band, and especially with the Painted Man himself. The importance of sibling relationships continued to be a theme in this second book, and you could clearly see her devotion to her brother and sister, and how she struggles with the conflict this often causes with her own interests. I don’t think there’s enough books out there that focus on sibling relationships the way these books do, and that’s yet another thing I adore about the Sevenwaters books.
The unlikely friendships she strikes up with the likes of Gull and Dog – men who are supposedly ruthless mercenaries – were also charming, and I love how she builds those relationships through story-telling. Often I find ‘story-telling’ interludes in books boring, but I feel like Liadan’s stories in Son of the Shadows really worked, as they always somehow applied to the main story.
But most of all I loved her romance with The Painted Man/Bran, however complicated and often heart-breaking it was. Juliet Marillier certainly knows how to write a compelling romance, and I was rooting for them every bit as much as I had been rooting for Sorcha and Red in Daughter of the Forest, however many things came between them and threatened to tear them apart.
Yet again, I fell in love with the magical world of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, with its fairytale-esque charm and captivating characters, and I was unable to put this book down, devouring it within days. As with Daughter of the Forest, there really isn’t the words to describe the strange but beautiful quality these books have, and I can’t wait to finally read the third book, Child of the Prophecy, to find out how it all ends. I really can’t recommend these books enough if you haven’t read them!