Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

08/06/2016 Reviews 8

Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier‘“For indeed you have a choice. You can flee and hide, and wait to be found. You can live out your days in terror, without meaning. Or you can take the harder choice, and you can save them.”’

If you remember my post from a couple of weeks back, I explained how I barely ever read randomly any more, and that I had picked this book on a whim at the bookshop to try and remedy that.

And I fell so lucky with my random read, because this book was absolutely AMAZING! Set in Celtic Britain, Daughter of the Forest tells the tale of Sorcha and her six brothers, who are the children of the stern Lord Colem of Sevenwaters (an Irish lord). When their father is captivated by the beautiful but sinister Lady Oonagh, Sorcha’s beloved brothers are enchanted by their new stepmother and are forced to take on the form of swans until their sister can complete the terrible task that has been set for her. Her task is complicated when she is taken prisoner by a band of Britons, and she is taken from her home in Ireland to the British mainland. Finding herself torn between her duty to her brothers and a growing love for her captor, Sorcha struggles to complete her task…

This book genuinely had some of the most beautiful writing I had ever read in it, and I was captivated by the mysterious characters and intrinsic sense of place from the very beginning of the novel. Whilst the plot is slow-building, and it takes over 200-pages to get to the main plot point described in the blurb – Sorcha being taken captive by the Britons – I didn’t mind when the writing was so engaging, and the characters were developed so well.

I loved Sorcha as a heroine and adored her close, almost magical relationship to her brothers from the start. Whilst all six of her brothers have vastly different personalities, their bond proves itself to be unbreakable, as the lengths Sorcha is willing to go to to break the curse upon them is incredible.

Part of this curse-breaking task was that she has to stay silent until she breaks the curse, and I really liked that aspect as it makes it all the more interesting when she is captured. She refuses to speak to her captors, and communicates only in a rudimentary with hand signals, yet she still manages to capture the heart of Red, a British Lord who is in Ireland searching for his missing brother.

I really liked Red as a character, as he was fairly untypical of a fantasy hero. Whilst he’s a little moody, he is also kind and gentle, and would rather be helping on the farms on his estate than riding to war. His growing feelings for Sorcha are heart-warming to read, but this is complicated by the reactions to her from his family and household.

As the Irish are thought by the Britons to be no more than savages, and are in fact at war with them at the time, Sorcha is spurned by Red’s family, and isn’t trusted by the people of his estate, especially due to her apparent inability to speak. However, she does manage to make some friends during her stay, and I really liked her relationships with Margery, John, Ben and Megan. Red’s uncle, however, is an absolutely abhorrent character, and you find yourself truly fearing for Sorcha’s safety on the couple of occasions she finds herself alone with him. His comments to her make your skin crawl, and there’s always a certain menace about him.

I liked the ending of this book, and am pretty excited to see that this is the start of a trilogy. I will definitely be trying to get hold of the second book soon, and after reading this book I would pretty much read anything by Juliet Marillier! The writing was so beautifully crafted and had such an enchanting, magical feel to it that reminded me of a fairytale (I think the story is in fact based on a Germanic fairytale called The Six Swans), and the characters were well-developed and incredibly likeable (or loathable in the case of Lady Oonagh and Red’s uncle Richard).

Reading this book has also shown me how random reading can be nice sometimes, and that you can discover some amazing books that way. Whereas I generally already know what I’m going to the bookshop to buy beforehand, I may occasionally try a random book based off the blurb as well when I have a bit of spare money (and I will now be adding the rest of the Sevenwaters Trilogy to my extensive TBR list).

Rating: 5/5

8 Responses to “Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier”

    • Laura

      Yeah, it was such a great book, and it felt even better reading it knowing I had just happened across it! 🙂

  1. Kaja

    I am VERY glad you liked this one. It was one of my favourite reads of 2015 – I haven’t read Son of the Shadows yet but it’s high on my tbr list.
    The writing is GORGEOUS, I loved how slow and “old” it seemed, like I was reading an actual fairytale, not a fantasy. The magic of the place and the setting … <3 I have no words.

    And Red quickly became one of my all-time favourite heroes, he's amazing. His sense of duty warring with his attraction for Sorcha plus brotherly devotion. Ahh 🙂

    • Laura

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it too! It truly was an amazing book, and definitely one of the best I’ve read in ages. I particularly loved the style of writing too, and it really did have that beautiful fairytale feel to it. Absolutely amazing! I’m hoping to get to Son of the Shadows soon too!
      Red has to be one of my favourite heroes now as well, because he was just different to so many heroes you read about. He’s just a genuinely nice guy who tries to do the best by everyone, and I loved his relationship with Sorcha and how easily they communicate even when she can’t speak 🙂

  2. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    You that thing where you hear/see something for the first time and then it starts popping up everywhere? I just heard the story about the brothers turned into swans in a book I finished the other day (one character was telling it to another), and now here I am stumbling upon a retelling lol. This does sound really good though. I love beautiful writing and developed characters and strong, sweet family bonds in books… You definitely have me convinced to add this to my TBR!

    • Laura

      I get what you mean, that happens to me sometimes with different things. I hadn’t heard about the Six Swans story until this book, but I looked it up afterwards because I’m interested in fairytales, and I think it does make a really good story to adapt into a fantasy novel.
      I really would recommend adding this to your TBR list! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

  3. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’m so glad you liked the book! I did say it had good reviews and it’s been sat on my TBR pile forever, but now I feel I need to push it up and get reading. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone have anything bad to say about it so far. I’m just intimidated by how long this book is and the fact it’s a part of a series. It’s a stupid reason not read, isn’t it?

    I’m glad random book buying has been such a success for you. I do think it’s something I should try more often, but there is so much risk involved if you don’t like it. I never know what to do with the books I don’t want anymore.

    • Laura

      I get what you mean, it is quite a long book, but the good thing is that I think it works as a standalone as well as part of a series (it seemed to wrap up well, anyway), so even if you didn’t want to read the next book anytime soon I would recommend reading it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂
      I’m glad my random book buy was a success too, but I was a little worried about the risk. There’s nothing worse than starting a book you’ve paid good money for and just not enjoying it! I tend to send my unwanted books to charity shops, but especially if you’ve bought it brand new, it seems like such a shame.

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