Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday Book Review: Daughter of the Forest

Hello Folks,

Jana got busy and I got in late, but here’s the Wednesday book review! We’re going to feature Juliet Marillier this week in our interview, and I wanted to share my love of her novel Daughter of the Forest. I was given this book as a present by Julie-the-sucky-bathtub-reading-friend (self named!) and absolutely loved it. It’s a retelling of the classic fairy tale where six brothers befall a terrible curse and are turned into swans. Their sister, Sorcha, has to rescue them through self-sacrifice and heroism. On the way she discovers self-value and a little true love in the process. This tale weaves love, brotherhood, danger and magic into a Celtic tapestry which also incorporates a little history. You learn a lot about the tensions between Ireland and England and discover first hand some of the magic of the Irish fairy tales in this retelling. Juliet Marillier is wonderful at mingling classic stories of the Fair Folk with magic and a believable setting that is close to, but not quite, our reality. This is the setting that the Irish Fairy Tales wanted you to believe in, a world that is familiar but touched by the power of ghosts and magic. I also enjoyed the feminist themes wound into the tale as Sorcha has to learn to be self-reliant and to choose her own direction in life. I couldn’t put this book down, and read it straight through. What joy that it’s the start of a Trilogy!

Juliet Marillier
    Genre:  Historical Fantasy
    Age: Preteen – Adult
    Content:  Violence, suffering, a rape (although tastefully written)
    Overall:  Buy
As the only daughter and youngest child of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, Sorcha grows up protected and pampered by her six older brothers. When a sorceress’s evil magic ensorcels Colum’s sons, transforming them into swans, only Sorcha’s efforts can break the curse. Marillier’s first novel uses a familiar Celtic legend to tell the story of a young woman’s sacrifice for the sake of those she loves and her own discovery of unexpected joy in the midst of sorrow. The author’s keen understanding of Celtic paganism and early Irish Christianity adds texture to a rich and vibrant novel that belongs in most fantasy collections.
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