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Juliet Marillier

book review Juliet Marillier Sevenwaters (1948- )
Juliet Marillier was born in Dunedin, New Zealand. She graduated from the University of Otago with degrees in languages and music, and has had a varied career that includes teaching and performing music. Visit Juliet Marillier’s website.

Daughter of the Forest: Wonderful

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

In Daughter of the Forest, Juliet Marillier deftly sets the fairy tale "The Six Swans" in dark-ages Ireland; think of the general time period of The Mists of Avalon, when Christian and Pagan, Gael and Briton and Saxon, were fighting and feuding and even sometimes getting along. The tale fits in amazingly well in the setting; the famous fairy tale echoes the Irish legend of Fionnuala and the children of Lir, which predated it. The transformations, the impossible quests, the painful vows work perfectly in the Celtic milieu.

Sorcha is the determined sister of the tale; she is a young girl with a healing gift and a love of nature. In fact, it must be Marillier's love for nature's beauty that shines through Sorcha's words; every page is filled with lovely descript... Read More

Son of the Shadows: Emotionally engaging

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier

With this novel, Juliet Marillier returns to the Celtic world of her first novel, the fantastic Daughter of the Forest, about eighteen years later. Sorcha and Hugh have lived happily together, and have three children, Niamh, Sean, and Liadan. Niamh is a restless beauty with a case of wanderlust; Sean is a future leader growing up in his uncle Liam's mold; and Liadan is her mother's successor, a storyteller and healer. But Liadan is not Sorcha; having grown up in a loving environment, Liadan is well-aware of her own worth, and acts with more confidence and defiance than Sorcha did. In some ways I like Liadan better; in some ways I prefer Sorcha. But both are ever engaging.

The "son of the shadows" of the title is Ciaran, a young druid who falls in star-crossed love with Niamh. (Now, those of you who have read Daughter of the Forest know there... Read More

Child of the Prophecy: Darker

Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier

While, like Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophecy is never quite as wonderful as Daughter of the Forest, it is nevertheless a good book, and worth reading if you liked the first two.

This one is darker in tone. In Daughter of the Forest, the heroes and villains were clearly delineated; in Son of the Shadows the line between the two was more hazy, but the heroine herself was beyond reproach. In Child of the Prophecy the heroine, Fainne, is a conflicted and flawed character in ways that Sorcha and Liadan never were.

Fainne, child of the forbidden union of Ciaran and Niamh, is raised by her father in the lonely reaches of Kerry. When her father falls ill, Fainne's grandmother, the evil Oonagh, takes Fainne under her wing... Read More

Seer of Sevenwaters: Lovely writing, haunting magic, sweet romance

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Quiet, intuitive Sibeal has always known she was destined to become a druid. Just when she is on the verge of completing her training, however, her mentor Ciaran bids her spend a summer on Inis Eala, where two of her sisters live and where her cousin Johnny runs a warriors’ school. When a Viking ship is wrecked on Inis Eala’s shores, the resulting events change Sibeal’s life and the lives of everyone on Inis Eala.

There are three survivors of the wreck of Freyja: Knut, a sturdy Norseman who quickly wins friends on the island; Svala, Knut’s wife, who does not speak and behaves most strangely; and Felix, a young scholar with amnesia, whose elusive memories harbor a deadly secret. Sibeal helps nurse Felix back to health and finds herself drawn to him, and for the first time in her life she questions her spiritual vocation.

One can always depend upon a Jul... Read More

The Dark Mirror: Did Not Finish

The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier

As a rule, I love Juliet Marillier’s work, but I’ve tried several times to read The Dark Mirror and have never managed to get very far.

Marillier’s prose is as beautiful as ever, but the story doesn’t hook me. It just feels like such a slow beginning, and the protagonist Bridei is very young and nobody tells him anything. Events occur, but we often don’t see them; a secondary character will exit stage left, come back having obviously had a perilous adventure, and not tell Bridei, or the reader, what happened.

Mostly The Dark Mirror made me want to reread Nicola Griffith’s Hild, which is set in a similar time period but has a protagonist... Read More

Wildwood Dancing: Sweet and mysterious

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Based loosely on the fairytales of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "The Frog Prince" (but adding plenty of her own ideas), Juliet Marillier crafts an entertaining story of magic and faerie, set in the wild-lands of Transylvania. Jena is one of five sisters (Tatiana, Iulia, Paula and Stela) who have long-since kept a secret in their bedroom: a magical portal into the Other Kingdom, through which they can pass through every full moon to cavort with faerie-creatures in the Dancing Glade of the Faerie Queen.

The girls love their monthly excursions into the Dancing Glade and all the friends they've made there, but lately a shadow has been cast upon their lives: their father has grown sickly and must leave their estate of Piscul Dracului for the winter. Tatiana and Jena consider themselves perfectly capable of handling the estate in their father's absence, but their controlling a... Read More

Heart’s Blood: I was deeply moved by this novel

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Sometimes a book comes along just when you need it. Heart’s Blood was like that for me. Between Juliet Marillier’s compelling tale-spinning and an underlying message about love and courage that I really needed to hear, it’s pretty safe to say I was moved deeply by this novel.

At its core, Heart’s Blood is a Beauty and the Beast story. Marillier mixes the classic fairy tale with some of the conventions of Gothic romance, sets it all in the medieval-Ireland setting she’s so good at portraying, and the result is the kind of book that’s perfect for curling up on a cool night with a cup of hot cider. (And a box of Kleenex, but I’ll get to that part later.)

On the run from a domineering aunt and an abusive fiancé, Caitrin stumbles across the village of Whistling Tor and its mysterious, h... Read More

Dreamer’s Pool: The perilous business of being female in fantasy

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

Those who have read Juliet Marillier before know the drill: She produces exceptionally readable and endearing fantasy set in the medieval and ancient British Isles, revolving around women, myths, and magic. I adored Daughter of the Forest for its loving recreation of my absolute favorite fairy tale as a kid (the Six Swans).[1] The other SEVENWATERS books went by in a blur of kings and curses because I was on vacation and had to get through the entire series before my Mom left with her duffle bag of paperbacks.

Dreamer’s Pool is still about women, magic, and ancient Ireland. So if you liked SEVENWATERS, there’s no need to fear that Marillier is now writing about werewolf romances in Prague or ar... Read More

Epic: Legends of Fantasy: Lives up to its title

Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Aliette de Bodard, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Trudi Canavan,  and Juliet Marillier all contributed stories to this volume.

Epic: Legends of Fantasy opens with a novella by Robin Ho... Read More

More books by Juliet Marillier

Saga of the Light Isles — (2003-2004) Publisher: All young Eyvind ever wanted was to become a great Viking warrior — a Wolfskin — and carry honor out in the name of his fathergod Thor. He can think of no future more glorious. The chance to make it happen is his when his chieftain Ulf is brought the tale of a magical land across the sea, a place where men with courage could go to conquer a land and bring glory to themselves. They set out to find this fabled land, and discover a windswept and barren place, but one filled with unexpected beauty and hidden treasures… and a people who are willing to share their bounty. Ulf’s new settlement begins in harmony with the natives of the isles led by the gentle king Engus. And Eyvind finds a treasure of his own in the young Nessa, niece of the King, seer and princess. His life will change forever as she claims his heart for her own. But someone has come along to this new land who is not what he seems. Somerled, a strange and lonely boy that Eyvind befriended long ago has a secret — and his own plans for the future. The blood oath that they swore in childhood binds them in lifelong loyalty, and Somerled is calling in the debt of honor. What he asks of Eyvind might just doom him to kill the only thing that Evyind has ever truly loved. Will the price of honor create the destruction of all that Eyvind holds dear?

book review Juliet Marillier Saga of the Light Isles Wolfskin, FoxMaskbook review Juliet Marillier Saga of the Light Isles Wolfskin, FoxMask

Shadowfell — (2012-2013) Publisher: Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill — a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk–Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec. During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death — but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsPrickle Moon — (2013) Publisher: Prickle Moon is the first collection of stories by multiple awardwinning Australian writer Juliet Marillier. Born in New Zealand, Juliet Marillier is the author of thirteen novels for readers of all ages. Her bestselling fantasy series include The Sevenwaters quintet, the Saga of the Light Isles, The Bridei Chronicles and the Wildwood series. She lives in Perth, in a one hundred-year-old cottage, which she shares with three dogs. Juliet Marillier is a three-times winner of the Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel. Publisher’s Weekly calls her “a fine folklorist and gifted narrator.” The book collects 14 tales, including the best of Marillier’s published stories, and five additional tales written especially for this collection.