Friday, March 11, 2011

Review: Seer of Sevenwaters

Seer of Sevenwaters
By Juliet Marillier
Publication date: December 7, 2010

My review:

Sibeal is about to become the newest druid at the Nemetons of Sevenwaters but before she can make her pledge, her mentor Cieran asks her to spend a summer with her sister at Inis Eala. Sibeal reluctantly agrees, knowing that nothing will change her mind even though some in her family would like to see her choose a more traditional path of marriage and motherhood. What Sibeal does not expect is to cross paths with an injured man who cannot remember his name or that she will embark on a dangerous quest with him.

Seer of Sevenwaters is a sequel to Heir to Sevenwaters. Both books are a spin-off from the original Sevenwaters trilogy (Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophecy). While it is not necessary to read that trilogy first, it would be helpful to read Heir to Sevenwaters as events and characters in that book are referred to throughout Seer of Sevenwaters.

I have long been a fan of the Sevenwaters series. The books feature brave female heroines, adventure, Celtic mythology, magic, and romance. Sibeal as a seer is a different kind of protagonist compared to her grandmother Sorcha (protagonist of Daughter of the Forest) her aunt Liadan (protagonist of Son of the Shadows), or even her sister Clodagh who was the heroine of Heir to Sevenwaters. While Sorcha, Liadan, and Clodagh are capable and courageous like Sibeal, she is more difficult to connect with because she is somewhat otherworldly and distant. At the beginning of the book, she has this sense of aloofness. What makes her character likeable however is the uncertainty she starts to feel as the story progresses. When she steps out of her role as druid in training, Sibeal seems to be a more sympathetic character. 

The romance is not as strong an element as in some of the previous books. For much of the time, Sibeal is playing nursemaid to Felix and he can't remember much. Her plans to not marry are also a hitch in the growing relationship. I liked the character of Felix but he does not stand out the way some of the other heroes from the series do. Felix is a tortured soul and the book is more about his healing and Sibeal's emotional growth.

The fantasy aspect has always been more important in this series and this book brings the addition of Norse mythology which I found interesting. While the story starts off with a bang, it quickly slows down and becomes more character driven rather than plot driven. There is a continued sense of menace and danger throughout the book but it is not until the final chapters that things finally start to pick up. For those who stick with it, the ending while not surprising is still rewarding. This is not the strongest book in the series but it is an enjoyable Celtic fantasy with the slow pace and good character development that are a trademark of Juliet Marillier's writing. Readers already familiar with the world of Sevenwaters will not want to miss this new installment. For those who are new to her work, I would suggest starting with the first Sevenwaters book, Daughter of the Forest, which takes Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Wild Swans and gives it a Celtic spin.

Readalikes: Jules Watson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, the Fires of Gleannmara series by Linda Windsor (Christian fantasy)

1 comment:

  1. What? You have very similar tastes to me. New follower! How did you get a copy of this so early? I REALLY liked her most recent two, Heir to Sevenwaters and Hearts Blood. I'm glad that this is good enough to read ^__^


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