Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Title: Son of the Shadows
Author: Juliet Marillier
Series: Sevenwaters #2
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Fantasy, 2002
Source: Borrowed from my mom
Read for: Fun

Like her mother, Sorcha, Liadan is gifted with healing. She is content to stay at Sevenwaters, helping her family in any way she can and remaining close to the forest. However, when Liadan's life goes down an unexpected path, she finds herself tested in ways she never could have imagined, as well as gifted with more power than she knew.

I'm starting to think that where Juliet Marillier's concerned, it's impossible to not hit gold. Sure, this is only the second of her novels that I have read. And I'll be honest, Daughter of the Forest was a better book, in my opinion. However, this sequel, Son of the Shadows, also kept me compelled to keep reading and entranced in the magical atmosphere and beautiful writing that I'm beginning to learn characterizes Juliet Marillier's work.

Son of the Shadows picks up several years past Daughter of the Forest, and focuses on Sorcha's children. Niamh, her vivacious oldest daughter, is tied up in a dangerous love affair. Sean, Liadan's twin, is learning to take over Sevenwaters some day. And Liadan is simply doing what she can to help everyone around her, although she is quickly blindsided by the realities of loss, marriage proposals, and an even more dangerous, unexpected adventure that shows her that there is more to people than meets the eye. Watching this adventure unfold and the revelations associated with it was probably one of my favorite parts of Son of the Shadows. When the adventure first began, I was leery of the new characters Liadan meets, but as the story unfolds it becomes clear that there is more to them than meets the eye. I think this is definitely one of Marillier's strengths -- her characters are developed and full. We even see some darkness in the "good guys" of Daughter of the Forest -- they are extremely complex and have some motives that aren't entirely pure. I enjoyed being introduced to the new characters as well as watching familiar characters develop further.

Son of the Shadows also has Marillier's trademark haunting, atmospheric writing. I love the Celtic feel to the story -- the hints of magic, earth spirits, and mysticism. Juliet Marillier also is able to convey powerful emotion in simple words by changing up her sentence structure etc. For example, this passage dealt me a blow to the heart --
That look said, this is a long good-bye, yet not time enough. I have no aptitude for this. I cannot learn this. I would hold on, and hold on, until my hands clutch at emptiness.
I mean, seriously. Simple words, but the way they are put together is a blow to the heart.

Overall, Son of the Shadows was an excellent read. I didn't love it quite as much as Daughter of the Forest -- for some reason the plot was not quite as compelling to me -- but it was still a rich and vivid reading experience. I am looking forward to the rest of the Sevenwaters books!

4 stars

Warnings: Abuse, violence, some scenes of sensuality (not graphic)

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