Luck of the Irish

I have tons of stuff to do today, but I am still trying to blog, which is weird, since I’m never busy nowadays. Anyways. Today, I’m going to talk about Juliet Marillier, a fantasy writer, since I finished her book The Dark Mirror, which is the first book of the Bridei Chronicles. Previously, I read her Sevenwaters Trilogy, which is mainly the basis for this post.daughter of the forest

Juliet Marillier is from New Zealand, from this town with Scottish roots. She also belongs to a Druid order, and she has been diagnosed with breast cancer in March (which doesn’t have anything to do with the books, but I am stating this anyway so you can utter a prayer). Sevenwaters Trilogy takes place in Ireland, in 9th century AD, before it was under English dominance and the  Irish were still mostly Pagan and druids played a big role. It consists of three books. The first one, Daughter of the Forest, is from the point of view of Sorcha, the only daughter of Lord Colum, who’s the lord of, well, Sevenwaters. She has six brothers, and her mother died giving birth to her. She has some supernatural abilities, like communicating mind to mind with her brother and sometimes seeing the future etc. She’s also a healer in the community. One day, their peaceful existence (which is never actually really peaceful) is disrupted when Colum takes a wife. His wife is an evil sorceress who has bewitched him, and one day she turns his brother into swans. She escapes, and one of the Good Folk tells her to weave them sweaters with this nasty plant. The Good Folk is this form of being, like magical beings that live in the forest by the way, and they play a huge part in the book. Sorcha goes through a lot, and I mean a lot through the book. It has some really heartbreaking moments. 

The second book, Son of the Shadows, has a misleading title, it’s not from the point of view of a son at all, it’s based on the life of Sorcha’s daughter, Liadan, who has a different adventure of her own. She’s captured by an army of warriors and taken to the camp of the Painted Man, who are actually guns for hire. There she meets Bran, who’s their leader, and is more than he seems. I really like this book, too, it has some good moments. And the third book, Child of the Prophecy is, yes, about Sorcha’s granddaughter, though she’s not Liadan’s daughter, but her sister’s. This one is somewhat different, since Fainne doesn’t grow up in Sevenwaters, but in a cave with his druid father, who’s actually the son of Lord Collum and his sorceress wife. One day the sorceress shows up and tells her to go to Sevenwaters to do a bunch of evil, and Fainne struggles all through the book, making this the most depressing of the three. The love story in this one isn’t like that of the others, it’s much less apparent. This one is my least favorite, though it’s more surprising than the others. 

This, I believe, is the first fantasy trilogy I finished (yes, I never got through Lord of the Rings. Sue me.), and since I’ve always been fascinated by Pagan culture, I really enjoyed it. There’s a fairy tale like atmosphere, lots of mystical druid lore, rituals, spells and the like, people who can do extraordinary stuff, and solid love stories. There’s a lot of description of the forest and stuff, which can get a bit tiring, but all the people drama makes up for it. The women are very strong, sometimes a bit too strong, and the men are, well, they are pretty strong, too. There are plenty of heartbreak, surprises, and if you’re too soft, you may find yourself crying, though I didn’t cry (I haven’t cried since Harry Potter).

Since we’re on the subject, I can mention the Bridei Chronicles, too. This trilogy is a bit different, since I only read the first book, The Dark Mirror. There are two points of view, one of Bridei, who’s the foster son of Broichan, the druid of the King, who’s raising Bridei as the future king. The other is Tuala, the baby of the Good Folk that Bridei finds in the forest one day and raises as her “sister”. It begins when Bridei is just 3 years old and comes to Pitnochie, Broichan’s house, and is educated in all aspects. He finds Tuala when he’s six, and they grow up together, and they understand each other better than anyone. However, Broichan doesn’t like Tuala at all, since he fears that this little minx may be disrupting his plans of raising an invincible leader. 

This trilogy takes place in the 6th century AD, and follows the King Bridei of the Picts. Yes, Bridei becomes king, but I’m not really spoiling anything, it’s very obvious since the beginning. I don’t know what happens in the other books, because one thing I learned reading these is this: never read the backs of the books, or the summaries at the end of the book, because they spoil the next book. It doesn’t say generally state what happens, it names names and tells everything. It’s a nightmare. So I did my best not to read, but I’m pretty sure what the other books are about, since the other characters, who are going to be main characters in the other books, made themselves pretty obvious.Sevenwaters

Here is the website of Juliet Marillier, which is pretty cool since she has pictures of the place she based Sevenwaters on. She also wrote the fourth book of the trilogy, which sounds weird, “fourth book of the trilogy”. She also has other books, and one of them actually takes place in Istanbul. So, lots to explore that way.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] read a couple of books by Juliet Marillier already, I know she favors a good fairy tale. So when I saw that this book was […]

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