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Son of the Shadows

by Juliet Marillier

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Son of the Shadows

by Juliet Marillier

Review posted November 15, 2011.
Book Two of the Sevenwaters Trilogy
TOR Fantasy, New York, 2001. 590 pages.
Starred Review

I very greatly enjoyed Juliet Marillier's young adult books, Wildwood Dancing and Cybele's Secret, but these books about the ancient Irish tuath of Sevenwaters have me completely enthralled.

Son of the Shadows takes up the tale with Fiadan, the daughter of Sorcha, the heroine of Daughter of the Forest. Fiadan and her twin brother Sean are sixteen, and the people of Sevenwaters are feeling uneasy. It seems an old evil is awakening, and they aren't sure how it will break out.

Sean is training to be the next chief of Sevenwaters, after their uncle Liam. The family still wants to win back their sacred islands from the British family of Northwoods. Sean thinks there is no point in waiting for the prophecy to come true.

Fiadan, like her mother, is a healer, and she's blessed, or cursed, with The Sight. But Fiadan doesn't quite fit into the pattern that the Fair Folk seem to be manipulating. In Daughter of the Forest, the Fair Folk did a lot of directing in the background. In this book, Fiadan doesn't like the requests and commands the Fair Folk give her, and she makes her own choices. But will it mean disaster for her family?

After I read this book, I decided that this series is too good -- I am going to order my own copy of the next book, and a copy of this book while I am at it. I know I will want to reread them. Fiadan feels like a precious friend. I want her to succeed! I want to find out what happens to her family next.

Juliet Marillier writes an intricately plotted novel that feels like a beautiful tapestry. There are many places where the characters tell stories, and they are always pertinent to the tale. I like this paragraph where Liadan defends telling tales to the chief of a band of outlaws:

If what you want is to achieve a victory, what better to inspire your men than a heroic tale, some tale of a battle against great odds, won by skill and courage? If your men are weary or downhearted, what more fit to cheer them than a foolish tale -- say, the story of the wee man Iubdan and the plate of porridge, or the farmer who got three wishes and squandered them all? What better to give them hope than a tale of love?

As for me, I found no better therapy when recovering from a stroke than to read this tale of love and adventure and danger and treachery and loyalty and courage.