Trust me when I say that if you don't listen to this book via the Audible app so that you can speed it up to 1.5 (and 2.0 when the villain gives a cre..Show More »epy lecture), you'll either give up quickly or else want to tear your hair out before long. The narrator's dragging, snoozey pace and melodramatic, drawn-out wail will make you want to throw things.
HOWEVER: If you speed it up, she'll sound quite normal! Before I did so, I was hitting myself for not just buying the paper book. But after a few chapters of misery, I thought I'd try out the various speeds and settled with 1.5x...and then suddenly, I was listening to an honestly compelling story.
This is an elaborate retelling of an old fairytale made painfully, intricately human and present. It's no lighthearted fare, and far from a YA tone or style. Sadly, it probably won't attract as many male readers as it should since the main character is a young woman--even though her six brothers factor strongly into the story as characters you come to know well, and even though this is *hardly* a soppy romance (it's anything but that). It's brutal enough--and emotionally complex enough that instead, I wouldn't suggest this if you want a light fantasy adventure for your commute. It's character-driven by far and nothing comes tied up in bows. Hard times and more hard times. No easy answers and no easy justice.
My main criticism would be that it's overlong with its explication and is at times redundant, but that's why I'd say it's a good choice for an audiobook. If you listen at the speed I Forcefully Recommend, you'll probably only have brief moments when you wish she'd move forward, whereas I imagine otherwise skimming long paragraphs in a book while feeling you're missing something.
Overall, this is a very thoughtful, well-told story that gripped me on many levels. Not sure if I'll continue with the series, but there's goodness in that too, especially in the context of today's publishing world of cheaply-plotted, hurriedly dashed-off first-draft trilogies that make you buy at least three books to get any resolution. This is a stand-alone book that doesn't leave you empty or require you to soldier on to find a satisfying conclusion. Recommended for anyone who knows what they're getting into!
Heather O'Neill’s narration was great, Fianne unlike the rest of her family in Sevenwaters was born in a different part of the county and had a strong..Show More »er Irish accent more I don’t know maybe lowborn but I thought Heather’s portrayal of her was very well done. I truly enjoyed all her accents. I would definitely listen to more by this narrator.
Fianne daughter of Niamh and Ciaran comes to Sevenwaters after her mother’s death and is welcomed into the family fold, however things aren’t as they seem because the Sevenwaters clan has no idea she has been tutored not only in the ways of a druid by her father but in the dark arts by her grandmother the evil sorceress who was the one who cast the spell on the sons of Sevenwaters. In a long ago prophecy it states that it will take a child that was neither of Britain nor or Erin but at the same time both, who is marked by the raven to take the sacred island back. Everyone assumes this is Johnny son of Liadan & Bran and the evil sorceress has sent Fianne there to kill him when the moment is right so the prophecy is not fulfilled.
I enjoyed Fianne’s story very much she is as all other Sevenwaters women very strong and goes through a lot but she is being controlled by the sorceress but also still has the good in her that comes from her father’s teachings. She has a very hard road I think the toughest since Sorcha, because she so wants to be good even when the sorceress forces her to do terrible things that injures one of the other daughters of Sevenwaters.
I liked this book because it is filled with the Sevenwaters family no one is really off their own, Fianne is surrounded by people who want her to be good and want her in their lives, her two biggest allies are Finbar the uncle who still wears a swans wing thanks to her grandmother and Darragh her childhood friend. This is also our first look at island of Inis Eala where Bran’s men under the tutelage of his son Johnny are running a sort of school for warriors and we see the families of the men from Son of Shadows including Gull’s wife Biddy who was a favorite character of mine. We also have the creepy Eamonn again and contrary to outward appearances he has not forgiven what he feels are the wrongs done to him by Bran & Liadan.
I would say this is my second favorite of the series after Daughter of the Forest. I thoroughly enjoyed Fianne journey and the outcome, even though fans of the other books may need hankies towards the end, I know I did.
Rosalyn Landor did a great job on the narration as always, Mac Dara’s voice had just the right amount of contempt for humans and venom when he was cr..Show More »ossed. She gave Clodagh a dignity and fragility at times that was a nice blend. I always enjoy all her different voices male and female.
When we venture back to Sevenwaters the household is preparing for the wedding of Dierdre to a nobleman, the house is full of people among them Johnny and some of his men including Aiden and Cathal, Aiden has eyes for Dierdre’s twin Clodagh and his rude foster-brother Cathal seems to have a lot to say about this. As was decided by Lord Sean, Johnny son of Liadan & Bran would be the heir to Sevenwaters since he and wife Aisling have only had daughters but an unexpected late in life pregnancy produces a son they name Finbar. The pregnancy has been worrisome to the whole household because of Aisling’s age but when everything goes well with the birth the whole household celebrates and sighs with relief, until the day Cathal comes to say goodbye to Clodagh in the nursery and in that second her brother Finbar is gone and in his place a changeling made of sticks that only she can see is a real child from the otherworld. This begins Clodagh’s journey into the otherworld to rescue her brother with Cathal’s help.
This one had much more otherworldly/magical beings and worlds than the last couple books have had which I enjoyed, most of the book is spent in the otherworld with forest beings and the evil King of The Oaks Mac Dara who wants something but it isn’t Finbar or Clodagh . Cathal was an interesting character because in the beginning he is so rude to everyone especially Clodagh but as the story goes on we see why he was like he was and his reasoning’s behind it all.
Clodagh’s journey is interesting because unlike all the other daughters of Sevenwaters who did battle with otherworldly foes this is this first one that did their fighting in the otherworld, she has a long harrowing journey and I was glad that years and years hadn’t passed in the real world while she searched for her brother!
We are back at Sevenwaters, Finbar is now a boy of 7 or 8 and seems to have a few lasting effects of his time in the otherworld with Mac Dara , also M..Show More »aeve, daughter of Lord Sean who was badly burned as a child in Fianne’s story comes back to Sevenwaters after 10 years spent in the house of Liadan & Bran. It is tough on her because she has very limited use of her hands and her face is scarred and at Harrowfield she wasn’t an oddity because she has always been there but back at Sevenwaters people stare and talk behind her back. Plus she is having a hard time reconnecting with her mother who just wants to pretend the last 10 years didn’t exist or to see the strong woman her daughter has become. Maeve has a way with animals, it is her gift.
Maeve & Finbar are both feeling a bit constrained in the house Finbar is under constant guard and doesn’t seem to be able to do anything a normal child of his age can do and Maeve used to having freedom to be outside in stables or just outside period is having a very hard time sitting in the ladies sewing room with her mother and the other women of the house since she can’t sew since her hands are burnt up.
I enjoyed the budding friendship between Finbar & Maeve neither has ever had their siblings around very much so it was neat to see them become so close.
There is a bit of formula to this one but since Marillier is such a great writer I chose to overlook that. There is finally a ending to the Mac Dara story but not in the way you may have thought it would end but I wish there would have been more of Cathal & Clodagh and even though we have been working up to this conclusion for a few books I still felt it was a little rushed and wished we had seen Ciaran’s entire journey and Cathal’s journey back. There is a death at the beginning of this book that is sad for fans of Daughter of the Forest but it makes a true ending of that story.
As always Rosalyn Landor’s narration was well done, I like that she made Maeve sound a bit different than everyone else at Sevenwaters after all she has been living in Britain at Harrowfield so she would have a different accent .
Even though this isn’t my favorite Sevenwaters book it was still worth 4 stars.