This is the third book in this series. Often you will hear people speak of these first three books as a trilogy, but you may be confused as there are indeed six books in the series. I think the series was intended to end with this book, but the author found her characters still had more to say. This is not a series that you can start in the middle of. There is probably enough information that you could figure it out, but these first three books span three generations. Each book is a story in itself and yet they build upon each other so that you must start at the beginning.
This book was not my favorite in the series. I absolutely loved the first book, Daughter of the Forest. It was amazing and the first book I had read of Juliet Marillier. This book was needed to close this chapter in the story of the prophecy and Sevenwaters. However, the main character, Fainne, is not easy to like. The summary is thus: Fainne is the only daughter of Ciaran (and Niamh) and raised to be a sorcerer. She lives far away from any other family and is very shy. She has a deformed foot that she is very self conscious about and hides from the few people who are about. She does have one friend growing up, Darragh. The story starts when Fainne is a small girl and we read brief passages that help to define her until she is fourteen. The story then takes place over the next two years. Fainne’s grandmother is the evil Lady Oonagh. Grandmother has come at last to train Fainne is the last things she will know before travelling to Sevenwaters. Grandmother also manipulates and punishes Fainne into agreeing to do her bidding which is essentially to bring down the house of Sevenwaters. The story then follows Fainne through this time as she struggles with wanting to do good but feeling like she has evil in her blood and thus has no choice. It is indeed an epic tale that spans a long time with many perils.
It is an odd feeling to not like the main character much, and yet really enjoy the story. Darragh plays a role throughout the entire story and Fainne tries to push him away countless times. Sometimes it was for his own good and sometimes it just felt cruel. But we did see Fainne grow. She had to make hard choices and while she didn’t always make the right choice, it wasn’t entirely her choice to make as she is controlled for much of the story. I didn’t like her family not understanding that while she made some bad choices that she wasn’t able to thwart those decisions at the time. They doubted her (with good reason), but as the reader, one feels those emotions projected back on themselves.
I plan to begin reading right away the next book in the series. Here is the reading order:
- Daughter of the Forest
- Son of the Shadows
- Child of the Prophecy
- Heir to Sevenwaters
- Seer to Sevenwaters
- Flame to Sevenwaters
Favorite Quote: (this is Fainne speaking about Darragh to her cousin Johnny):
“And he’s not my young man.”
“No?” queried Johnny. “Well, one thing’s certain. It’s not the prospect of lessons in swordsmanship that drives him thus.”