Source: purchased (paperback).
Genre: historical fantasy.
Son of the Shadows takes up the story of the children of Sorcha, who saved her enchanted brothers, and Hugh, the Briton she married. Sorcha’s daughter Liadan is a gifted seer and healer who thinks, in spite of her visions, that she knows what the future has in store for her–caring for her dying mother and then an alliance marriage to Eamonn. A chance meeting on the road carries her off to care for a dying man–one of the mercenaries of the sinister Painted Man, Eamonn’s archenemy and a killer for hire. Liadan discovers that she cannot choose whom she loves and that she and the Painted Man are as bound up in destiny as her mother and father were before her.
This is the review for the second part of the Sevenwaters trilogy, so there are sure to be SERIOUS SPOILERS for book one. If you’re new to this series, I highly recommend clicking over to my review of Daughter of the Forest, then going out and buying the damn book, because it’s beautiful. And then we’ll chat! :) For those of you who’ve already read the first book, this review should be quite safe.
Well, I’ve been waiting to write this review for two weeks now – because I can’t exactly put my words into order. I’ll try my best but if I gush excessively, please be gentle. ;)
I LOVED Son of the Shadows. Marillier is absolutely the best author I’ve discovered in the last six months and it doesn’t even bother me that her books are pretty long. I chewed through this one in about four days, which is incredible for my current reading schedule, which consists of stolen moments here and there because my life is crazy.
Daughter of the Forest was a wonderful tale but it was also tragical – so it was interesting to see that Son of the Shadows had a different tone. I liked Sorcha as a narrator a lot, her story was moving and heartbreaking and I rooted for her from the beginning. But Liadan was maybe more to my taste in that she is such a decisive young woman. She makes no apologies for her actions, she stands her ground even against the rules of patriarchy, and is very good at what she does.
I did feel like maybe she was too mature at times for a seventeen-year-old, but then the times were different and girls got married at that age and had babies and everything, so it’s not surprising Marillier chose to make her protagonist as young as her mother was when her story began in the first book.
The love story in this book was as gripping as the romance between Red and Sorcha – and I fell for this guy (I’m not saying who he is because it would spoil everything) along with Liadan. But I loved seeing Red as well, he is such a fantastic character – loyal and loving but also flawed. Ahh.
I like that Marillier isn’t afraid to touch on the dark side of the era – the wars, the mistreatment of women, the treachery, and political intrigue. Of course there is some romanticizing of the past but she really brings the setting to life. And now I want to travel to Ireland as soon as possible.
The mythology – and the magic – is very interesting, too. The old Irish druidic lore is nature based, which I love, and I like the fact that Marillier treats gifted individuals much like she does the “ordinary” folk: they make mistakes, they’re flawed, they’re never all-knowing or all-seeing. Their gifts are unpredictable and though there are prophecies and lots of talk about fate, people get to choose their own path (this is another reason I loved Liadan – she just follows her own gut!).
In any case, you should really give this series a try if you can. I will be reading the last part of the original trilogy, Child of the Prophecy, very soon, I think. I want to know what happens! And Marillier has gained a place among my favourite authors for sure. I really want to give her other series a try.
Have you read Son of the Shadows? What did you think?
Do you have any good historical fantasy recommendations for me?
I’d love to hear from you! :)