Monday, November 10, 2008

"Heir to Sevenwaters", by Juliet Marillier (Tor)

The tale of a young woman's brave quest to right a terrible wrong...

Heir to Sevenwaters is a stand-alone novel set in Juliet Marillier’s classic fantasy world. The chieftains of Sevenwaters have long been custodians of a vast and mysterious forest. Human and Otherworld dwellers coexist there, separated by a thin veil between worlds and sharing a wary trust. But everything changes when Lady Aisling finds herself expecting another child. A boy is born, the long-awaited heir, and is given into the care of his sister Clodagh. Then the family’s joy turns to despair when the child is taken from his cradle and something unnatural is left in his place. To reclaim her brother, Clodagh must enter the Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there. Accompanied on her quest by a warrior who may be more than he seems, Clodagh will have her courage tested to breaking point. The reward may be far greater than she ever dreamed…

Heir to Sevenwaters is an atmospheric and absorbing tale with a varied and appealing cast of characters. Clodagh is a strong and sympathetic heroine, and Marillier’s fast-paced plotting never falters, holding together a diverse cast and varied story threads with ease. Full of mystery, romance and suspense, Clodagh’s quest to find her baby brother is full of twists and turns, ensuring your attention is hooked throughout, keeping us guessing as to the trustworthiness and motives of her characters. Clodagh’s developing relationship with the brooding warrior Cathal is vividly brought to life, as they are forced to rely on each other in a world neither of them truly understand. Marillier skilfully realises a large cast of characters and interweaves traditional folklore with a fantasy world that is so believable it seems to have a life outside the pages of her book.

Heir to Sevenwaters is a dark and romantic fantasy tale of changelings, warriors and chieftains, and one woman’s determination to thwart a malevolent faery prince and return her brother to his rightful place as heir. Recommended for fans of Lord of the Rings, Christopher Paolini, Alison Croggon, Anne McCaffrey and any discerning fantasy reader.

An epic and enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Emma Newrick

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