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Daughter of the Forest Hardcover – May 5 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 212 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (May 5 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031284879X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312848798
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.4 x 24.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 739 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 212 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #579,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

At the heart of this surprisingly accomplished first novel, first book of the Sevenwaters trilogy, is a retelling of an ancient Celtic legend. Marillier's story, however, is much more than a slightly disguised fairy tale. Young Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Irish Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, a domain well protected from invading Saxons and Britons by dense forest where, legend says, fey Deirdre, the Lady of the Forest, walks the woodland paths at night. Colum is first and foremost a warrior, bent on maintaining his lands against all outsiders. Not all of his sons are so bound to the old ways, and that family friction leads to outright disobedience when Sorcha and her brother Finbar help a Briton captive escape from Colum's dungeon. Soon after, Colum brings home a new wife who ensorcels everyone she can't otherwise manipulate. By her spell Sorcha's brothers are cursed to become swans. Only Sorcha, hiding deep in the forest, can break the spell by painfully weaving shirts of starwort nettle--but then Sorcha is captured by Britons and taken away across the sea. Determined to break the curse despite her captivity, Sorcha continues to work, little expecting that ultimately she will have to chose between saving her brothers and protecting the Briton lord who has defended her throughout her trials. Marillier's writing is deft and heartfelt, bypassing the usual bombast of fantasy fireworks for a rich, magical story of loyalty and love. --Charlene Brusso

From Library Journal

As the only daughter and youngest child of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, Sorcha grows up protected and pampered by her six older brothers. When a sorceress's evil magic ensorcels Colum's sons, transforming them into swans, only Sorcha's efforts can break the curse. Marillier's first novel uses a familiar Celtic legend to tell the story of a young woman's sacrifice for the sake of those she loves and her own discovery of unexpected joy in the midst of sorrow. The author's keen understanding of Celtic paganism and early Irish Christianity adds texture to a rich and vibrant novel that belongs in most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This began as a beautiful telling of an old tale. It is vibrant, alive, descriptive, and so unpredictable that I was fascinated- the first book I had read in a long time that I couldn't put down. It was hard to read all the terrible things the main character went through. I think storytellers, be it through film or in books make the disappointing conclusion that one female or another must endure a brutal, descriptive rape, in order to demonstrate a woman's fragility in such a time period. I accepted this part of the book as a choice by the author to make her main character a more powerful heroine, and to demonstrate the protectiveness, albeit too lately administered, by her brothers. What I really did not like was the romance that came 2/3rds or later in the book, quite unexpected, and for me, unbelievably. I think you can ruin a good book with an ill-timed romance. The heroine somehow decides she is in love within the last twenty pages, and I simply was not convinced. There is an expectation that is alluded to in the beginning of another romance, one which has endured much and one which would have made a better tale.
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Format: Hardcover
Well, some ladies, anyhow (my wife put it down mid-book, muttering things like "bodice-ripper", "psychobabble" and "martyr"). I was able to finish it, although I did skim through much of the harlequin romance sections to find out what was going to happen. Even though the cover art looks like M.Z. Bradley, I wouldn't recommend approaching this book thinking that it will be as good as Mists of Avalon. Hardly, this one lacks the depth, breadth and quality story-telling. But still it's an appealing story in parts. I'm guessing that this one might appeal to women more because there is a great emphasis on love for the amply-endowed and ever-sensitive Lord Hughe, aka "Red". Not that guys can't enjoy romance elements in a novel, too, but geez, this part of the book, and it's a major part, goes on and on about his qualities that sound suspiciously modern, such as his empathic listening skills and gentleness. He also has groundless love for the main character. As far as I could tell he loves her because she accepts years of daily pain and suffering, hmmm, that makes sense. Right.
Another oddly modern part of the book is the main character's trauma experience. This is what my wife termed "psychobabble". Lots of talk about "recovery" and "trust" that are vital concepts for trauma experiences today but seemed grossly at odds with the medieval setting. These sections are some of the worst in the book, the character basically suddenly thinks "Hmmm, my brothers and Red are very nice...and they're men..... maybe I CAN trust men!". Simple as that! Sure. I also have some trouble with the character being described as "strong" in the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Call it a pet peeve if you will, but I prefer my historical fiction to be more or less historically accurate. Daughter of the Forest presents a medieval Ireland in which "Britons", by which the author seems to mean Saxons, are invading concurrently with the Northmen. This is not accurate; nor is the vague, fantasy-cliche portrayal of early Irish society. Even readers for whom historical verisimilitude is not an issue will probably be bored by the plodding, mundane writing style and slow plot of this book. I recommend giving this misty, New-Agey goop a miss.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is quite possibly my favourite book of all time. The only book that I can think of that I might like more is Son of Shadows, the second book in the Seven Waters trilogy. Daughter of the Forest has everything: dynamic characters, historical depth, real world magic, romance, strength of conviction and character. I think that it is truly brilliant. Not only is it an enjoyable read, it is a quality book. It is very rich and multifaceted.

I love the relationships in this book. Sorcha's unwavering loyalty to her brothers is very moving. One can sense the love and closeness of this family. For reasons that I will not disclose because I do not wish to spoil the plot, Sorcha really suffers in order to protect her loved ones. Yet, she does this with a strength of character and devotion to her convictions that is very compelling.

This book is not light, but it is excellent. It sounds weird to say, but I feel like this book opened me up as a person. It taught me about myself. It made me think about things in new ways and made me realize how much I value certain personality traits and characteristics.

Another thing that I enjoyed about this book is the Celtic spirituality with which the threads of the story are woven. In many ways, it is reminiscent of the earth-based spirituality discussed in Marion Zimmer-Bradley's The Mists of Avalon.

If you are not sure whether or not you would like this book, I recommend taking advantage of the "Look Inside" feature of this book. Read a few pages and see if it appeals to you. Hopefully it will and you will have the pleasure of enjoying it as much as I did. Happy reading!
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