Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters Series #2)

Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters Series #2)

by Juliet Marillier


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Son of the Shadows, the second book in Juliet Marillier's award-winning Sevenwaters Trilogy

Beautiful Sorcha is the courageous young woman who risked all to save her family from a wicked curse and whose love shattered generations of hate and bridged two cultures. It was by her sacrifice that the spell was broken and her brothers were finally brought home to Sevenwaters. But not all her brothers were able to escape the spell that transformed them into swans, and even those who did were more-and less-than they were before the change.

It is left to Sorcha's daughter, Liadan, to fulfill the destiny of the Sevenwaters clan. Beloved child and dutiful daughter, she embarks on a journey that opens her eyes to the wonders of the world around her . . . and shows her just how hard-won was the peace that there are forces far darker than anyone could have guessed and ancient powers conspiring to destroy this family's peace—and their world.

She will need all of her strength to stand up to those she loves best, for in the finding of her own true love, Liadan's course may doom them all . . . or may be their salvation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780613555319
Publisher: Demco Media
Publication date: 12/01/2003
Series: Sevenwaters Series , #2
Pages: 590
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.53(d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Juliet Marillier achieved international recognition with the publication of the first two award-winning novels in the Sevenwaters Trilogy, a historical fantasy set in Ireland and Britain in the ninth century, and loosely based on the fairy tale “The Six Swans”. Her other historical fantasy series include the Viking-inspired Light Isles duology and the Bridei Chronicles set in north Britain in the time of the Picts.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

My mother knew every tale that was ever told by the firesides ofErin, and more besides. Folks stood hushed around the hearthto hear her tell them after a long day's work, and marveled atthe bright tapestries she wove with her words. She related the many adventuresof Cú Chulainn the hero, and she told of Fionn mac Cumhaill, whowas a great warrior and cunning with it. In some households, such tales werereserved for men alone. But not in ours, for my mother made a magic withher words that drew all under its spell. She told tales that had the householdin stitches with laughter, and tales that made strong men grow quiet. Butthere was one tale she would never tell, and that was her own. My motherwas the girl who had saved her brothers from a sorceress's curse, and nearlylost her own life doing it. She was the girl whose six brothers had spent threelong years as creatures of the wild, and had been brought back only by herown silence and suffering. There was no need for telling and retelling of thisstory, for it had found a place in folks' minds. Besides, in every village therewould be one or two who had seen the brother who returned, briefly, withthe shining wing of a swan in place of his left arm. Even without this evidence,all knew the tale for truth; and they watched my mother pass, a slightfigure with her basket of salves and potions, and nodded with deep respectin their eyes.

    If I asked my father to tell a tale, he would laugh and shrug and say hehad no skill with words, and besides he knew but one tale, or maybe two,and he had told them both already. Then he would glance at my mother, andshe at him, inthat way they had that was like talking without words, andthen my father would distract me with something else. He taught me tocarve with a little knife, and he taught me how to plant trees, and he taughtme to fight. My uncle thought that more than a little odd. All right for mybrother, Sean, but when would Niamh and I need skills with our fists andour feet, with a staff or a small dagger? Why waste time on this when therewere so many other things for us to learn?

    "No daughter of mine will go beyond these woods unprotected," myfather had said to my Uncle Liam. "Men cannot be trusted. I would not makewarriors of my girls, but I will at least give them the means to defend themselves.I am surprised that you need ask why. Is your memory so short?"

    I did not ask him what he meant. We had all discovered, early on, that itwas unwise to get between him and Liam at such times.

    I learned fast. I followed my mother around the villages, and was taughthow to stitch a wound and fashion a splint and doctor the croup or nettlerash. I watched my father, and discovered how to make an owl and a deerand a hedgehog out of a piece of fine oak. I practiced the arts of combatwith Sean, when he could be cajoled into it, and perfected a variety of tricksthat worked even when your opponent was bigger and stronger. It oftenseemed as if everyone at Sevenwaters was bigger than me. My father mademe a staff that was just the right size, and he gave me his little dagger for myown. Sean was quite put out for a day or so. But he never harbored grudges.Besides, he was a boy, and had his own weapons. As for my sister, Niamh,you never could tell what she was thinking.

    "Remember, little one," my father told me gravely, "this dagger can kill.I hope you need never employ it for such a purpose; but if you must, use itcleanly and boldly. Here at Sevenwaters you have seen little of evil, and Ihope you will never have to strike a man in your own defense. But one dayyou may have need of this, and you must keep it sharp and bright, and practiceyour skills against such a day."

    It seemed to me a shadow came over his face, and his eyes went distantas they did sometimes. I nodded silently and slipped the small, deadlyweapon away in its sheath.

    These things I learned from my father, whom folk called Iubdan,though his real name was different. If you knew the old tales, you recognizedthis name as a joke, which he accepted with good humor. For the Iubdanof the tales was a tiny wee man, who got into strife when he fell into abowl of porridge, though he got his own back later. My father was very talland strongly built, and had hair the color of autumn leaves in afternoon sun.He was a Briton, but people forgot that. When he got his new name hebecame part of Sevenwaters, and those who didn't use his name called himthe Big Man.

    I'd have liked a bit more height myself, but I was little, skinny, darkhaired, the sort of girl a man wouldn't look twice at. Not that I cared. I hadplenty to occupy me without thinking that far ahead. It was Niamh they followedwith their eyes, for she was tall and broad shouldered, made in ourfather's image, and she had a long fall of bright hair and a body that curvedgenerously in all the right places. Without even knowing it, she walked in away that drew men's eyes.

    "That one's trouble," our kitchen woman Janis would mutter over herpots and pans. As for Niamh herself, she was ever critical.

    "Isn't it bad enough being half Briton," she said crossly, "without havingto look the part as well? See this?" She tugged at her thick plait, and thered-gold strands unraveled in a shining curtain. "Who would take me for adaughter of Sevenwaters? I could be a Saxon with this head of hair! Whycouldn't I be tiny and graceful like Mother?"

    I studied her for a moment or two as she began to wield the hairbrushwith fierce strokes. For one so displeased with her appearance, she did spendrather a lot of time trying out new hairstyles and changing her gown andribbons.

    "Are you ashamed to be the daughter of a Briton?" I asked her.

    She glared at me. "That's so like you, Liadan. Always come straight outwith it, don't you? It's all very well for you; you're a small copy of Motheryourself, her little right hand. No wonder Father adores you. For you it'ssimple."

    I let her words wash over me. She could be like this at times, as if therewere too many feelings inside her and they had to burst out somewhere. Thewords themselves meant nothing. I waited.

    Niamh used her hairbrush like an instrument of punishment. "Sean,too," she said, glaring at herself in the mirror of polished bronze. "Did youhear what Father called him? He said, he's the son Liam never had. What doyou think of that? Sean fits in; he knows exactly where he's going. Heir toSevenwaters, beloved son with not one but two fathers—he even looks thepart. He'll do all the right things—wed Aisling, which will make everyonehappy, be a leader of men, maybe even the one who wins the Islands backfor us. His children will follow in his footsteps, and so on, and so on.Brighid save me, it's so tedious! It's so predictable."

    "You can't have it both ways," I said. "Either you want to fit in, or youdon't. Besides, we are the daughters of Sevenwaters, like it or not. I'm sureEamonn will wed you gladly when it's time, golden hair or no. I've heard noobjections from him."

    "Eamonn? Huh!" She moved to the center of the room, where a shaft oflight struck gold against the oak boards of the floor, and in this spot shebegan slowly to turn, so that her white gown and her brilliant shining hairmoved around her like a cloud. "Don't you long for something different tohappen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like agreat tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole worldcan see it? Something that touches you with joy or with terror, that lifts youout of your safe, little path and onto a great, wild road whose endingnobody knows? Don't you ever long for that, Liadan?" She turned andturned, and she wrapped her arms around herself as if this were the only wayshe could contain what she felt.

    I sat on the edge of the bed, watching her quietly. After a while I said,"You should take care. Such words might tempt the Fair Folk to take a handin your life. It happens. You know Mother's story. She was given such achance, and she took it; and it was only through her courage, and Father's,that she did not die. To survive their games you must be very strong. For herand for Father the ending was good. But that tale had losers as well. Whatabout her six brothers? Of them, but two remain, or maybe three. Whathappened damaged them all. And there were others who perished. Youwould be better to take your life one day at a time. For me, there is enoughexcitement in helping to deliver a new lamb, or seeing small oaks growstrong in spring rains. In shooting an arrow straight to the mark, or curing achild of the croup. Why ask for more when what we have is so good?"

    Niamh unwrapped her arms and ran a hand through her hair, undoingthe work of the brush in an instant. She sighed. "You sound so like Fatheryou make me sick sometimes," she said, but the tone was affectionateenough. I knew my sister well. I did not let her upset me often.

    "I've never understood how he could do it," she went on. "Give upeverything, just like that: his lands, his power, his position, his family. Justgive it away. He'll never be master of Sevenwaters, that's Liam's place. Hisson will inherit, no doubt; but Iubdan, all he'll be is 'the Big Man', quietlygrowing his trees and tending his flocks, and letting the world pass him by.How could a real man choose to let life go like that? He never even wentback to Harrowfield."

    I smiled to myself. Was she blind that she did not see the way it wasbetween them, Sorcha and Iubdan? How could she live here day by day, andsee them look at one another, and not understand why he had done what hehad done? Besides, without his good husbandry, Sevenwaters would benothing more than a well-guarded fortress. Under his guidance our landshad prospered. Everyone knew we bred the best cattle and grew the finestbarley in all of Ulster. It was my father's work that enabled my Uncle Liamto build his alliances and conduct his campaigns. I didn't think there wasmuch point explaining this to my sister. If she didn't know it by now, shenever would.

    "He loves her," I said. "It's as simple as that. And yet, it's more. Shedoesn't talk about it, but the Fair Folk had a hand in it all along. And theywill again."

    Finally Niamh was paying attention to me. Her beautiful blue eyes narrowedas she faced mc. "Now you sound like her," she said accusingly."About to tell me a story, a learning tale."

    "I'm not," I said. "You aren't in the mood for it. I was just going to say,we are different, you and me and Sean. Because of what the Fair Folk did,our parents met and wed. Because of what happened, the three of us cameinto being. Perhaps the next part of the tale is ours."

    Niamh shivered as she sat down beside me, smoothing her skirts over herknees.

    "Because we are neither of Britain nor of Erin, but at the same timeboth," she said slowly. "You think one of us is the child of the prophecy? Theone who will restore the Islands to our people?"

    "I've heard it said." It was said a lot, in fact, now that Sean was almost aman, and shaping into as good a fighter and a leader as his Uncle Liam.Besides, the people were ready for some action. The feud over the Islandshad simmered since well before my mother's day, for it was long years sincethe Britons had seized this most secret of places from our people. Folk's bitternesswas all the more intense now, since we had come so close to regainingwhat was rightfully ours. For when Sean and I were children, not sixyears old, our Uncle Liam and two of his brothers, aided by Seamus Redbeard,had thrown their forces into a hold campaign that went right to theheart of the disputed territory. They had come close, achingly close. Theyhad touched the soil of Little Island and made their secret camp there. Theyhad watched the great birds soar and wheel above the Needle, that stark pinnaclelashed by icy winds and ocean spray. They had launched one fierce seaattack on the British encampment on Greater Island, and at the last they hadbeen driven back. In this battle perished two of my mother's brothers. Cormackwas felled by a sword stroke clean to the heart and died in Liam'sarms. And Diarmid, seeking to avenge his brother's loss, fought as if possessedand at length was captured by the Britons. Liam's men found hisbody later, floating in the shallows as they launched their small craft and fled,outnumbered, exhausted, and heartsick. He had died from drowning, butonly after the enemy had had their sport with him. They would not let mymother see his body when they brought him home.

    These Britons were my father's people. But Iubdan had had no part inthis war. He had sworn, once, that he would not take arms against his ownkind, and he was a man of his word. With Sean it was different. My UncleLiam had never married, and my mother said he never would. There hadbeen a girl once that he had loved. But the enchantment fell on him and hisbrothers. Three years is a long time when you are only sixteen. When at lasthe came back to the shape of a man, his sweetheart was married and alreadythe mother of a son. She had obeyed her father's wishes, believing Liamdead. So he would not take a wife. And he needed no son of his own, for heloved his nephew as fiercely as any father could and brought him up, withoutknowing it, in his own image. Sean and I were the children of a single birth,he just slightly my elder. But at sixteen he was more than a head taller, closeto being a man, strong of shoulder, his body lean and hard. Liam hadensured he was expert in the arts of war. As well, Sean learned how to plan acampaign, how to deliver a fair judgment, how to understand the thinking ofally and enemy alike. Liam commented sometimes on his nephew's youthfulimpatience. But Sean was a leader in the making; nobody doubted that.

    As for our father, he smiled and let them get on with it. He recognizedthe weight of the inheritance Sean must one day carry. But he had not relinquishedhis son. There was time, as well, for the two of them to walk or ridearound the fields and byres and barns of the home farms, for Iubdan to teachhis son to care for his people and his land as well as to protect them. Theyspoke long and often, and held each other's respect. Only I would catchMother sometimes, looking at Niamh and looking at Sean and looking atme, and I knew what was troubling her. Sooner or later, the Fair Folk woulddecide it was time: time to meddle in our lives again, time to pick up thehalf-finished tapestry and weave a few more twisted patterns into it. Whichwould they choose? Was one of us the child of the prophecy, who would atlast make peace between our people and the Britons of Northwoods and winback the islands of mystic caves and sacred trees? Myself, I rather thoughtnot. If you knew the Fair Folk at all, you knew they were devious and subtle.Their games were complex; their choices never obvious. Besides, what aboutthe other part of the prophecy, which people seemed to have convenientlyoverlooked? Didn't it say something about bearing the mark of the raven?Nobody knew quite what that meant, but it didn't seem to fit any of us.Besides, there must have been more than a few misalliances between wanderingBritons and Irish women. We could hardly be the only children whobore the blood of both races. This I told myself; and then I would see mymother's eyes on us, green, fey, watchful, and a shiver of foreboding wouldrun through me. I sensed it was time, time for things to change again.

That spring we had visitors. Here in the heart of the great forest, the oldways were strong despite the communities of men and women that nowspread over our land, their Christian crosses stark symbols of a new faith.From time to time, travelers would bring across the sea tales of great illsdone to folk who dared keep the old traditions. There were cruel penalties,even death, for those who left an offering, maybe, for the harvest gods orthought to weave a simple spell for good fortune or use a potion to bringback a faithless sweetheart. The druids were all slain or banished over there.The power of the new faith was great. Backed up with a generous purse andwith lethal force, how could it fail?

    But here at Sevenwaters, here in this corner of Erin, we were a differentbreed. The holy fathers, when they came, were mostly quiet, scholarly menwho debated an issue with open minds and listened as much as they spoke.Among them, a boy could learn to read in Latin and in Irish, and to write aclear hand, and to mix colors and make intricate patterns on parchment orfine vellum. Amongst the sisters, a girl might learn the healing arts or how tochant like an angel. In their houses of contemplation there was a place forthe poor and dispossessed. They were, at heart, good people. But none fromour household was destined to join their number. When my grandfatherwent away and Liam became lord of Sevenwaters, with all the responsibilitiesthat entailed, many strands were drawn together to strengthen ourhousehold's fabric. Liam rallied the families nearby, built a strong fightingforce, became the leader our people had needed so badly. My father madeour farms prosperous and our fields plentiful as never before. He plantedoaks where once had been barren soil. As well, he put new heart into folkwho had drawn very close to despair. My mother was a symbol of whatcould be won by faith and strength, a living reminder of that other worldbelow the surface. Through her they breathed in daily the truth about whothey were and where they came from, the healing message of the spirit realm.

    And then there was her brother Conor. As the tale tells, there were sixbrothers. Liam I have told of, and the two who were next to him in age,who died in the first battle for the Islands. The youngest, Padriac, was a voyager,returning but seldom. Conor was the fourth brother, and he was adruid. Even as the old faith faded and grew dim elsewhere, we witnessed itslight glowing ever stronger in our forest. It was as if each feast day, eachmarking of the passing season with song and ritual, put back a little more ofthe unity our people had almost lost. Each time, we drew one step closer tobeing ready—ready again to reclaim what had been stolen from us by theBritons long generations since. The Islands were the heart of our mystery,the cradle of our belief. Prophecy or no prophecy, the people began tobelieve that Liam would win them back; or if not him, then Sean, whowould be lord of Sevenwaters after him. The day drew closer, and folk werenever more aware of it than when the wise ones came out of the forest tomark the turning of the season. So it was at Imbolc, the year Sean and I weresixteen, a year burned deep in my memory. Conor came, and with him aband of men and women, some in white, and some in the plain homespunrobes of those still in their training, and they made the ceremony to honorBrighid's festival deep in the woods of Sevenwaters.

    They came in the afternoon, quietly as usual. Two very old men and oneold woman, walking in plain sandals up the path from the forest. Their hairwas knotted into many small braids, woven about with colored thread.There were young folk wearing the homespun, both boys and girls; andthere were men of middle years, of whom my Uncle Conor was one. Comelate to the learning of the great mysteries, he was now their leader, a pale,grave man of middle height, his long chestnut hair streaked with gray, hiseyes deep and serene. He greeted us all with quiet courtesy: my mother,Iubdan, Liam, then the three of us, and our guests, for several householdshad gathered here for the festivities. Seamus Redbeard, a vigorous old manwhose snowy hair belied his name. His new wife, a sweet girl not so mucholder than myself. Niamh had been shocked to see this match.

    "How can she?" she'd whispered to me behind her hand. "How can shelie with him? He's old, so old. And fat. And he's got a red nose. Look, she'ssmiling at him! I'd rather die!"

    I glanced at her a little sourly. "You'd best take Eamonn then, and beglad of the offer, if what you want is a beautiful young man," I whisperedback. "You're unlikely to do better. Besides, he's wealthy."

    "Eamonn? Huh!"

    This seemed to be the response whenever I made this suggestion. Iwondered, not for the first time, what Niamh really did want. There was noway to see inside that girl's head. Not like Sean and me. Perhaps it was ourbeing twins, or maybe it was something else, but the two of us never had anyproblem talking without words. It became necessary, even, to set a guard onyour own mind at times so that the other could not read it. It was both auseful skill and an inconvenient one.


Excerpted from Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier. Copyright © 2001 by Juliet Marillier. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Reading Group Guide


Juliet Marillier was born in New Zealand and raised in the town of Dunedin, which is known as the "Edinburgh of the South," which explains her love of Celtic mythology. Juliet holds advanced degrees in music and languages, and now lives just outside of Perth, in Western Australia, where she is the mother of two daughters and two sons. Her first book, Daughter of the Forest, was published in 2000 to overwhelming critical and public acclaim.


"Fantasy is escapist: sometimes we don't much like the world we live in, so we bury ourselves in a genre which conjures a multitude of worlds. And fantasy can be a substitute: in an age of scientific rationalism and dwindling religious faith, it demonstrates clear moral codes; basic choices between good and evil, explorations of light and dark.

Still, that doesn't explain the fascination tales of the unreal, the imagined, and the Otherworldly have held for folk since well before Spenser or Mallory set quill to paper. Celt and Norseman had their epics of magic and mystery, heroism and romance. The Dreaming stories of Australia's indigenous people and the Icelandic sagas, the Maori creation myths and the lore of the druids hold universal themes; they make sense of the relationship between man and nature, between man and his own kind. They are our key to the world around us.

Once, we'd have heard these tales around the fire after nightfall. This shadow time was for listening and reflection, and though the world could be confusing, the tales helped explain it. Folk understood their symbolism as they understood the patterns of planting and reaping, storm and calm, birth and death. In the stories, the very pattern and purpose of existence were encapsulated.

Times change. The fantasies we read are now highly developed, cunningly crafted, drawing not on a single shared culture but on our multiplicity of backgrounds. Yet at their heart there are the same universal messages; their symbolism is that of our ancient folklore, a powerful code which we still crave, for all our apparent sophistication. Yes, they entertain and divert; we read them for fun. But in the best of them we recapture something almost lost; a map for our own journey forward." —JULIET MARILLIER


In this second enthralling book in the Sevenwaters Trilogy, author Juliet Marillier ushers us back into the lush green forests and misty glades of ancient Ireland, to a time of great and sweeping change, when the old ways are forced to retreat in the face of the coming Christianity. Here, in this land of rugged beauty, the age-old battle for humankind's destiny is fast approaching its turning point, as the Fair Folk spin their wild magic and the prophesies foretold so long ago come bursting dangerously to life.

In the first volume of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, Daughter of the Forest, the courageous young woman Sorcha was forced to defeat a sorceress's curse, sacrificing herself to save her family. In Son of the Shadows, Sorcha now has a family of her own, including a daughter, Liadan. Like her mother, Liadan is both gifted in the arts of healing, and a storyteller of uncommon ability; she is also blessed—or cursed—with visions of great power.

Trouble comes to Sevenwaters with word of a band of fearsome mercenaries led by the mysterious Painted Man. Some whispers claim the fighters are half-man, halfanimal, able to move without a sound and killing all in their path with a cold and brutal efficiency. In a stunning twist of fate, Liadan falls into the Painted Man's hands, only to find a warrior as fearsome as his legend, and a man far more troubled and complex. As their destinies intertwine with the great changes afoot in their forest sanctuary, Liadan and the Painted Man form a bond that will grow into something more, setting them inescapably onto their paths in the ancient prophesies.

Rich in detail and imagination, Son of the Shadows is a powerful continuation of one of today's freshest and most exciting fantasy trilogies.

Questions for Discussion

1. The relationships between the sexes is a prominent theme throughout the book. Discuss how the following characters relate to the opposite sex: Eamonn; Niamh; Iubdan; the Uí Néill; and Bran, both before and after meeting Liadan.

2. Appearances are often deceiving in Son of the Shadows. Which characters are most unlike what they appear to be? How do the outward appearances of such characters as Bran and Niamh influence the story?

3. Before Liadan's arrival among them, the Painted Man's band of fighters lived by a rugged warrior's code, preferring to die rather than survive a grievous wound with a body left unable to fight. How does Liadan change this perspective? Does her influence strengthen or weaken the group?

4. Storytelling is featured throughout the book, as a means of imparting wisdom, giving strength and hope, and offering a safe way to challenge or criticize the status quo. What impact does Liadan's storytelling have on the mercenary band? Why does Bran allow her to continue spinning her tales?

5. Lies play a critical role in the story, with such characters as Niamh, Ciarán, and Bran having had their lives shattered and savagely reformed by lies or half-truths. Yet, even such a noble character as Liadan uses deception to achieve a greater good. What is the author saying about Truth? Is there a difference between an outright lie and the truth withheld?

6. Of the many looming conflicts in the book—military, religious, and familial—which is potentially the most damaging to the people of Sevenwaters? Discuss the pitfalls of each, and suggest ways you might have handled each conflict.

7. While the qualities of sacrifice, courage, and perseverance characterized the first book in the Sevenwaters Trilogy, Daughter of the Forest, what are the overarching themes of Son of the Shadows?

8. Has the portrayal of the Fair Folk changed from the first book in the trilogy? How? What might the author be trying to say about the old beliefs? How is the coming of Christianity treated in the book? Could this story be told from a Christian perspective?

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Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters Series #2) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 175 reviews.
WitchyWriter 9 months ago
Liadan is my favorite character from the first three Sevenwaters books. I loved Sorcha, of course—give me any headstrong, stubborn, wonderfully strong Celtic woman and I’m 100% there. But Liadan’s complexity speaks to me on different levels. Sorcha is loyal to her family first and foremost. Liadan is loyal to…well, you’ll see. I loved the plot, loved how it mirrored the first book in some ways but took you to new places, new depths of character, new manifestations of magic. The overall plot arc for the series is a slow burn, which is pretty obvious once you realize that book two is about the next generation! (And book three about the generation after that!) I really appreciate Marillier’s Celtic mythology and history elements. She weaves them in so beautifully, and tells stories rich in detail, with compelling characters and lovely, strange tensions from relationships, society, and the otherworldy beings. If you enjoyed book one, you should definitely keep going. The way this series plays out is different from what you might be used to, and it’s a powerful thing to subvert expectations and give your readers a new experience. Trigger warnings for domestic abuse are probably advisable—not toward the main character, but toward her sister, and an integral part of the plot. Fans of complex and strong women, especially those who enjoy Celtic mythology elements, will love this series and especially this second book.
DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is the second book in the Sevenwaters Series. I have been anticipating this book for some time, as I have loved all the other Juliet Marillier books I have read. This book carries on the story of the family that dwells at Sevenwaters, and they are recovering from the curse that was put upon them in the first book. Even though they have had years of peace and prosperity, still hanging over their heads is a prophecy of what is yet to come.Juliet Marillier draws on the history of the Celts and using their legends and traditions, develops a magical, romantic story of Liadan and Bran, the Painted Man. With dark forces and ancient powers circling ever closer, Liadan comes into her full power to ensure the safely of her family and loved ones. A beautifully written historical fantasy that was a very satisfactory read. Most of the immediate story plots were attended to, but of course this is only book two of a five book series, so not everything has been brought to a conclusion. I am looking forward to continuing this saga, and finding out what happens next.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Liadan of Sevenwaters, youngest daughter of Sorcha and Hugh (formerly of Harrowfield), twin to Sean, and little sister to Niamh, would be happy to spend her whole life in the lovely lands of Sevenwaters, helping out with the household. However, when a series of increasingly confounding events occur, and people began whispering furtively about the reawakening of a curse, or the fulfillment of an old prophecy, and Liadan is kidnapped by a band of skilled but not-quite-merciless mercenaries, she begins to realize that her destiny may lie beyond the simple household workings of Sevenwaters after all.I had heard that, while the first book in the Sevenwaters series, Daughter of the Forest, was pretty good, the second book, SON OF THE SHADOWS, would blow me away. I admit to a bit of good-natured skepticism when I was told this. Okay, yes, Daughter of the Forest was good, but it¿s still the same author writing the second book, which is set in the same world, and has similar characters with similar problems, right? But no, somehow, miraculously, in an act that seems to defy the unstated law of sequels (¿Thou shalt never be good as the first book¿), SON OF THE SHADOWS is an astounding original work of fantasy that sweeps the literary awards in the categories of characters, plot, pacing, and readers¿ emotional investment.Daughter of the Forest was constrained by it being a retelling, albeit a lush and engaging retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, melancholy and terrifying and inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time. However, Marillier hits her writing prowess out of the ballpark when she strays away from the retelling and makes the world she created fully her own. SON OF THE SHADOWS has everything a die-hard fantasy fan will want from a fantasy: a strong protagonist, an epic romance, complex political dynamics, nasty villains. Daughter of the Forest focuses more on Sorcha and her difficult journey to break the curse set on her brothers, whereas in SON OF THE SHADOWS, Marillier takes her time in exploring and expanding the world in and around Sevenwaters. In this book, we can feel the motions of the operations of an estate: its fluid routine under strong leadership, and its heart-wrenching struggles when the leadership is being bombarded by political manipulations and betrayals.I love that the delicate nature of political relationships is explored so thoroughly in this book. Liadan, Sean, and Niamh being children related to the ¿lord of the manor,¿ it is inevitable that their destinies would involve how Sevenwaters¿ relations with its neighbors and strategic allies must evolve. The lovely thing about this being the second book in the series is that we can already sympathize with Liadan¿s parents, Sorcha and ¿Red,¿ from reading about them in the first book; thus, they never end up assuming the ¿antagonist parent¿ role. So much of this book revolves around the Sevenwaters¿ inhabitants¿ political relationships with others: Liadan and neighboring lord Eamonn, Niamh and her unhappy strategic marriage to an ally, and so on. I found it utterly engrossing how Marillier deftly weaves these complex strings of human desires and ambitions so that no one is entirely good, no one entirely bad.But I haven¿t even gotten to what may arguably be the best part of the book yet! Liadan¿s and Bran¿s romance is¿epic. There is no other word for it. It sweeps you off your feet in a violent whoosh and keeps you dizzily, giddily swinging through the air, all the while knowing that you are safe, because the person holding onto you is one whom you can trust with your life. That was what it felt like for me when I was reading about their romance. Liadan and Bran: such seemingly incompatible people at first, and yet they share the same values, both have the same good intentions and dreams that they must fight and fight and fight in order to achieve. So they¿and I, as the reader¿are swept away with the unexpectedness of their connection to one another;
richardsonmichelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't find this story as fascinating as the first of the series. Still a good read.
Awesomeness1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First off, isn't that the creepiest cover you have ever come across? The girl looks like the daughter of an alien tranvestite and Michael Jackson. Just creeps me out man.... Anyway, I finished the first book in this four-book-trilogy a couple days ago, and I got this from the library right away. I rated the first one higher, just because it was fresh. This one repeated many of the same elements as the first. For example, the narrator. She sounded exactly like Sorcha. Same selfless saint girl. Except this one cried more and had more magic stuffs. I found it a bit tiring. But, that did not stop me from getting completely absorbed in the story. I even attempted to read it on the bus one afternoon. I did enjoy this book thoroughly, and absolutely ate up all the folk lore. I am a sucker for myths. So, do I recommend this series? Absolutely. P.S. If you are touchy about sex scenes, you might want to avoid this book. There are a few.
mmillet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Son of the Shadows is the second novel in Juliet Marillier's amazing Sevenwater's series which follows Sorcha's youngest daughter Liadan. Liadan is a talented healer; so kind and open that people constantly compare her to her wonderful mother. Like her uncle Finbar, she is also gifted with the Sight which is more of a burden than anything. She was blessed to have been raised in happiness however, she keeps having the ominous feeling and flashes of insight warning her that life will soon be changing for the worse. Powerless to do anything about this, she clings to her brother and sister, trying to keep them close any way possible. On the way home from seeing her sister wed, Liadan is captured by a group of mercenaries who are known for their fierceness and cruelty. Forced to heal one of their badly wounded men, Liaden finds herself drawn to these men who proclaim to have no past or future but who are in awe of her. She especially is drawn to the Chief, Bran, whose future, like it or not, is directly tied to hers.Liadan faces some truly hard challenges, but unlike her mother Sorcha, she fights against what the Fair Folk and destiny have in store for her in favor of making her own future. I like that she's feisty and has a heart at the same time. I keep forgetting how young these girls are though. I mean Sorcha was 14 when she started her quest in Daughter of the Forest and Liadan is like 15 or 16 for most of the action in Son of the Shadows. Yikes, that's what you call a fast childhood.This was such a fantastic sequel to an amazing first book. I am constantly amazed by Marillier's seemingly slow buildup of action and conflict. You know something is going to happen to her characters but they are just going innocently along hits and you never even guessed what she had in store. On top of that, her love stories are always hard-won. Liadan and Bran are no exception. There is no easy happily-ever-after in any of Marillier's books and I think that is what makes their stories just so dang readable.
flemmily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Liked the main character a little better than Sorcha in Daughter of the Forest. A good slow fairy tale type of book. Reminds me of Robin McKinley's less quirky, more serious books (Beauty or Deerskin maybe).
redg18 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well...this book was not as enjoyable as the first one. I have to say that the characters were not all that admirable. The whole idea of "I'll do whatever I want" doesn't really appeal to me. I hated how the characters from the first book, that appeared in this story, were weaker versions of themselves. The relationships were more superficial in this story as opposed to the first story. I'm a bit disappointed. I won't be reading the last book in the trilogy.
TheBooknerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fabulous, wonderfully written story -- the kind that stays with you long after you've put down the book. Marillier is a master storyteller, and this book is one of her shining gems. The language is beautiful. The characters are fantastic yet realistic. The plot compels you to keep turning pages. And the cultural/historical references add authenticity. I can't say enough good things about this book.
the1butterfly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was just as captivating as "Daughter of the Forest"- Liadan drew me in. I love the healer who heals body and mind both. Bran was captivating, and even his band were endearing. Yes, tattoos are hot. I guessed at many things before the characters did, but I had more knowledge than they.
savageknight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even though I read the first part of this trilogy over 2 years ago, it did not take me long to get right back "in" to this world. The characters are rich and vibrant and easily pull you in especially when you bring in the hints of magick and the links to the "first ones"I couldn't remember too much of the details from book 1 (and sadly did not review it here) but I was a little concerned at first between the similarities of what Liadan was facing and what her mother Sorcha had faced before. However, that similarity was subtle and before long I was so caught up and enjoying my time in and around Sevenwaters that nothing could distract me.I am still amazed at how 'real' this world felt and how comfortable I was walking around in it. The triumphs, the tragedies, the strategies, all given through Liadan's eyes made it as personal to me as it was to her.I definitely will not be waiting 2 years to read book 3! That one will follow in the next few months! :)
rainrunner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished this last night. Late. Last. Night. This book was fantastic. Juliet Marillier continues as she did with book #1 in this series with a writing style that captivates me. Her characters have such depth and variety.The love shared between Liadan and Bran just made me weep as did a scene involving Bran as a youth. So did one of the later scenes involving Sorcha and Red who are from book one and parents to Liadan.*sigh* I tend to forget alot of what I've read as time progresses. I don't think that will happen with this one.Highly recommended but do read book #1 first as the story in #2 is heavily connected with it.
PamelaDLloyd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has been a while since I'd read the first book in this series, and I don't remember it well, so I can't comment on how this volume compares to the first. I had a bit of difficulty getting into the story early on, nothing serious, but it felt a little slow. Once things got going, however, I was hooked. I really enjoyed the book and I like the way the author wove the various fairy tales she references into the Irish mythology. I think my favorite aspect of this book was the storytelling that several characters did; their storytelling voices rang true and strong and really added to the atmosphere.
kristennicole on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book in the series. I love the strong lead female character, and I can't help but fall in love with Bran. The book is a beautiful telling of love, courage, and hope, as are many of the books written by Juliet Marillier.
BookRatMisty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Earlier today I reviewed Daughter of the Forest, which I called my favorite fairy tale retelling of all time (and one of my favorite books, period.); Son of the Shadows is the 2nd book of the series, and I was a little hesitant to read it because it follows Sorcha and Red's children (meaning Sorcha and Red would be older and shuffled off out of the picture, and I just wasn't ready for that), and I'd heard that the series starts to go down hill after the first book. And though this did lack some of the magic of Daughter of the Forest, I certainly wouldn't say that Son of the Shadows is the point where the series starts to go downhill.It's strange, though: some of my favorite things about the book are also some of my complaints. So I'm just going to get right into it. And, um, there will be slight spoilers.I liked the way Son of the Shadows expanded the mythology of Sevenwaters (and Ireland) by incorporating the Old Ones and giving the fey a run for their money. They were an interesting element, and I really liked it. They world and mythology was also expanded in that there are characters from around the world. The Painted Men were fascinating, and going behind the scenes with the "bad guys" and feeling pity for them, sometimes even rooting for them - it was interesting, because it was hard to know where to lay your allegiance. (Which I think was a good thing, because it puts you more in Liadan's mind, who is having a similar problem.)But when I first started SotS, I was more than a little worried that it was going to be a lukewarm rehashing of DOTF, covering the same ground with "new" characters, and trying to recapture the magic. And there were times that I felt this did sort of peek through, or Liadan did come close to being Sorcha, especially in the beginning, before she began to distinguish herself. But as it went along, the similarities faded and Liadan became her own character, and I liked her for it. She was much more willful than her mother, and even sort of brazen, which is not something I would call Sorcha. Where Sorcha took her lot in life and struggled to make the most of it, Liadan went after what she wanted, even when it was sometimes incredibly reckless. Their similarities (beyond both being healers and respected members of their community - and unwittingly enchanting every man who crossed their path) was in the lengths they would go to for those they loved. There didn't seem to be anything they wouldn't risk, which is complicated when the people you love require contradicting things of you. While I'm on the topic of love, I do want to talk about the...romance between Liadan and Bran. I have a friend (the one who recommended the books to me in the first place) who likes Bran more than Red, and that I just don't get. Maybe it's the tortured soul thing, maybe it's whatever it is in women that makes them like bad boys, but as much as I liked Bran as a character, and even as a love interest (at times), I would never in a million years compare their romance to Sorcha's and Red's, or claim to like anyone more. (Red 4eva!) I did like Liadan and Bran together, and I liked his slow transformation into someone worthy of being liked. There was an honesty to the situation, and an acceptance that people aren't perfect (and perhaps Bran was a good foil to Liadan's somewhat Mary Sue character). I sometimes felt as if I was reading the story that would have been if Sorcha had ended up with Simon instead of going to England and meeting Red. That was interesting - but it never gave me butterflies the way that DOTF did. I loved it, and I looked forward to the scenes where they were together, even if only briefly, and that's high-praise, really. But I just can't get crazy fangirly on this one. I loved both characters and found them intriguing, but they were also frustrating and the beauty of the build-up and discovery just wasn't there. It would come SO CLOSE and then just not go all the way*. I liked them, almost even
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The youngest daughter of Sorcha and Red from Daughter of the Forest, Liadan's childhood is a happy one. But at sixteen life her life begins to take a disturbing turn - forces that once meddled in her parents' lives are restless once more, and older things are stirring, as well. Her sister's rash decision, and a chance encounter take Liadan down a dangerous path. Her decisions may bring the end of Sevenwaters, or they may ensure her family's safety for another generation....
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Son of the Shadows is the second book in the Sevenwaters trilogy, and tells the story of Sorcha and Red's children. Their daughter Liadan is the narrator now and she is very like Sorcha. The story starts out similarly to the first one; Liadan is a healer like her mother and secretly takes care of a wounded outlaw. But Liadan's path is a different one than Sorcha's, and she makes choices that go against what the Fair Folk would wish. There is an older magic than that of the Tuátha Dé Danann, and it guides Liadan down a path that is outside the pattern. I think this is the weakest of the trilogy because the plot just doesn't seem as well planned and sometimes the characters are a little unrealistic. Liadan's male relations would not just quietly acquiesce when she comes home pregnant and unwed; her father wouldn't just swallow hard and say, "all right, Liadan, if that's what you want. You can always make your own choices." It's just a bit too sugary sweet. Also, I found the Painted Man's supposedly ferocious band of hardened warriors just a little too susceptible to Liadan's storytelling and sassy ways. Despite these shortcomings, there are some things I really like about this installment. Marillier deals with abuse and its aftermath for both an abused wife and a mistreated child. Its effects are lifelong and chilling. I also really liked to see a mortal working against the Fair Folk and changing her own destiny. In this story it becomes a bit clearer that the gods and goddesses certainly work their will in human events, but people are not just their pawns and can change the entire story if they dare. At one point the Bright One is frustrated "that so much should depend on them." It's a very different dynamic from that in Daughter of the Forest, where the purposes of the Fair Folk and the heroine are the same. Again, there are some explicit scenes in addition to the heavier themes of abuse and desire, and I would not recommend the series to young readers. But older readers will enjoy the complex family saga that continues in this novel, and there is something about the series that compels you to keep reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As enjoyable as the first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I adored the 1st book and found this one to be a very satisfying followup.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although, it has much more graphic physical scenes then any of the other books of the whole series as far as I've read (i still need to read Child of the Prophecy). Liadan is a very admirable character and the story plot will have you reading the book nonstop. It does get a bit slow in the middle but it's enjoyable nonetheless in my opinion. I wish we would of gotten to know Ciaran's character more in this book but i'm hoping I'll know more about him in the next one. I give it 4 starts instead of 5 because some parts were too graphic for my taste (i'm not just talking about the gory scenes).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago