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    Daughter of the Forest
Written by: Juliet Marillier
Review by: Tina Morgan


The first book in the Sevenwaters trilogy, Daughter of the Forest is a step away from the graphic violence so many fantasy novels rely on. The tension and passion of the story do not falter for this gentler approach. Nor is this to imply that there is no violence in the novel. There are violent conflicts but the details are left to the readers imagination.

Ms. Marillier bases her story on the fable of a young girl who's brothers are turned into swans by an evil sorceress. Unlike the children's fable of old, the story details the girl's life instead of glossing over her trials and heartaches. Sorcha has remarkable strength and fortitude but even her convictions are tested and the reader finds themselves compelled to read on and discover if, like the fable of old, Sorcha wins her battle with evil.

I have read many fairy tale adaptations and this is one of my favorites. The story is well crafted with only a few concerns that made me pause during reading. Two different scenes are switched into present tense in what appears to be an effort to increase the urgency of the story. This isn't needed. The story is nicely paced and the gimmick is more jarring than effective. The first time this occurs is when Sorcha sees the boys' transformations through her brother Finbar's eyes. The second time this happens is a less obvious reason and it jarred me out of the story. It slides back into past tense with no explanation as to why it was changed in the first place.

The novel leaves a few questions unanswered that should be resolved in the second and third novel of the trilogy. The second novel, Son of the Shadows, is currently available in mass paperback by Tor Books.

While Daughter of the Forest is a fairy tale adaptation, it is also a serious novel that does an excellent job of establishing the world's magic. Sorcha and Red's relationship is a memorable story, rounding out this tale of tragedy, loss, hope and romance.

Daughter of the Forest earns a * * * * rating.

Rating Scale:
* * * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* * = Slow, difficult to read, could have been improved.
* = Imminently forgettable.



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