Hi! Welcome to Seven Days for Sevenwaters, a week-long feature dedicated to Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series. Today we’re going to start out with a lovely post from Sevenwaters newbie, Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks. I met Heidi online and in real life this year, and not only is she an incredibly fun person to be around, but you can always count on her to write articulate, thoughtful, and witty book reviews. She read both the first book, Daughter of the Forest, and the second, Son of the Shadows, for the first time this summer after some prodding from me (among others) for which I’m proud to take credit. Her thoughts about the series as a whole are for new, old, and potential readers of the series.
Take it away, Heidi!
Some are born into Sevenwaters, some earn their place there through love or hard work, but I, as a reader, had Sevenwaters thrust upon me. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I’d barely heard the name ‘Juliet Marillier’, when now I place both Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows on my ‘favorite, beloved, will read repeatedly–especially certain scenes’ shelf. It seemed as if for months these books were recommended by countless bookish friends, and not in a ‘oh that book’s good’ kind of way, in a ‘that book is one of my all time favorites omg please you must read it now’ kind of way. Finally, early into the summer, I gave in. I opened the pages of Daughter of the Forest, and knew almost instantly that my reading life would be forever changed.
I realize not everyone attending this event has yet read Sevenwaters, in fact, I hope many of you haven’t. The excitement I feel being able to see friends pick these books up and fall in love just as I did a few short months ago is what bibliovangelism is all about. As you may have gathered, I’m new to Sevenwaters. I have a long journey before me, and it will certainly not always be easy, but the best things in life rarely are.
I’ve found that coming to Sevenwaters is a lot like coming to Lake Wobegon. The women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average. The stories are amazing, the lore captivating, and the world spectacular, but without those living in Sevenwaters, these stories would be nothing. It’s somewhat rare in the fantasy genre to see such strong character driven stories when there is always so much going on in the world, but here you have it. Now, bear in mind that I’ve only completed Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows thus far, but this is a pattern I feel will ring true throughout the next four books.
We get to experience each story through the perspective of some of the strongest female heroines you will meet in fantasy. I don’t mean the sword wielding, butt kicking kind of strong–I mean the unyielding spirit, complete and utter faith in those they trust and love, will endure unfathomable evil to get what they want in the end strong. These little women earn the love and respect of readers and those around them through their actions, and provide a window through which we are able to see this world, and understand the family therein.
The children of Sevenwaters are nothing short of remarkable. To say that these siblings are talented and close would be tantamount to saying that Beethoven was a decent composer. Every child of the house of Sevenwaters holds some special gifts–some for healing, some for invention, some have the sight, some for warfare, some for love, and all of them recognize the value and hardships of trust. And the men? Well, I hardly need talk about the men. Earning the love of a child of Sevenwaters requires one to have the characteristics that family has come to value, with the added difficulty of having been raised in completely different environments. Being welcomed into the fold of this clan is a gift not to be taken lightly, and a responsibility one cannot pass off. I won’t lie and say I don’t understand how those not chosen by children of Sevenwaters might end up a wee bit bitter. Don’t we all want to be a part of that family?
When you immerse yourselves in the pages of a Sevenwaters novel, you must be prepared. You will find yourselves surrounded by love, warmth, and family. You will feel the heaviness of stones growing in your heart and the fear of evil ripping at the edges of your mind. You will become a part of a history so rich and full that you will long to end every evening with a story, and use these tales to guide your path.
I’ve found that trying to capture the feeling of reading a Sevenwaters book is akin to attempting to tame a wild thing. The words are there, just at the edge of my ability to grasp them, and I always get just a glimpse of beauty and perfection before they disappear fleetingly. I may be new to this world, but it’s one I’m overjoyed to be a part of. I’m happy that Sevenwaters will have me, and I bet they’ll take you too.
Aww, I’m over-the-moon to be part of the Sevenwaters family as well, Heidi. Well put. I hope some of you who haven’t will want to join too.
For those of you who are new or long-time fans, how did you discover the series? Which element of the Sevenwaters world Heidi described draws you in most – the heroines, the heroes, the storytelling, or the family relationships? Tell us below.
L.M. Sherwin’s review of Daughter of the Forest @ Unearthing Words