Written by: Juliet Marillier
Released: January 1, 1999 by Pan Macmillan
Summary: 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.
This book was one that I read after I saw a friend of mine reading it and asked how it was. Am I ever glad that I did.
Though this isn't my favourite of the series (I LOVED the second book a little more), this was still such an amazing read. Marillier is truly amazing when it comes to weaving together her fairy tales and making them something different. Her YA books are good, but this series is fantastic. This book has just about everything too, from adventure, to romance, to magic, to evil. Honestly, it's hard to summarize how amazing it is until you've experienced it. No, wait, that doesn't work. Ok, basically you have to read this novel to truly find out how utterly thrilling and gorgeous it is.
Either way, this is a definite 9/10 book for me and I highly recommend it.