Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

I'm giving this book: 5 out of 5 stars

The story is set in Britain and Ireland before the time of Christianity. The framework for Daughter of The Forest is a Germanic tale, The Six Swans, a wonderful story from the collection of the Grimm Brothers. Daughter of the Forest is a beautiful and tearful tale, and I find myself crying in many parts of the story. 

Sorcha (pronounced: Sor-ra) is the youngest child and the only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. After her mother’s death, Sorcha and her six elder brothers live freely. Quiet abandoned by her father, the seven siblings become so dependent on each other. Together they learn the secrets about their forest and the mythic tale which surrounded it. 

One day, their father comes and tells them that he brings a new mother for them. Lady Oonagh is a beautiful woman with proper manners, but all the siblings know that she is dangerous. She is not even human. The seven siblings try to destroy her dark power using the forest power, but Lady Oonagh knows what they try to do and catches them. Sorcha is able to escape, but her six brothers must suffer Lady Oonagh’s curse. She turns them into six swans, and the only time they return to their true shape is on the day of midsummer and midwinter. 

Sorcha, with help from mythical creature of the forest, knows that there is a way to break the spell. She has to sew six shirts, one for each brother. The shirts must be made from a thorn bush, and she has to suffer the thorns cutting through her hands while she sews the shirts. She must tell nobody about her brother’s spell, and she has to sacrifice her voice until the curse is lifted. If she says even one word before the curse is undone, then her brothers will remain swans forever. 

I find the story is really beautiful, and there are times I find myself drawn deeply into the story. The meeting of Sorcha with a guy from her enemy land plays a great part of the story. Red, the red-haired man who saves her when she is almost drowned, happens to be one of the leaders from her enemy land, Britain. The story of Sorcha and Red is really fun to read. I love most about the way Red protects Sorcha and understands her even though Sorcha can’t say anything at all. 

Daughter of the Forest is a really good book and I really recommend it, especially for people who loves remake of fairy tales. Sorcha is a wonderful heroine and she has my sympathy. I admire her dedication and love to her family and her land. Red is a suitable hero to balance Sorcha with his strength and his patience. In short, a must-read book! 

Finally I fell asleep, still staring into the candle flame, curled up by small Alys for warmth, with my brothers’ names sounding over and over in my head, as if by saying them I could keep them alive a little longer, just a little. Just long enough.

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