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Sevenwaters #2

Son of the Shadows

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After years of comparative peace, darkness has fallen upon Ulster. Trouble is brewing and even those in the heart of the forest are not safe. Niamh, elder daughter of Sorcha, is required to make a strategic marriage, while her sister Liadan, who has the gift of Sight and her mother’s talent for healing, finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of the Painted Man and his warrior band. There Liadan begins a journey that is to transform her life.

608 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published September 1, 2000

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About the author

Juliet Marillier

76 books11k followers
Juliet Marillier was born in Dunedin, New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Juliet was educated at the University of Otago, where she majored in music and languages, graduating BA and Bachelor of Music (Hons). Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a major influence on her writing.

Juliet is the author of twenty-one historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, as well as a book of short fiction. Juliet's novels and short stories have won many awards.

Juliet lives in a 110 year old cottage in a riverside suburb of Perth, Western Australia. When not writing, she tends to her small pack of rescue dogs. She also has four adult children and eight grandchildren. Juliet is a member of the druid order OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,675 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,967 followers
December 1, 2017
OMG! I loved this second book in the series!

I actually listened to it double time on audio and followed along in the book. BUT, I was so into the book I didn't mark down any excerpts. I hate when I do that.

This world Juliet Marillier creates is just magical. Yes, there are bad things that happen but they always do in most fantasy books. She just pulls you into the story and I can't even explain it. I'm no good at this explaining stuff. Maybe if I could record my brain. Hmm...

I really hope the rest of the books are as good as this one and the first one. This is one I could read over and over! Absolutely perfect for what I needed to hear. And I need to add that I love the narrator! They do an awesome job.

Happy Reading!

Mel ♥
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,754 followers
April 19, 2015
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

BR with my peeps at: Buddies Books and Baubles

Specifically: Robin (Bridge Four)

3.5 stars

Sometimes when I finish a book I know exactly what I think about it, and the review practically writes itself. Other times . . . I finish, thinking that overall I liked the book, but . . . something remains . . . unresolved. And the more I dwell on it, the more issues emerge, until the something evolves into multiple identifiable problems.

This is one of those times.

That's not to say that Son of the Shadows wasn't a good book. It absolutely was.

It just wasn't a good book for me.

There are several reasons.

I didn't particularly like either this generation from Sevenwaters or several of the other important new characters.

Sorcha and Red, the MCs from the previous installment, now have three grown children: their eighteen-year-old firstborn Niamh, and sixteen-year-old twins Sean and Liadan. Sean is the heir of Sevenwaters, Liadan has followed in her mother's footsteps as a healer and is the "heart" of Sevenwaters, and Niamh is the petulant beauty with a nasty mean streak.

Does Niamh have understandable reasons for lashing out at others and placing most of her self-worth in her appearance?

Yes. She does.

In fact, she'd make a perfect villain.

I think the best kind of villain is the kind that you can empathize with, but still not like.

Villains you genuinely like aren't villains. They're anti-heroes. And villainous villains are fun to hate, but there is seldom much depth. Depth allows for empathy, which brings us back full circle.

But Niamh isn't the villain.

Instead you're left with a character you don't like, and thus have a hard time drumming up sympathy for when she becomes a victim.

I recognized cerebrally that what happened to her was awful. But I didn't feel it. Maybe if I had been able to, I would've been distracted from the why, which is what occupied my attention in place of the anguish I might have felt on behalf of a more likable character.

And the why . . . was pretty flimsy.

Niamh fell in love with an unsuitable young man. When it was discovered, the relationship was forbidden, but believing that her lover would never forsake her, she was completely shattered when he left.

"But why did he leave?" you ask, and that's an excellent question.

It's also a question the adults refuse to answer.

So later, when Niamh finds herself in abhorrent circumstances, she has nothing to fall back on. She sees herself as worthless, as unworthy of being loved---why else would Unsuitable Lover have abandoned her? Why else would her family have sent her away, turning their backs on her?

It's . . . infuriating. And ridiculous.

B/c you, the reader, know why the relationship is forbidden. I actually wondered if my wiring was faulty until my friend Robin (who BR-ed this me) said that she didn't understand what the Big Deal was either. YES, what happened was unfortunate . . . worse than unfortunate. *whispers* Gross, man. But it was a mistake born out of innocence. And, I'm sorry, but that makes a massive difference to me. Robin, too, so there.

Maybe there are some kind of medieval social connotations we're not aware of, or maybe we're desensitized b/c current events. I don't know. Doesn't matter, really. What does matter is that I didn't buy it.

Sean was MEH. I appreciated that he thought outside of the box, but he was too irrationally impulsive to like.

Liadan . . . my feelings in regards to Liadan are complex.

I should have liked her. I should have loved her. She's exactly the kind of independent-thinking heroine that I usually admire and root unreservedly for.

And yet . . . I found her condescending.

My impression wasn’t that she questioned b/c she refused to agree to life-altering decisions without understanding the implications, but that she questioned b/c she-—in her infinite sixteen-year-old wisdom—-knew better. That she was correct didn't matter to me, b/c I'm a brat, and if you do the right thing for the wrong reason . . . (and YES, I'm well aware of the irony).

And as with Niamh's ignorance making a difference in my perception of her actions, Liadan's motivations made what would have been admirable . . . less so.

Then there's Bran.

Bran . . . is an ASS. And not the kind of ASS you find yourself liking against your better judgement, b/c not really an ASS. No, he's the kind of ASS you futilely wanted to like you when you were in high school, despite that fact that he was an ASS, but looking back as an adult, you realize . . . what an ASS.

And just like High School ASS, Bran has reasons for being an ASS too. Another perfect villain in the making, but, once again, not the villain.

Which brings me to who was the villain . . . also an ASS, but unlike Bran, if he has reasons, they remain undisclosed.

My biggest issue also has to do with Villain, but be warned, it's a spoiler:

However . . . lots of readers very much enjoy the kind of wounded-bear-type character Bran is, and forgive them everything b/c broken. That is not me. And my dislike of Liadan was based on an vague impression that I can't support with evidence. When I was gearing up for the Buddy Read, several people told me that they loved this book even more than Daughter of the Forest. SO. Take what I've said with a grain of salt. You know your preferences. And you know how critical I can be. Even with my issues, Son of the Shadows wasn't anything I'd consider a bad read, and it wasn't until I started picking things apart that I lowered the rating from 4 stars. Also, I fully intend to read the next book.
Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
June 30, 2016
“Don't you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?”

Where do I start?How can I put into words the magnitude of Juliet Marillier's writing?How can I explain to someone who hasn't lived through her books that Son of the Shadows left me a sobbing mess,that there were scenes so emotionally brutal and devastating that it felt like my heart was ripped from my chest and squeezed until there was no blood left?And that despite the pain and the agony,I felt pure in the end?
“Come, dear heart.Lean on me and let us walk this path together.”

Together.The Sevenwaters family,Red and Sorcha's family believed that there would be no evil in the world they could not face together.And that is precisely the reason the evil forces tried to divide them,to wreak havoc and mistrust on a family that valued their bond more than anything else.Secrets and betrayals came to light,one by one,threading a web of isolation and anger.Liadan,Sorcha's dutiful daughter,the healer with the Sight,was caught in the middle of it.For it was her the Fair Folk had been waiting for generations to help fulfill an ancient prophecy.But Liadan was no mere tool.Nor was Bran,despite everyone's efforts to convince her otherwise.Warriors,druids,mercenaries,misguided girls,they were all woven in a pattern and Liadan held the key to either destruction or salvation.
“Your actions are your own.Your choices are your own.Each of us carries a burden of guilt for decisions made or not made.You can let that rule your whole life or you can put it behind you and move on.”

This was not a happy story.Sorcha's courage and sacrifice held her family together,but they were not enough.Liadan on the other hand wasn't as willing as her mother to follow the path the Fair Folk chose for her.She was a strong and independent woman,she made her choices against everyone's warnings.But she loved fiercely,like her parents did.And while Bran wasn't Prince Charming,just a scary and equally scared man consumed by hatred and bloodlust,he was perfect for her,and she for him.
“He and I…we share a bond. Not love, exactly. It goes beyond that. He is mine as surely as sun follows moon across the sky. Mine before ever I knew he existed. Mine until death and beyond.”

I try to swallow my grief for everything that happened,but my feelings are overwhelming and difficult to control.My heart breaks for the trials my heroes had to face,but I keep admiring them for their strength.Conor made some huge mistakes,and so did Red,and Liam,and Sean,and Niahm but I cannot blame them,not when they thought they did the right thing for the people they loved.
“The world is simple in its essence. Life,death,love,hate.Desire,fulfillment.Magic.”

All of these elements combined make this story a unique one,like the tales your grandfather used to tell you by the hearth.Irish mythology entangled with high fantasy,the ancient battle between Good and Evil and the mortals in between made an extraordinary book,one of those that stay with you forever.

Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews884 followers
April 4, 2018
The second instalment in the Sevensweaters* series is like an ugly jumper presented by your most favorite aunt. You will never wear it and you will never tell her about it for the sake of good times you spent together.

There are six shirts sweaters in the Sevensweaters series. The first one was an enchanted one and the moment you put it on, it put you under a spell. Needless to say, starting the Son of the Shadows I expected a tale of similar quality. What I got instead was a garment badly knitted, made of an itchy material, hideous in terms of fabric, colour and patterns.

Are you ready for an ugly sweater party?

In the middle, the jumper has a huge snowflake
. The main heroine, a girl called Liadan (Sorcha's daughter), suffers from the severe "unique one" syndrome, experiencing "nameless feelings of ill; sudden bouts of shivering; cryptic warnings of the mind". This gift sets her apart from everyone else, and so even though outwardly she expresses the desire to be ordinary, inwardly she relishes in how special she is. Better, wiser, more emphatic/insightful/choose an adjective here/all of the above than everybody else.

Apparently, she is also outside the pattern which renders her with an ability to alter the course of things. You see, the rest of us are like puppets implementing grand plans devised by higher beings without an ability to add even a jot to the design. Not Liadan, no. Her actions can challenge and change the destinies. No wonder that a girl raised with this notion reaches mastery at shallow coyness and false modesty that reeks with hypocrisy.

This makes her insufferable, but I would endure it of not for one more thing: Liadan's relationship with her sister. The dynamics between the siblings is in a stark contrast with the previous book in the series. Where Sorcha sacrificed everything and suffered for her brothers with love and hope, Liadan's attitude to Niamh is beyond abominable. Mind you, I have a wonderful sister, and so the sisterhood theme is something I can relate to.

Liadan at first only complains about Niamh's flaws and incessantly compares herself with the older girl in a way that transforms all Niamh's qualities into vices, then her feelings of being superior culminate in betrayal (even though she never explicitly admits to being the main reason for the terrible events that unfold in the book), followed by an agreement to the unfair treatment Niamh was forced to suffer confessing that she "had scarce given her [sister] a moment's thought" since bidding her farewell. Excuse my vulgarity, but what a cold-hearted bitch! And then, without any discernible development or breakthrough moment, Liadan takes a U-turn in order to be the merciful saviour. She had to, otherwise the whole sweater would fall apart. As it is, it remains badly stitched together.

Marillier played with the notion of destiny but couldn't make up her mind. Liadan could alter it, her loved one also, to some extent, but others were not so lucky and so the only viable option for them was to meekly follow the predestined course. Descendant of traitors must be traitorous, sorcerous blood must come out, and so on and so forth. It is also a book about trust. Again, Liadan betrayed the trust of her sister, but never that of her lover, she trusts in one thing, and blindly, but only when it suits her, others she spurns. She also demands trust from others, rarely being able to provide more rationale for it besides the very convenient Sight. Sometimes not at all and without any apparent reason.

Marillier can write, I grant you that, but the book is too long and badly composed. While the love affair is credible, Niamh's story is far more interesting and with more drama to it than the mundane romance between Liadan and the Painted Man. And yet, Niamh does not get the credit, she shimmers on the margins of the main plot and basically serves as a springboard for Liadan. Furthermore, the main tale interspersed with other tales and tellings. It is all grand if you are an ardent fan of Celtic folklore. Surely, these are interesting, but if I wanted to know those, I'd read Celtic Tales and Legends or some other encyclopedic account of Irish mythology and fable. Woe is me, as the Son of the Shadows gave me a sort of the Irish version of the Arabian Nights.

As you see, the whole sweater is made of bad yarn: it breaks in the plies, there are knots in many skeins with the orphaned and unknitted plies sitting like snags on the knit side of the fabric, and the loosely spun fibers result in pilling while the colour is bleeding and stains. I would not recommend it, as the Daughter of the Forest is a perfect standalone.

* Terminology shamelessly stolen from the ever creative Zaara

Other Sevenwaters books:

1. Daughter of the Forest
3. Child of the Prophecy
4. Heir to Sevenwaters
5. Seer of Sevewaters
6. Flame of Sevenwaters
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
January 9, 2013
It is, for some reason, extraordinarily difficult for me to explain my feelings concerning this novel. Son of the Shadows is, as all the reviews proclaim, a worthy follow-up to Daughter of the Forest. In fact, both novels are so vastly different that it is practically impossible to compare them and, without a doubt, Son of the Shadows is a beautifully written story, just as heart-breaking and emotionally impactful as its predecessor. Yet, my feelings of awe for this piece are mixed in with guilty disappointment. I say guilty merely because the majority of my friends have found this to be as remarkable a story as the first, and I definitely thought the first was a better novel, and disappointing because I went into this novel expecting it to be just as good, if not better, than its predecessor, and it wasn’t. Nevertheless, I will attempt to push aside my jumbled feelings and convey that, despite what I may have felt, this novel really was a masterpiece in and of itself.

Son of the Shadows chronicles the story of Liadan, Sorcha’s daughter. It introduces us to Niamh, Sorcha’s eldest daughter, Sean, Sorcha’s only son and twin of Liadan, and Liadan herself who happens to be a seer. In Sevenwaters, Liadan’s life has been one of happiness and she, more than her siblings, has received the perfect mix of both her parents’ best qualities. Yet, disaster strikes Sevenwaters when, firstly, Sorcha falls ill and slowly begins her descent to death and later when Niamh is found to be having an affair with a man she is forbidden to be with. As such, Niamh is sent away for a profitable arranged marriage, accompanied by her sister, Liadan. On her way home, Liadan is kidnapped by the troop of the Painted Man, a notorious bandit who wants Liadan to cure his blacksmith. It is here that Liadan’s tale truly begins.

What I loved about Son of the Shadows was the fact that, in many ways, it was the opposite of Daughter of the Forest. While Daughter of the Forest is a slow journey of trust, with every step taken one that is a little closer to happiness, Son of the Shadows is the unraveling of that trust and the plunge into darkness. Its themes, different from that of its predecessor, explore the true test of faith, of the multiple sides to every action, and of the importance of recognizing that one person’s happiness or correct path does not necessarily ensure happiness for another. It weaves a complex web of belief in others, one that is very fragile and easily broken, and the steady journey to see where each character winds up in the end and if they can survive and mend relationships despite hurdles is an interesting one to watch unfold.

In addition to the themes itself, Son of the Shadows contains a very different kind of romance. In this, Liadan swiftly falls in love with one man, and he falls in love with her too, but the moment he finds out that she is from Sevenwaters, he instantly shuns her and refuses to have anything to do with her due to a past mistake of her father. As readers of Daughter of the Forest, it is impossible to understand why Bran, the Painted Man who falls in love with Liadan, could possibly hate Red and their love story, instead of being one in which the reader is waiting to see if the two characters truly love each other, is one where the reader is waiting to see if the two finally wind up together. I’ll admit that the nascence of this romance moved a little too quickly for me and I wasn’t able to form a solid bond with these two as a couple, but as the story wore on, they won me over and I can frankly admit that their love story is just as beautiful, moving, and powerful as that of Sorcha and Red. Furthermore, Bran is easily my favorite character in the tale, proving to be far more complex and tortured than I imagined and the build-up and eventual truth of his past definitely does not disappoint in the least.

Nevertheless, despite its positives, Son of the Shadows certainly had a slew of negative aspects as well. Firstly, I have to state that Liadan experienced little to no character growth at all. When we first meet her, she is already an extremely well-developed character, but it is disappointing to see that her personality doesn’t experience much change despite the events she goes through. Instead, her siblings, Niamh and Sean, are much more flawed and humanely realistic than Liadan is, going through far more drastic stages of growth than she does. Yet, despite this, they don’t feature into enough of the storyline, making Liadan the sibling to love, and furthermore, they lack the strong bond between siblings that is so palpably felt between Sorcha and her brothers. In addition, some parts of this novel almost felt forced, most noticeably the drama. As a novel, it started and ended very strongly, but the middle, opposed to lagging, simply lacked something that left me rather detached from the tale overall. Where Daughter of the Forest made me feel like I was Sorcha herself and made me sob and weep and laugh and smile so much my face hurt, I was so consciously aware of reading a book while reading this. At times, Liadan's journey was just as powerful as her mother's, but during other times, it was simply a very good story.

Overall, however, I can’t recommend this novel enough. Sure, it has its flaws, but the ultimate message it leaves you with, the character tales you won’t be able to forget, and the lore that never fails to captivate just cannot be missed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Juliet Marillier is a remarkable author. For any fan of her novels, this is a definite must-read. It lacks a little something that Daughter of the Forest had, but it is an excellent novel in its own right and it is one that I know I will return to and re-read in a few years, this time without that added expectation, and perhaps I will, after all, find it to be just as good as its predecessor at long last.

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Mikki Crisostomo.
227 reviews32 followers
June 17, 2009
This is my favorite book of all time. My copy is dog-eared, and I'm looking around for another one. This was the book that set me off on my love for Juliet Marillier's books. The simple elegance of the prose was the perfect voice for Liadan, the main character. The love between Bran and Liadan spoke to me the first time I read it and has echoed deeper and deeper with every reading (of which there are many). In my opinion, this is better than the other two because the characters all have a way of worming themselves into your heart.
Profile Image for Sofia.
231 reviews6,990 followers
August 12, 2023
Son of the Shadows follows the children of Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest: haughty and willful Niamh, reckless Sean, and strong, pensive Liadan. An old evil is creeping over Sevenwaters, sowing discord and mistrust in a once-shatterproof family.

The flaw that hurt my enjoyment of this book the most was the family dynamic. Yes, one major topic covered by the novel is the breaking of family ties under pressure, but this doesn’t work when those bonds aren’t evident from the start. Niamh is thrown into tragedy very early in the story when I still haven’t gotten attached to her and before she exhibits any likable traits. So later in the book, when her story became even more miserable, it was hard to care. I felt Sorcha’s bond with her brothers in Daughter of the Forest so deeply, but Liadan’s relationships with her siblings were never built with the same care. Although she purportedly has a similar bond with Sean as Sorcha did with Finbar, they are rarely shown together and have clashed from the very beginning. Marillier wrote six brothers in the first book and all of them felt real—their relationships with Sorcha were so palpable they made my heart ache. So I know the author can do it.

The problem with warning that an old evil is coming to destroy the family is that I don’t know what this family looks like before the evil, before they stopped trusting each other and started lying. I don’t know what peace I’m supposed to miss, when from the beginning, everyone’s been up in arms with each other, and uneasiness and discomfort is constant. Everything needs more time to build. Misery isn’t as effective when I’m unsure if happiness to the same degree is possible with these people. Even carryover characters like Red feel distant and often thoughtless or rash in an out-of-character way.

Although this is structured more like a family saga, it reads foremost as a romance between Liadan and Bran, the leader of the outcast warrior group known as the Painted Ones for their intricate tattoos. Bran is guarded, reluctant to trust, and fiercely resentful. Liadan is similar to Sorcha in appearance and personality, although her individuality becomes apparent as the book progresses. She is more outspoken than Sorcha—which seems obvious considering Sorcha’s state in Daughter of the Forest—but this is also true in relation to Sorcha as an adult. Liadan is more willing to break harmony to follow her heart, as she does repeatedly in Son of the Shadows.

What I don’t understand is how Liadan could fall in love with Bran after only knowing him for six days, during which he told her repeatedly how much he hated all women, assumed the worst of her multiple times, and later on, insulted her parents and sent her away thoughtlessly. It’s true that he acts this way because of his childhood trauma; my issue here isn’t that he’s a bad person, but that Liadan couldn’t have known he was lashing out from a place of pain instead of just being hostile. Maybe it’s the healer in her.

If there had been a longer peacetime in the beginning and if Liadan had spent more time with Bran before leaving, many parts of this novel might have worked better than they did. I think all this book needs to be great is more character exploration from the start. Otherwise it’s confusing when Liadan bargains to stay with the people who kidnapped her so she can try to heal a dying man she doesn’t know, when Niamh treats her sister with disdain even though I know for sure that would never be taught in Sorcha’s household, when Red repeatedly gives Liadan the benefit of the doubt while shunning his other daughter entirely for much of the book, when Liadan starts seeing into people’s minds but only into one person’s and only when the plot demands it, when the Fey issue ominous threats but never follow through on them, etc.

Despite this misstep in the exposition, Son of the Shadows is still a high-quality book. Marillier’s prose is superb. She’s excellent at building uneasiness and abstract anxiety, as well as a sense of movement and ever-present danger. It’s thrilling and terrifying. The subtle emotions in the subtext make the impact of the plot twists felt so much more, since it isn’t just written out, so you can let your imagination and your heart run with it. The author is also good at making plots complicated and tugging at your heart in just the right way that makes it hurt without feeling gratuitous or sacrificing subtlety. These plots never wrap up too neatly, which I love. There’s plenty of leftover tension and melancholy at the end. It feels real.

The topics of choice, fate, trust, the ripple effect of lies, and the silencing of women are explored in a very satisfying way throughout the book. Son of the Shadows covers more ground thematically than Daughter of the Forest, which was unexpectedly enjoyable.

Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,645 reviews1,512 followers
March 20, 2015
Buddy read with the amazing Jessica
”I have believed, for a long time, that the Fair Folk guide our steps. That they work their great plans through us. But you are not in their scheme. Perhaps you hold some sort of key.”

╰⊰✿Overall Feelings On Son of Shadows✿⊱╮

Just like Daughter of the Forest this takes us on a magical and epic journey over years. Liadan like her mother is a healer and as with all the children of Sevenwaters has a deep capacity for love. Once she finds it she will hold onto it forever no matter the cost. They are not the heroines that we normally see in fantasy with great powers or skill with weapons and fighting. Yet each is so strong in their own way.

This is an emotional journey, perhaps not quite as emotional as Daughter of the Forest but still it took me through every emotion I have in my personal spectrum. I get so caught up in the world that I felt like I took the journey as well and I couldn’t help racing through the story. There were two scene in particular that just gutted me. Again it is a darker fantasy than some and there are no neatly tied up bows at the end for all the characters involved. There are some happier endings than others and like life no one gets everything they want, some very hard choices had to be made.
╰⊰✿The Story✿⊱╮

Son of Shadows continues the story of Daughter of the Forest a generation later. Red and Sorcha have had three children and they are of an age when things really start to happen again. Whether that is because the Fae have set new plans in motion, or an ancient evil has a plan for revenge, or something even older than the Fae has plans of its own is unclear. The only thing that is certain is a new challenge has been set and new dangers await the children of Sevenwaters.

Liadan is instantly likable, probably the most likable of all the three children Red and Sorcha had together. She is a reflection of both Sorcha and Red and I saw it in all of her choices and actions.
“I can see we have taught you well, Liadan,” said my mother, regarding me closely. “You have my skill with healing and your father’s gift for love. He gathers all around him under his protective shade like a great forest tree. I see the same strength in you, Daughter.”

All the children grew up sheltered in the love of Sevenwaters but when events are set in motion secrets from the past and some choices made separate the family in ways they never imagined before. The nice thing about Son of Shadows is that it starts out a little faster than Daughter of the Forest. The propelling events of the story happen almost immediately and carry Liadan into her destiny which was a little unexpected.

Liadan is blessed and cursed as Finbar was with the gift of sight. It is while she is discovering her power in this that she is kidnapped by a band of mercenaries in hopes she can heal one of their men. When she first meets the Painted Man she believes him to be the heartless killer of all the tales. He plays the role well and only when Liadan is able to see into his mind and future does she see that maybe he could be more than just the man from the stories and his past is more tragic than anyone she has met before. Because of her gift Liadan might not know what the future holds exactly but she does know that they are intertwined
“He and I—we share a bond. Not love, exactly. It goes beyond that. He is mine as surely as sun follows moon across the sky. Mine before ever I knew he existed. Mine until death and beyond. He is in terrible danger. From others and from himself. If I could do more to protect him, I would.

This is more a tale of mending long time hurts and discovering a new path in life that might be different than what you always expected for yourself. Liadan must learn how to use her gifts with the help of Finbar if she is ever going to save the man who stole her heart and she discovers that it is a heavy task to be shown the possibilities of the future.
╰⊰✿Why I Love the Sevenwaters World✿⊱╮

One of the things that draws me into the Sevenwaters stories so much is the actual world. It has a mysticism to it. It is subtle and even believable in a sense where sorcerers and druids use nature to influence their surroundings. It is a place where a forest is a living breathing thing full of spirits and enchantments and the Fae are just a thin veil away. It is a place of prophecy and destiny and I do love a tale with a good but of destiny in it.

I really like that these are tales of families and all the joy and complications that come from that. The people you love the most are the people that you are capable of hurting even when all you are doing is trying to help. The entanglements are so emotional and heartfelt that I fall into the story and don’t want to emerge from it even when it is over.
╰⊰✿A Few Small Issues✿⊱╮

These are books I have to be a little patient with. There are a lot of little building steps that do add to the story but sometimes make it seem like it is moving along slowly. In Daughter of the Forest this happened near the beginning and while Sorcha was alone before meeting Red. In Son of Shadow this happens in the middle.

I spent a lot of time waiting and wanting Bran to come back into Liadan’s life. It felt like he was gone forever and I missed him. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing as it is probably what the author intended me to feel. The longing that Liadan felt for the man she knew she loved and I definitely felt that but I spent a lot of time waiting for him to come back so I was a little distracted from what was happening while I was waiting.

The other issue is that the villians of the story are sometimes a little over the top. I love a good villain but I like it the best when they can in a different light be seen as a possible hero if you are on the other side. Ciaran is a great example of this. He is likable and I understand his motivations but he is also someone that could be very dangerous in the future.

Lastly the ending was slightly anticlimactic because of the nature of how Liadan saves Bran. It is more an internal struggle with his past and so not very action oriented. It is not entirely a bad thing either but I really would have enjoyed seeing Bran battle someone first hand.

All of these are just small issues and why it wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me.

Note:This can be read as a standalone novel. It is more enjoyable if you know who the older generation in and their story but it isn’t completely necessary.
Profile Image for Elena.
124 reviews995 followers
October 29, 2018
La elegancia con que Juliet Marillier teje sus historias vuelve a estar presente en el 2o volumen de su saga de Sieteaguas. Adoro el respeto que tiene por los detalles de la cultura y mitología celta y el folklore con que impregna esta serie. Es una auténtica delícia leerla (y se aprende mucho).
En este caso el relevo de la historia lo cogen los descendientes de los personajes del primer libro, haciendo que la trama poco a poco vaya volviéndose más compleja.
Algo que disfruto mucho en sus historias es el hecho de que nada es gratuito en ellas. Todo tiene consecuencias y circunstancias, hasta los personajes secundarios que sabes que están para cometer una función concreta en la trama tienen su historia (y hacer que te importe la muerte o desgracias de un secundario es difícil de conseguir).
Una de esas sagas que te atrapan desde la página uno y su magia no te suelta ni terminando el libro.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,221 reviews2,598 followers
December 29, 2017
*** 3.25 ***

A buddy read with my friends at FBR! Because we love Fantasy!!!

Another one of those books I should have been crazy about, but it some how missed the mark with me... And this time I know for sure it is me, because I just didn't connect with or liked the main character... Although at first glance Sorcha from the first book should have been very much like her daughter Liadan, the main POV here, I rooted for Sorcha and I had a deep connection with her, while Liadan was distant and judgmental, making it really hard to even like her, let alone develop any attachment to her... Liadan has a twin brother who is being raised to be the next Lord of Sevenwaters and with whom she has this deep mental connection and closeness. SHe also has an older sister, Niamh, who is not perfect, but not much different than any young woman in her teens battered by hormones, and the family, including Liadan, treat her and judge her very harshly, getting rid of her in a cold hearted way and washing their hands off of her, while for same types of indescretions and willfulness Liadan gets reproachful looks and reassurances that she could never disappoint them and they will love her no matter what... I expected better from Red and Sorcha as parents and from their offspring. However, I guess this is the whole point - none are perfect and all new generations have to solve some old wrongs and get new wrongs done to be dealt by the next generations...

"...“Your actions are your own. Your choices are your own. Each of us carries a burden of guilt for decisions made or not made. You can let that rule your whole life or you can put it behind you and move on. Only a madman lets jealousy determine the course of his existence. Only a weak man blames others for his own errors.” ..."

The setting for this series is based on the British Isles and Celtic Myth, with some vague allusions to Brit History. The family who rules in Sevenwaters is descendant from a human and one of the Old Ones, thus it has a deep connection with the mystical lure in the land and all that grows there. They have been responsible for bringing the Druid religion back and at times communicate with the Fae, thus magic always plays a role in what happens with them. With the Brits and Christianity becoming more and more prevalent and taking over sacred Isles, the magic traditions and existence are threatened and Sorcha and her family have become of interest to all players involved, being used as a tool on one side or the other. Liadan is the child that was born outside of the predicted pattern and is much freer in making choices for her future. SHe takes full advantage of that when she meets a mysterious mercenary and his gang, and her view of the future changes dramatically. This leaves people feeling betrayed, alliances broken and new patterns are being created, for good or ill.

"...“Don't you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it? Something that touches you with joy or with terror, that lifts you out of your safe, little path and onto a great, wild road whose ending nobody knows? Don't you ever long for that?” ..."

Be careful what you wish for...!

This book followed the general formula of the one which preceded it and that is not bad, I just missed all the emotional involvement I was amerced into with the first one. Liadan was only a pale imitation of Sorcha and only the cameo appearances of the uncles and the gang of mercenaries made up for that. I loved the big brutes with great hearts and I was enchanted by the lyrically magical presence of the uncle who has one arm and one Swan wing... The prose was beautiful as always, but the constant repetition of the belief that true love does not exist, but is an enchantment, a spell the woman casts on the man so he loves and wants to please her at all times, pisses me off!!! Once again! I am going to have to add a shelf for books which seem to make this an acceptable believe, and I just don't want to, since I want that to go away... Thank you for calling all women who have ever been loved witches, as in all times of human history!!! I am really going to have to accept that I am a witch and get over it, I guess:):):)

"...“The world is simple, I think, in its essence. Life, death, love, hate. Desire, fulfillment. Magic.” ..."

I am planing on reading on, since the storytelling is really engaging and once I start the books, I can't put them down. So, if you love Fantasy with Celtic Mythology and Romance, this is a series you should check and see if it works for you!

Now I wish you Happy Reading and may you always find what you Need in the pages of a Good Book!!!
Profile Image for nastya .
450 reviews290 followers
October 27, 2021
Ok, I can't finish this reread.
I loved the first book in the series and having read sequels in rapid succession, I think the energy of it helped me to enjoy parts of this one back then. This time, trying to read it more or less as a standalone, I must confess, I am so disappointed and bored.
This is a story of Liadan, the granddaughter of the forest, the lesser copy of her mother Sorcha, the special snowflake as every man of the novel keeps telling her.
Eamonn took my hand in his and touched it to his lips. “Your sister is indeed very beautiful,” he said, with a trace of a smile. “A man might well dream of such a woman. But it would be your face he wanted to see on his pillow when he woke.” I felt myself blushing crimson and was quite lost for words.

“As are you to judge a woman,” I said straightaway. “I need not know you, to recognize what you are,” he said bleakly. “Your kind are all the same....“For you, perhaps, I might make an exception,” he said grudgingly. “You are not so easily classified.”

She's a know-it-all domestic lady who loves to spend her time gardening and collecting healing herbs.
For me, there is enough excitement in helping to deliver a new lamb, or seeing small oaks grow strong in spring rains. In shooting an arrow straight to the mark, or curing a child of the croup. Why ask for more when what we have is so good?”

I kept a brave face, but under it I was petrified with fear. I, the girl who wanted nothing more than to stay at home and tend her herb patch; I, the girl who loved above all to exchange tales with her family of an evening after supper, instructing fierce strangers on how to hack off a dying man’s limb and cauterize the wound with hot iron.

And prying into other people's business and being judgmental towards her sister, Niamh. And I really hated their relationship this time.

She's a young woman, whose love interest is some guy with big anger issues. There's no building up of this relationship, but it's special, because Liadan knows it.
I sensed our fates were intertwined; we were closer than any mates or lovers or partners. This was a link that would transcend death, an unbreakable bond. This seemed ever clearer to me, a certainty that could not be questioned.

I just can't be bothered with fated mates trope.

There's no adventures, high stakes and horrors of the previous one, just a lot of domestic scenes. And it's so unnecessarily long and padded with countless stories told near the fire that I couldn't care about.

Also its kinda sad we stuck with Liadan and her fated boring beau when we had her sister’s intense forbidden love story in the background, who by the way was a completely different character to their mother's and would've been a great one to follow. But alas.

And the treatment of Niamh and her shame was so abhorrent, even worse when compared to treating her sister's bigger shame. I know they regretted it later, but still. Niamh was an outsider from the beginning for no reason.

I thought I loved Juliet Marillier, but after thinking about all of her books I've read, it turned out I only ever liked her two retellings - Daughter of the forest and Heart's blood. That's why I stopped reading her newer releases. For whatever reason magic of her writing is gone for me.

Still I have her two books I enjoy (please, Daughter of the forest, hold up on reread).
Profile Image for Carmo.
667 reviews472 followers
July 13, 2016
Nada melhor que pegar num livro e devorá-lo até ao fim como se não houvesse amanhã.
Nada de grandes filosofias, nada de duplos sentidos, nada de descrições monótonas ou escrita complicada. Nada aborrecido, tudo fantástico – e o que não é perdoa-se porque a história envolve e faz sonhar.
Sonhar com ambientes de magia, florestas encantadas, criaturas do além, druidas, feiticeiras, maldições e encantamentos, amores avassaladores capazes de derrubar qualquer contrariedade e triunfar.
A autora sabe o que faz, o livro prende desde a primeira página e vai ganhando ritmo até atingir velocidade de cruzeiro nos últimos capítulos. Sem demasiados exageros, mantendo um bom equilíbrio entre personagens boas/más, e sem extrapolar demasiado o sobrenatural -o mais importante acaba por ser a tenacidade das personagens, a força dos laços que os unem, e a confiança que depositam uns nos outros.
Bom para uma evasão deste mundo cruel, leva-nos de volta a um tempo em que acreditávamos que tudo era possível.
Profile Image for Littlebookworm.
235 reviews79 followers
June 18, 2022
Son of the Shadows continues the story of the family of Sevenwaters. Sorcha now has three grown children of her own and there has been peace at Sevenwaters for many years, however, that peace is soon under threat by old evils. With old secrets tearing the household apart, it falls to Liadan, Sorcha and Red's youngest daughter, to try to keep the family together, however, when she is taken by a bunch of outlaws, it seems her own path ahead will be far from simple itself.

I absolutely loved Marillier's Daughter of the Forest, so much so that to be honest I never expected that this sequel would be able to match the former, and perhaps that was just as well, as if I had, I think I would have found myself vastly disappointed with Son of the Shadows. My expectations having been lower from the off, however, I was able to enjoy this book for what it was.

I was glad that Marillier's style in itself was very much in the same vein as Daughter of the Forest, with lush descriptions and rich detail, and most especially that her love for stories in themselves shone just as much in this book. Like Sorcha before her, Liadan is a gifted story-teller and the power of story-telling is just as prominent here. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Liadan tells stories to the group of outlaws she encounters, and how they are all entranced. I also once again really enjoyed the setting and the time period in which the novel is set, and that mashing together of aspects of historical fiction with touches of fantasy, that are heavily inspired by Celtic lore.

We are reunited with many beloved characters from Daughter of the Forest, and it was interesting to see what had happened to all of Sorcha's brothers, whose fates had been left quite open at the end of the first novel. We also meet many new characters, and I think one of my criticisms of this book would be that the new characters just didn't resonate as strongly as the old.

Starting with Liadan as the heroine, I have to say that she paled in comparison to Sorcha. In some ways Marillier tries too hard to portray the similarities between the two characters, from the fact that they look identical, to the fact that they are both gifted healers and everyone calls Liadan her mother's daughter. However, where Sorcha burned a place in my heart for herself, Liadan often merely grated on my nerves. She wasn't really dutiful or gentle in the same way as Sorcha, though it kept being alluded that she was, and she was far more selfish and preachy, not to mention extremely judgmental. Nor did Marillier really manage to capture a special bond between the 3 siblings, as she did so wonderfully with Sorcha and her brothers. Whilst Liadan does clearly care for her sister Niamh and does help her, their relationship lacked the depth of feeling previously captured so well in the first book, and as for Sean, his and Liadan's telepathic bond seemed a cheap imitation of Sorcha and Finbar's mind to mind communication, albeit again without any of the depth of feeling.

The villain here was rather predicable and his motivations weak, and he didn't get under my skin in the same way as Richard of Northwoods for instance, or seem as dangerous as Lady Oonagh. I did like the bunch of outlaws as a whole and the part where Liadan was taken by the outlaws was probably the most engaging in the entire book and I enjoyed the dynamics. I did initially like Bran during this part of the book too, as well as his and Liadan's developing relationship. My issue was that said relationship then progressed too quickly. Furthermore, I didn't really like Bran's treatment of Liadan thereafter, and whilst I can appreciate that Marillier endeavoured to account for this with his backstory and how damaged he was by his childhood, he was rather too driven by bitterness for my liking. As for Liadan, given his treatment of her, I did sometimes find it strange how she was so devoted to him thereafter, putting him ahead of everyone else. Furthermore, once again their relationship lacked the depth of feeling that was there with Red and Sorcha. Certainly there was some passion captured between the two, however, I didn't necessarily believe them as star-crossed lovers destined to be together, and much preferred the slow-burn romance between Sorcha and Red from the first book.

Indeed the love between those two characters could still be felt in the book, where the most affecting scene was Sorcha's death, and I absolutely loved the throwback to Red re-telling the story he once told her about Toby and his mer-woman. I thought Marillier captured that scene beautifully and it really felt as if their love had come full circle.

Overall, however, it has to be said that Marillier does have her old characters make a fair few mistakes in this book, most particularly when it comes to Niamh. Whilst I could in part appreciate why they were so anxious to keep Ciaran's identity a secret, that didn't excuse their harsh treatment of Niamh and I found this particularly hard to believe of Red. Still despite not being perfectly painted, I still felt more connected to these older characters. I did actually think that Niamh and Ciaran's story was the more interesting one in comparison to Liadan and Bran's. Whilst I will await to see if more comes of Ciaran in the next book, I thought that Marillier may have missed a trick here in not putting more focus on these two.

I will finish the trilogy of the original Sevenwaters series at some point, whether I continue beyond that to the next trilogy I am as yet unsure. This was an engaging enough read, though it did feel rather long, with not much happening for stretches at a time and was let down for me by some of the characterisation. Certainly it in no way recaptured the magic and depth of feeling from the first book.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,158 reviews312 followers
April 25, 2017
An outstanding book that continues the story of the children of Sevenwaters, and another for my favourites shelf.

The story of Sevenwaters continues with the children of Sorcha and Red. Whatever idyllic start Sevenwaters gives its children, they certainly are expected to shoulder more than their fair share of trial and difficulty as they grow up.

Liadan demonstrates the same fortitude her mother displayed in Daughter of the Forest as she makes her way through a path of treachery and hurt in order to protect what she loves. The path she walks is only part of the story, however, and the road ahead remains filled with uncertainty and danger.

This book fulfilled every expectation I had, delivering an amazing and richly imagined tale told with Marillier's trademark excellence and style.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,478 reviews1,895 followers
August 20, 2021
This series has lived in my heart for twenty years so is there really any surprise this is five stars? Even though it's a reread and there was nothing new to experience or learn, knowing the course of this story didn't mean I cried any less. And I cried a lot.

"Don't you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?"

DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST told of Sorcha's story and SON OF THE SHADOWS reunites us with this family and a new generation of characters; ones to love, ones who break your heart, and ones to hate. Liadan knows the horrors her family has endured for peace, for happiness. She wants no more than to stay home, unmarried, and care for her parents, tend to the household. She is much like her mother in stature, in the arts of the stillroom and healing, but though Sorcha had her own bravery, her own strength, Liadan, when forced to rise to challenges she never imagined, is even stronger, fiercer, so much in possession of her mind that she will not be swayed by the forces around her; be they old and ancient, fey, wise, or family.

The greatest tales, well told, awaken the fears and longings of the listeners. Each man hears a different story. Each is touched by it according to his inner self. The words go to the ear, but the true message travels straight to the spirit.

Secrets and betrayal begin to fester amongst a family that cannot risk being left vulnerable to unfriendly forces, to the darkness that nearly overcame them once before. Mistakes are made, truth obfuscated, and thus Liadan is forced to navigate, to unveil, and to rescue her family, her love, and her future.

"You captured a wild creature when you had no place you could keep him."

An interesting twist to this particular instalment, however, is how we see the unintended consequences of the previous book's happily ever after. So often we get that ending, everything is great, and life goes on. But reality is never so tidy and events can be twisted and a person can be left hurting. Not in the way you might think, though. And I really loved how Marillier made this connection and created a way to go back without undoing any of the hard-earned events of book one.

"What about his mother? What did she have to say about it?"
"She was a woman. The tale does not concern itself further with her."

For a story written so long ago, what surprised me was how, sometimes, Marillier's narrative or dialogue was almost wry in how she, and her characters, navigated the inequalities and double standards of gender. Nothing so overt the way we have these days, where the goal is to make a point, but there are subtle digs, bits of dialogue, observations. So much is careful, considerate, and also very purposeful. Which is probably why so much of this book, this series, is devastating. Because there is so much imbued, so much that resonates, and it comes through.

Much like with book one, I have never tried to review this, and once again I know I haven't done this book any justice at all. It's impossible to express my love for this book because it's honestly so deeply embedded in my soul. I read this as a young human and it's been with me, and I've relived it, over and over throughout the years, and we are irrevocably entwined. Some books you lose the love for other the years, as your taste or perspective or style as a reader changes. This book, this series, isn't one of those.

(yes, I did steal most of those last paragraph from my review of DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST, and yes, I am calling myself out for it)

"Come, dear heart. Lean on me and let us walk this path together."

Lastly, I just want to give a huge shoutout to the Sevenwaters Squad with whom I spent a very fun -- but emotionally draining -- weekend buddy reading this book. Most had never experienced this before, having come only recently to this series, and while I loved having the excuse to revisit, I loved living through it with their eyes, too. Can't wait for book three, and the rest of the series, with you all!


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Allison.
554 reviews575 followers
February 18, 2017
Son of the Shadows continues the story of the Sevenwaters family, focusing on the next generation - Sorcha’s children. (It is not an overt fairy tale retelling like the first book was.) I waited a long time to read this after reading Daughter of the Forest because although the writing was beautiful and it was very well done, the overwhelming feelings that stuck with me were sadness and pain. So I wasn’t exactly eager to dive into this sequel even though reviews said it was very different. Mostly convinced, I bought the book and then let it languish on my TBR list. Now I wish I’d gotten to it sooner.

This book does have its sadness and is haunting in parts, but it’s not the whole story. There’s more that happens in this book than in the first, where Sorcha spent a lot of time sitting around, busy and silent with her grueling task. I really liked that the main character, Liadan, didn’t just take what the gods told her she had to do but determined that for herself. Sorcha suffered so much because the goddess told her to. Liadan is much more in charge of herself. She’s one of those ‘strong females’ that really is strong. She follows her instincts and stands firm when she believes she has to stand alone. She isn’t just tough and stubborn, though. She’s compassionate and loves with abandon. Her love story is both wonderful and full of heartache.

I'm really interested to see how the prophecy plays out with Liaden's choices - has she derailed everything, or was this what was supposed to happen all along?

This is one of those books that I couldn’t stop reading. That actually happens rarely, and I was so surprised that this ended up being one of those books! I lost sleep over it, couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to stop for work, and I really didn’t want it to end even while I was racing through it. Now that I've finished, I’m upset that the next book will move to another generation so I won’t get to be with these characters in the same way again. But I don’t think I’ll be waiting as long to pick up the next book.

I do have to say that the ending itself was a bit anticlimactic. I was expecting something a bit more momentous and final, and less - psychological, I suppose. But still the overall reading experience completely grabbed me. I don’t know if it will do the same for others, but I loved this book. It had a depth and range of emotion that I found gripping. It’s always hard for me to explain this gut reaction that I have to a book when I love it. It’s so completely subjective and emotional. How do you begin to explain it rationally? I feel bereft now that I've finished, and can’t quite bring myself to start something new yet.

The complete inability to stop reading until the end, that need for a pause between books, when I feel that silence needs to be kept just for a day before moving on, and the way that I still miss the characters after they've moved beyond the pages - that's what makes this a 5 star book for me.
Profile Image for Kay.
197 reviews374 followers
December 12, 2011
I devoured this book. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop, and I finished the book in about fifteen hours with breaks in between. It made me wonder why it took me so long to read this second installment to the Sevenwaters series, though the answer came to me pretty quickly as I was reading. To explain why this is, I have to start off with my experience with the first book.

The first book, Daughter of the Forest, was an emotional journey. It was a tale about family, sacrifice, suffering, violence, and strength. It was about pushing the very limits of endurance, almost to the breaking point, until when all I wanted was to hold my hands up in defeat for Sorcha and ask wearily for the easy way out, even knowing that the alternative was to lose everything. But even for all that, the tale was beautiful, magical, and romantic. The book affected me deeply and twisted my emotions so that I needed some breathing time to unwind before diving headfirst into another Sevenwaters book.

Only recently did I buck up and decide that it was time to pick up the second installment. I was expecting more epic feats of human endurance, something that would twist and overturn my heart. I was, perhaps misguidedly, expecting another Daughter of the Forest.

But it was not to be.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed Son of the Shadows. It was very well written, and the plot was interesting. It was a strong follow-up to the first, and I was more than pleasantly surprised at the paths it took.

However, if the first book is the ocean during a torrential storm, this book is more like a calm lake during an autumn drizzle. Liadan, the main character, is the model protagonist. Perfect, but not to the point of being annoying. She is the heart of Sevenwaters, repeated several times verbatim in the book. She is strong, loyal, fair-minded, and wise beyond her years. She’s a character that doesn’t require much development because she’s already very developed from the beginning. Bran, Liadan's foil, is similar. He is a haunted man, but aside from his past, you can tell he’s an otherwise perfect male lead. He’s someone who clearly requires the healing skills of Liadan to mend that gaping gap of “imperfect” before he can become a worthy companion to Liadan. It was fun reading about the two because, despite their difficulties, I already knew in the back of my mind, that they would come through somehow. I suspect this is why I got through this book so quickly.

Also, it was easier for me to orient myself emotionally in this novel. One of the main themes was authority. Women were much more susceptible to the whims of men, both in politics and the family unit. So were young children victim to the whims of adults. While this is a fair issue to explore, it was a constricting setup and somewhat at odds with the other theme of “deciding one’s own destiny.” Liadan’s birth, after all, was not foreseen, and thus she is an anomaly, someone who can change things, whatever that means. But the constant mention and examples of women being subject to the desires of men became obvious very fast. In short, authority = bad (most of the time); finding one's own path = good.

The romance was also pretty direct. The attraction between Liadan and Bran is prevalent as soon as they meet gazes. They were much more physical than Sorcha and Red, which was a refreshing change, but they also faced less hardships. The depth of emotion between the two, while strong, did not reach the shadowy depths of Sorcha’s and Red’s. I still enjoyed reading about Liadan and Bran, though their relationship was not as memorable as their predecessors’.

In sum, this book lacked the subtlety and depth of the first, but considering all other factors, it was still a very good story. The writing is strong, the characters are strong (albeit a little too perfect or a little too flawed), and the story itself is strong. I found that this book read more like a historical romance novel but with more spirit, less bodice ripping, and much more of a gripping storyline. Some of the reveals towards the end of the book, especially Niamh’s and Ciaran’s, are definitely WTF-worthy.

Overall, a SOLID 4 STARS.

Definitely buying the third book asap.
Profile Image for Sofia Teixeira.
594 reviews134 followers
August 24, 2017
O Filho das Sombras é das melhores obras que já li. Tem todos os ingredientes para deliciar qualquer leitor, seja ele amante do género ou não.

Na obra anterior, 'A Filha da Floresta', fomos apresentados à magia de Sevenwaters, às suas gentes e à força que essa linhagem transporta com eles. E agora, quando pensávamos que o mal tinha sido derrotado na demanda de Sorcha, começam a surgir sinais que as teias de Lady Oonagh continuam a ser tecidas e uma nova força e união tem que surgir entre o povo de Sevenwaters.

Liadan, filha de Sorcha, é uma personagem de um carácter incrível, cheia de força e determinada a fazer o que acha certo e não o que lhe mandam fazer. Como o seu nascimento não estava previsto, é-lhe dito pelo seu tio, Conor, que ela pode vir a mudar o curso dos acontecimentos e a fazer a diferença.

Rapidamente o mundo de Liadan é virado de pernas para o ar, quando a caminho de casa é capturada pelo bando do Homem Pintado sem que este tenha conhecimento. Quando finalmente se cruzam, uma estranha dinâmica se forma entre eles e Liadan dá-lhe o nome de Bran, devido à forma como o seu corpo está tatuado em forma de corvo.

Contra tudo o que estava previsto, uma ligação mais forte que a vida ou a morte surge entre os dois, mas como pode o Homem Pintado, um fora da lei, amar alguém quando vive constantemente em guerras contra os senhores de Sevenwaters? Ainda mais confuso fica quando o irmão de Liadan, Sean, aborda o Homem Pintado para trabalhar para ele.

Juliet Marillier consegue conquistar-nos de vez com este segundo volume da trilogia. A autora tem uma escrita mágica, que nos envolve e nos prende não dando margem a que algo nos passe ao lado. Sorrimos com as personagens, sofremos e choramos com elas e só esperamos que as coisas acabem bem, embora nem sempre assim seja. Muito muito bom!
Profile Image for Sotiris Karaiskos.
1,178 reviews89 followers
April 3, 2018
In the second part of the series we put aside the fairy tale so that we can plunge into the harsh reality of the historical period and of the area where our history is placed. The area of Sevenwaters seems to be quiet, even idyllic, under the surface, however, there is the same situation as the wider area, plagued by constant disputes, dominated by powerful warlords with the position of women being difficult as they become pawns in the various alliances that are created, without having any part in the decisions that affect them. In this climate, the new generation tries to create the right conditions and alliances for a final counter-attack that will forever drive the invaders out and create the conditions for peace and prosperity. At the same time, however, it is a generation that wants to enjoy the love and taste it with all the passion that characterizes their war spirit. Warrior's plans, however, are usually devastating and at the same time love can generate hope but at the same time complicate things much more. There are, of course, the supernatural powers, the old gods of the forest, but all they do is give unclear prophecies and commands without giving much explanation.

In other words, the author continues with the same recipe as the first book, giving us an adventurous story - not based on action - full of romance, with a beautiful writing full of emotion. What is changed is that through the pages of this book we are immersed even more in Irish culture and we know some of the stories that are very dear to the whole island. I can say that I liked this continuity of the series but I felt that the same romantic story with that I read in the first part was repeated without having the same emotional effect on me. There is, however, a lot of interest in other areas, such the description of the political reality of the time, with the alliances and treacheries that characterized it and the ambitious leaders, giving the book more value as a historical novel. So in the end I can say that this is definitely an exciting novel that offers us the same brave dose of romance and emotion, but I think it is inferior to the first book of the series so I must rate it a little lower.

Στο δεύτερο μέρος της σειράς αφήνουμε στην άκρη το παραμύθι για να βυθιστούμε περισσότερο στη σκληρή πραγματικότητα της ιστορικής περιόδου και της περιοχής που διαδραματίζεται Η ιστορία μας. Η περιοχή του Sevenwaters μοιάζει να είναι ήσυχη, ακόμα και ειδυλλιακή, κάτω από την επιφάνεια, όμως, υπάρχει η ίδια κατάσταση με την ευρύτερη περιοχή, που μαστίζεται από συνεχείς διαμάχες, κυριαρχείται από ισχυρούς άντρες πολέμαρχους με τη θέση των γυναικών είναι δύσκολη καθώς γίνονται πιόνια στις διάφορες συμμαχίες που δημιουργούνται, χωρίς να έχουν ιδιαίτερο λόγο στις αποφάσεις που τις επηρεάζουν. Σε αυτό το κλίμα η νέα γενιά προσπαθεί να δημιουργήσει τις κατάλληλες συνθήκες και τις συμμαχίες για μία τελική αντεπίθεση που θα διώξει για πάντα τους εισβολείς και θα δημιουργήσει τις συνθήκες για ειρήνη και ευημερία. Παράλληλα, όμως, είναι μία γενιά που θέλει να χαρεί και τον έρωτα και να τον γευτεί με όλο το πάθος που χαρακτηρίζει και το πολεμικό τους πνεύμα. Τα σχέδια των πολεμιστών, όμως, συνήθως εξελίσσονται καταστροφικά την ώρα που ο έρωτας μπορεί να γεννά την ελπίδα αλλά παράλληλα περιπλέκει πολύ περισσότερο τα πράγματα. Υπάρχουν βέβαια και οι υπερφυσικές δυνάμεις, οι παλιοί Θεοί του δάσους αλλά αυτοί το μόνο που κάνουν είναι να δίνουν ασαφείς προφητείες και εντολές χωρίς να δίνουν πολλές εξηγήσεις.

Με άλλα λόγια η συγγραφέας συνεχίζει με την ίδια συνταγή με το πρώτο βιβλίο δείχνοντάς μας μία ιστορία περιπετειώδης - που δεν βασίζεται καθόλου στη δράση - γεμάτη ρομαντισμό, με μία όμορφη γραφή γεμάτη συναίσθημα. Αυτό που αλλάζει είναι ότι μέσα από τις σελίδες αυτού του βιβλίου βυθιζόμαστε ακόμα περισσότερο στον ιρλανδικό πολιτισμό και γνωρίζουμε μερικές από τις ιστορίες που είναι πολύ αγαπητές σε ολόκληρο το νησί. Μπορώ να πω ότι μου άρεσε αυτή η συνέχεια αλλά ένιωσα ότι η επαναλαμβάνεται η ίδια ρομαντική ιστορία με αυτήν διάβασα στο πρώτο μέρος, χωρίς να υπάρχει η ίδια συναισθηματική επίδραση πάνω μου. Υπάρχει, όμως, αρκετό ενδιαφέρον σε άλλους τομείς όπως στην περιγραφή της πολιτικής πραγματικότητας της εποχής, με τις συμμαχίες και τις προδοσίες που τη χαρακτήριζαν και τους φιλόδοξους αρχηγούς δίνοντας έτσι στο βιβλίο μεγαλύτερη αξία ως ιστορικό μυθιστόρημα. Οπότε στο τέλος μπορώ να πω ότι σίγουρα πρόκειται για ένα συναρπαστικό μυθιστόρημα που μας προσφέρει την ίδια γενναία δόση ρομαντισμού και συναισθήματος, πιστεύω, όμως, ότι είναι αρκετά υποδεέστερο από το πρώτο βιβλίο της σειράς ώστε να το βαθμολογήσω λίγο χαμηλότερα.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,075 reviews2,636 followers
April 12, 2015
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/01/30/b...

Son of the Shadows may be the second book of the Sevenwaters series, but it is not a direct sequel. Instead, the story follows the youngest daughter of Sorcha, the brave young woman in Daughter of the Forest who was set upon a quest to save her six older brothers from a terrible curse – and succeeded. Liadan proves to be just as resourceful as her mother when she is abducted by outlaws on the road, managing to maneuver her way out of the dilemma by offering her healing services to an injured member of the group. This is also how she meets the Painted Man, the leader of the band known to be a cold and heartless killer.

Despite it not being a direct sequel, it is still perhaps necessary to read Daughter of the Forest first before tackling Son of the Shadows. Threads from the first book’s story carry over to this one, and if you aren’t familiar with them it is easy to become confused or lost. In fact, as someone who jumped into this book right after reading the first one, I still feel like I’m missing something. The meddling Fae are back, reminding us that there is still a prophecy to be fulfilled and a darkness to vanquish. Sorcha may have set Sevenwaters on the right path, but it is up to Liadan to take up the mantle now and continue what her mother started. However, nothing really develops in the grander scheme of things; we don’t get to see the great evil rear its ugly head even once in this novel, and I’m not sure if the Fair Folk’s prophecy progresses that much at all.

For all that, Son of the Shadows was an enjoyable read, almost as much as Daughter of the Forest. It does lack a bit of the cohesion I found in the first book, which had a clear direction given how it was a very faithful retelling of a well-known fairy tale. Marillier plays around more with her characters and plot with this one, having freer reign to do as she pleases with the story. For one thing, the romance here is much heavier and more in the forefront. Liadan and the Painted Man fall swiftly for each other, whereas Sorcha’s relationship in the previous book was a much slower burn. The love story elements are more overt and in your face this time around and doesn’t come across as naturally, but it’s still very deep and full of passion.

Still, it’s an excellent follow up and a worthy addition to the saga of Sevenwaters, which looks to have more in store. It’s clear now that there’s a lot more to the narrative, and the effects aren’t going to be limited to just a few characters. Instead, multiple generations in the same bloodline will be touched forever. Son of the Shadows is different from the first book, but in a good way. And it doesn’t stray too far from the overall themes that I’ve come to appreciate about this series, mainly the fairy tale and mythological undertones to the setting and story. And of course, Marillier’s writing is beautiful as always.

This book is put together slightly less elegantly and doesn’t tread as lightly as its predecessor, but I still loved it.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.6k followers
June 21, 2010
Son of the Shadows is a worthy follow-up to Marillier's Daughter of the Forest. While I had some reservations about reading this book (mainly because it took me forever to finish the 1st book), the sequel turned out to be a much quicker read.

The narrator of this book is Sorcha's younger daughter - Liadan. Up till her 16th year, the life has been good to the family, but suddenly things are starting to change for the worse - Sorcha is sick and has months to live; a dangerous outlaw called the Painted Man is close-by and threatens to unsettle Sevenwaters' alliances; Niamh, Liadan's beautiful older sister, is caught having an affair with a wrong-wrong man. Liadan's adventure begins when she is kidnapped by the mysterious Painted Man in route to deliver Niamh to her new (quickly arranged) husband to cover up her sins. Inexplicably, Liadan falls in love with the infamous Painted Man and her life gets even more complicated - the Fair Folk, the family loyalties, the prophecy, and her heart are pulling her in different directions and it seems almost impossible for Liadan to hold on to everything that is dear to her.

Son of the Shadows is a beautifully written novel, even though it spoke to me less than its predecessor. If Daughter of the Forest is an epic tale of sacrifice and courage, this sequel is more of a historical romance, only it is a million times better than an average historical bodice-ripper - with complex and compelling characters, wonderful Irish lore, and beautiful scenes of love, bravery, loyalty, and death.

Just like Sorcha, Liadan is a strong and admirable heroine. In many ways she is very similar to her mother - she is smart, loyal, courageous, and yet more outspoken and more proactive. Her love interest, Bran, is a great characters too. Aside from his unorthodox looks, he is a deeply wounded man with a shadow past and many aches which only Liadan can heal. The couple's story is very touching and intense.

The book explores deeper the Prophecy mentioned in Daughter of the Forest. Who is this person who will save Erin, is still not clear, but I am definitely eager to find out and therefore will read Child of the Prophecy.
Profile Image for Pauline.
284 reviews20 followers
September 22, 2008
"Son of the Shadows" is the second book in Juliet Marilee’s Sevenwaters Trilogy. It continues the story by leaping ahead a number of years, with Sorcha's daughter being the main character of the story.

I loved the first book "Daughter of the Forest", and was looking forward to being captured by this second book. Unfortunately I was not captured. The second book takes a different approach to story telling compared to the first book. The first book was based on one of the Grimm brothers' tales, but the second book caries on with the Sevenwaters family.

Sorcha is old and she and Red have three children consisting of a boy named Sean and a girl named Liandan who are twins, and share a mind link like Sorcha and Finbar did in the first book, and Sorcha and Red have an older daughter named Niamh, who is beautiful and who lives life for the moment.

The story circles around Liandan who has a great number of gifts, she is able to touch peoples' minds and comfort them, she is a healer like her mother, she is gifted and the fairy folk are watching her.

Liandan falls in love with a painted man who is known as an assassin and whose skill is renowned. The painted man is not unscarred, but has a long history from childhood of tragic events that created him and he is afraid of the dark. Liandan bares his child and she swears to love no other, but the painted man.

The story consists of a number of themes. One that I found overwhelming was the way the men had control of the female’s lives and how the men basically mucked everything up by being control freaks. Liandan is able to voice more independence than the other females in the book, but her life is still focused mostly on fixing problems that the men have caused. The book seems to be crying out that women need to be free to make their own choices and free from the prejudices and double standards that men have for themselves and for women.

I was looking for a fairy tale and I got a book that seems to be pointing out the problems of men controlling affairs, but the women fall in love with them anyways, so everything is okay as long as you have lust and love, but it is hard to tell the difference between the two, especially in this book which has many lustful scenes.

I felt the book was divided in which way it should tell the story. To totally degenerate all men as being controlling and wrong or to tell a story about magic and love, the book could not make up its mind and so it was unsatisfying.

“Son of the Shadows” is an in-depth book and written with skill, but with conflicts of message. It does not live up to its predecessor, and it focuses more on lustful scenes and men controlling the affairs then on a fantasy tale as the first did.
Profile Image for Heidi.
771 reviews178 followers
June 26, 2017
Son of the Shadows is the second book in Juliet Marillier’s captivating Sevenwaters series. If you had told me several months ago that any book would measure up to the immediate love I felt for Daughter of the Forest I wouldn’t have believed it. Son of the Shadows was probably a great book, sure, but just as good? Really? I wouldn’t believe it. Until I read it and I had no choice but to face facts: Son of the Shadows is every bit the masterpiece that Daughter of the Forest was. Rather than attempting to capture the same air and emotions, Son of the Shadows managed to grab my heart in ways that Daughter of the Forest had not. Where there had been delayed gratification, now there was a consistent struggle of mind and body, where there had been trust and a definite purpose, now there was uncertainty and defiance. And yet, both books contained a steadfast hope that warms my heart to think on, and a breathtaking romance that I will forever adore.

Liadan, the daughter of Sorcha and Red, combines her parents’ best qualities to create a stalwart heroine that is not to be trifled with. She has her father’s strength and patience coupled with her mother’s (and uncle Finbar’s) talent for healing the mind and body. She is exactly the combination the Fair Folk have been hoping for, only her choices prove her characteristics have manifested in ways most unpleasing to what those who shepherd prophecy would prefer. There are times when she despairs that she is only another powerless woman in a world full of unthinking men, and yet she refuses to give in. I love Liadan for her unapologetic strength and desire to earn what she wants from life–not take what life others would give to her.

Son of the Shadows reveals an old shadow over Sevenwaters, one we only now begin to see was there long before the Lady Oonagh worked her evil magic in Daughter of the Forest. Here we are able to see how this family was not ripped apart one generation prior, it has been slowly fraying for generations past. The family of Sevenwaters love one another deeply, but despite their love they struggle for trust in one another. Trying to shield those you love can hurt them as much as it could help, and simple actions have dire consequences beyond your imagining. While the idea of a truth that cannot be spoken was quite literal in Daughter of the Forest, the theme is retained with a much more sinister air in Son of the Shadows. It is one thing to be unable to speak, and another entirely to choose not to. Son of the Shadows is as good example as any that life isn’t as simple as it is in the tales.

I can hardly discuss my love for Son of the Shadows without discussing the romance. If you like your mystery, feel free to skip ahead, but I feel this is the driving force behind the entire book, and thus cannot go unmentioned. Friends, I loved Bran. The Painted Man who is both terror and hope, who has suffered to the point that he no longer recognizes suffering, he only sees it as his place in the world. Liadan’s love for him comes about unexpectedly, for he is a hard man to love. A man with no past, no future, and a present only in the harsh moments he chooses as his due.

“You don’t have to do this alone you know.”

Brighid help me. I was suddenly overtaken by the most profound sadness. Arrogance, scorn, indifference I could deal with. Quiet competence was just fine. Arguing with him was almost enjoyable. It was the unexpected words of kindness that threatened to shatter me in pieces.

Liadan is for Bran the balance that no other person could provide. When most of us would be shaking him and calling him an idiot for not seeing what is right before his eyes, Liadan is patient and careful as one is with an injured animal, which is sort of what Bran is. Also, I have to mention, I love that in both Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows there is a seemingly nameless character that is given a name by the one destined to love them.

Once again I was drawn to love the family of Sevenwaters, Liadan and her siblings, but the highlight of this book for me was Bran’s tribe of Painted Men. The outcasts of every land with no past and no stories of their own who look only to take care of one another and guard those they may call friend if only they are given the chance. As it is clear that the children of Sevenwaters know only one way to love–deeply, it is clear in both the light and shadows of this story that they are not the only ones.

Son of the Shadows is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books I have ever read. There are pages I have already read enough times to have lost track, and I know I must obtain a copy of my own as soon as possible so as not to incur massive library fines. If you’ve been wondering if you can go on after taking in the beauty of Daughter of the Forest, take this as my assurance that you can–it will be worth it.
Profile Image for steph.
228 reviews
July 9, 2017
In three words: heartfelt, dreamy, powerful.

"'There's no point in feeling guilty, or worrying about what may come. Put one foot before the other, and follow your path. That's all we can do.'"

When I love the first book of a series, I sometimes worry about whether I'll like the second one as much; we're all familiar with 'second-book syndrome' and it's always a bit disappointing when a sequel ends up falling short of expectations. However, I can safely say that Marillier absolutely delivers with this second book in the Sevenwaters trilogy - I loved it even more than Daughter of the Forest!

Son of the Shadows follows on some years after the end of book one, and it was so delightful to meet some new characters as well as hear from the ones I fell in love with in the first book. While I did love the new characters introduced here, I think my heart was slightly more taken with those in Daughter of the Forest. However, Marillier excels in writing heartfelt romance and she hit me right in the feels with this book. The slow burn of the romance was masterfully done, and a big plus for me was that this book was more action-packed than the first; I instantly felt swept up in the story. Marillier has such an effortless way of writing fantasy - it's truly storytelling of the purest, most powerful form.

Recommended for: people wishing to read an utterly captivating second book in a fantasy series that I'm sure will become a firm favourite of mine. For excellent writing, characters and plot, I'd highly recommend reading Daughter of the Forest and then Son of the Shadows!

Review also posted here.
Profile Image for Christine Spoors.
Author 1 book446 followers
June 21, 2017
Last year I read Daughter of the Forest, the first book in this series, and absolutely loved it. So I went into this book with very high hopes. Luckily, this book did not disappoint and I still absolutely adore the way Marillier weaves Irish / Celtic folklore into a historical setting (10th century Ireland).

It was really great to read about Liadan and learn what happened at the Sevenwaters after the first book. The mix of old and new characters worked really well and the character development was great. I enjoyed reading from Liadan's POV however at times she was quite judgemental of others which was a little frustrating to read. I now can't wait to read the third book to see who will tell the next part of the story.

As these books are adult they feature some difficult topics so I will say trigger warning for mentions of domestic violence. Marillier's books always make me cry as she doesn't shy away from putting the characters into difficult situations. She writes their struggles so well and really makes the reader feel what they feel.

I love, love, love the world-building in these books. I love that it's set in 10th century Ireland. The Irish folklore is woven into the story so perfectly, it makes me so happy. As with the first book, much is set inside the forest at Sevenwaters and she writes each landscape so well. I really like the way she writes the druids and subtly mentions the conflict between the old ways and Christianity at that time. Every time a character mentioned Alba (which is Gaelic for Scotland) I was so pleased!

One thing I really loved was

I enjoyed this book, but I found that the ending dragged a little. I don't know if I am just used to books which end quite abruptly after the main event, but I found myself eager for the book to end and to be done with their story. This book, more so than Daughter of the Forest, left me thinking about all of the loose ends so I can't wait to pick up the 3rd book.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books705 followers
March 31, 2020
I think I enjoyed this second book in the Sevenwaters series more than the first. It had the same great feel and immersive worldbuilding, but the romance thread was stronger and I was here for that.

The blurb made me think this was another book about Sorcha and Red, but it's not. This book centers on her daughter, Liadan. Like her mother, Liadan is a healer and herbalist, and those skills made her the target of mercenaries who needed help to save one of their injured friends. It was in their custody, she met Bran, their leader. Bran is a wounded hero with a hard shell. He became a criminal for hire in the wake of a tragic childhood. And he wants no ties, save for his men.

Liadan doesn't want to fall for him any more than he wants to fall for her, but you know how these things go. I liked the development of the romance, since it's one of my favorite tropes.

That being said, as much as I enjoyed it overall, the book wasn't perfect. Like it's predecessor, I found the heroine too young for my taste. A sixteen year-old isn't a woman and I had a hard time putting her age aside. I also didn't like her sister, who was supposed to be sympathetic... I think? When bad things happened to her, I was still kind of focused on what a brat she was. And I felt the reveal on why she couldn't be with her lover was kind of anticlimactic. (Dude, I remembered his name from the first book.)

I was also kind of bummed out that the author killed off a bunch of characters from book 1. These people were in their 30s for crying out loud, and I cared about them. And they were dropping like flies.

Still, I read the whole thing in less than a day and I'm about 30 seconds away from downloading book 3 from the library, so that should tell you something. Juliet Marillier pulls me into her books and I'm in no hurry to pull myself out.
Profile Image for Malum.
2,298 reviews131 followers
November 21, 2018
2 1/2 stars.

After absolutely loving Sevenwaters part 1, I was really disappointed that this book turned out to be an unnecessary sequel that truly pales in comparison to the first book.

The main problem is that Marillier simply rehashes many of the main plot points from the first book: We have a young girl whose skill in healing brings her to the attention of an enemy of her people. After spending time with this person, she falls in love with him and comes to realize that her people's enemy aren't savage barbarians after all. Since they are from warring factions, however, they have a heck of a time trying to be together.

This description is equally true for book 1 and 2. Marillier simply took the skeleton of the first book and rewrote it.

The second problem is that, where book 1 was a book about magic with a little romance, book 2 is all romance with a little magic. Witches, gods, shapeshifters, and curses take a back seat in this volume so that we can spend hundreds of pages watching a girl fawn over an emotionally distant tattoo enthusiast. Now, I have no problem with romance, but I feel like Marillier completely changed the focus of this series and that is a bit disingenuous.

Luckily, the volumes in this series are only distantly related, with each volume following around the next generation, so I don't feel the need to rush into volume 3 like I did with volume 2.

Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews1,012 followers
December 31, 2011
Since I reviewed Daughter of the Forest a few weeks back, it seemed only right to close the year out with the sequel. Just another one of those perfect books I read before I started reviewing books and then sort of shied away from reviewing because it's well nigh impossible to do justice to a book you have all the feelings for, you know? It also happens that this is not only one of my very favorite books of all time but one of my favorite winter reads, as the night of Midwinter's Eve plays rather a large role in the story. SON OF THE SHADOWS is one of those unexpected wonders and another example of how to absolutely kill it with a sequel. If you asked me if it was possible for Juliet Marillier to write a sequel as good as the first book, I would have immediately laughed out loud and uttered a resounding no. I truly didn't believe it was possible to follow Daughter of the Forest with anything that would even remotely measure up. Well, I was never happier in my life to eat my words. Because SON OF THE SHADOWS blew me out of the water. I finished it ready to say that it was not only as good as but better than its predecessor. I'm pretty sure I still think it is. It's hard because they're both stunning, and while Liadan is different from her mother Sorcha in many ways, she shares the strength and determination and goodness that made me fall in love with her mother. I love them both unreservedly, as I do both of these dear, dear books. If you haven't read this one, perhaps this winter is the perfect time to sink back into the world and family of Sevenwaters once more.
My mother knew every tale that was ever told by the firesides of Erin, and more besides. Folks stood hushed around the hearth to hear her tell them after a long day's work, and marveled at the bright tapestries she wove with her words. She related the many adventures of Cu Chulainn the hero, and she told of Fionn mac Cumhaill, who was a great warrior and cunning with it. In some households, such tales were reserved for men alone. But not in ours, for my mother made a magic with her words that drew all under its spell. She told tales that had the household in stitches with laughter, and tales that made strong men grow quiet. But there was one tale she would never tell, and that was her own.

Liadan has grown up surrounded by the love of her family and the peace and safety of the forest of Sevenwaters. The younger daughter of the beloved Sorcha--the young woman who sacrificed everything for her brothers and won them back from the clutches of the powerful sorceress Lady Oonagh--Liadan has tried to emulate her mother in every way. A talented healer, she spends her days making salves and medicines and taking care of the people of the keep. She is also a twin, an unexpected third child to her parents. And because she was unforeseen, her mother feels certain Liadan's path will be her own, that she is outside the pattern, and that her choices may have the power to change things for good or for ill. But Liadan has no idea just how outside the pattern her path will take her, until she is abducted on the road while on a journey to visit her sister. Taken by the band of the Painted Man, she is forced to offer her services as a healer or pay the price of failure with her life. From the tales whispered around firesides at home, Liadan knows the kind of ruthless killer the Painted Man is. And so she is determined to use her skills to save the man in question, and then return home to her family as soon as is humanly possible. But just as the Fair Folk took an interest in her mother's fate, an even deeper magic is at work in Liadan's. And though the outlook is bleak, and the people around her may not be entirely what they seem, the light of hope still burns as does Liadan's formidable will to survive.

To say that SON OF THE SHADOWS holds a special place in my heart is a bit of an understatement. Okay, it's a massive, massive understatement. I love it when an author shows you just how much she has in her arsenal by exceeding every expectation you had and then some. Where Daughter of the Forest was a retelling of a fairy tale, this one is all her own, and the places she takes it are incredible. I think about these characters on a regular basis, they've become so much a part of my consciousness. I fell in love with Liadan first, because she refused to give up on on those she loved. When she was backed into a corner, she pushed back with everything she had. Like her uncle Finbar, she wants more than the rules of her world will allow. And when she comes up against those constraints, she devises ways of holding onto those she has called hers. There is much of darkness in this book. Each character is forced to deal with the pain of their past and the shortcomings of their present. Some of them succumb to their faults and some rise above. But what I love best of all is the ways in which they reach out to each other, across the barriers of time, gender, race, and space. Across even the margins between this world and the next. As with its predecessor, the love story is second to none. I think I fell even harder for these two for how hard they had to work to keep their happiness. Amid the harshness and the violence surrounding them, their bond was doubly precious for its ability to outlast adversity and to mend that which is broken. Here is one of the passages closest to my heart. It comes early on and it just encapsulates Liadan (and the lovely writing):
I sat there and made my breathing slow and calm, and told myself what I had told others many a time: Breathe, Liadan, the pain will pass. The night was very quiet; the darkness a living thing, creeping in around the two of us. I felt how tight strung his body was; I sensed his terror, and how he fought to conquer it. I could not hope to touch his mind, nor did I wish to see more of the dark images it held. But I could still speak, and it seemed to me words were the only tool I had for keeping out the dark.

"Dawn will come," I told him quietly. "The night can be very dark, but I'll stay with you until the sun rises. These shadows cannot touch you while I am here. Soon we'll see the first hint of gray in the sky, the color of a pigeon's coat, then the smallest touch of the sun's finger, and one bird will be bold enough to wake first and sing of tall trees and open skies and freedom. Then all will brighten and color will wash across the earth, and it will be a new day. I will stay with you until then."

The color of a pigeon's coat. One bird brave enough to sing of tall trees and open skies and freedom. That is Liadan. That is the power of her hope and her incomparable will. In this beautiful book of light and shadow, of choosing who you will be and protecting those you love, hers is the light that shines the brightest. You could do far worse than give your heart to her and to her story. It will be safe in her hands.
Profile Image for Jess.
534 reviews80 followers
June 10, 2019
Check out this review and more on my blog!

If you saw me gushing about Daughter of the Forest, then I imagine you’re just as surprised as I am that I’ve rated this sequel so low.

Man, I really didn’t like this book. So strap yourselves in, guys – it’s time for a rant (with mild spoilers).

Son of the Shadows opens some years after Daughter of the Forest and follows 16 year old Liadan, the youngest daughter of Sorcha who was the heroine of Daughter of the Forest. One of the things that most attracted me to the Sevenwaters series is that each book focuses on a different family member in a different generation, so even though it is a series each book has the benefit of reading like a standalone with a complete story.

Let’s just say I really wish Daughter of the Forest had remained a standalone.

Liadan is basically Sorcha 2.0, only nowhere near as interesting plus annoying and self-righteous as hell. Not only does she share her mother’s skills with healing, but she also even looks identical to her. Unlike her mother, she doesn’t seem to care at all about her siblings. But we’ll get onto that in a moment.

To be honest the whole plot of Son of the Shadows basically feels like a repeat of Daughter of the Forest – young woman is taken captive by enemy men only to fall in love with one of them and discover that even your enemies are people, le gasp – but it’s not as tightly woven or as well-plotted or even as well-written. (Although, in Marillier’s defence, it wasn’t badly written, and considering this book is over 600 pages and I was basically hate-reading it by the end, it was still very easy to read.)

A group of what are essentially mercenaries, led by a mysterious figure known as the Painted Man, have been terrorising the noble houses of Ireland, including Liadan’s family at Sevenwaters. They can be bought to kill, and kill well, for anyone, whether they be Irish, Briton, Pict or Norman. While accompanying her older sister Niamh on her journey to her new home following her marriage, Liadan is taken captive by these men because one of their own is injured and meets the Painted Man.

But before I get into that hot mess, let’s go back to the older sister I mentioned. Why? Because I am so angry at how this novel and all the characters in it treated Niamh.

Unlike her perfect little sister, Niamh longs for a life where she isn’t married off to the highest bidder like a prized goat. Considering what Sorcha went through in Daughter of the Forest, I was convinced that, surely, she and Red would never let one of their own children go through any such thing.


Niamh isn’t interested in the healing arts like Liadan is, she’s pretty and she knows she’s pretty and she enjoys being pretty and, do you know what, that’s fine. Can she be a bit of a cow from time to time? Yes, of course, but so can any 18 year old. When we first meet Niamh she’s so comfortable in her own skin that I immediately wished I was reading from her point of view rather than Liadan’s, I so wanted to hear from someone who wasn’t trying to be Sorcha.

Niamh falls in love with someone she eventually finds out she’s forbidden to be with. Her family have good reason for this, but instead of explaining the reasons to her, she’s made to feel like worthless ‘damaged goods’ who must be wed off to some Irish lord she’s never met who’s twice her age and clearly a dickhead. Niamh and Liadan’s brother, Sean, even hits her and never apologises or acknowledges it was something he shouldn’t have done.

When the family later see Niamh again she’s a shadow of the woman she was at the beginning of the novel, abandoned by her family and abused by her arsehole husband, and her whole family can’t understand what’s wrong. Are you serious? In what world would Sorcha, who suffered a horrendous sexual assault, and Red, who we learn at the beginning of the novel has taught his daughters how to defend themselves alongside his son as a result, allow their daughter to be married off like that for the sake of a political alliance?

The big kicker, though, is that condescending, holier-than-thou Liadan ends up falling in love with the Painted Man and falling pregnant. When she returns home and tells her family, they’re totally fine with it.

What?! So you’re telling me Niamh, who didn’t get pregnant, had to be married off to avoid scandal, but it’s perfectly alright for Liadan to have a baby outside of wedlock? Talk about favouritism!

Liadan herself even scolds Niamh at one point when her sister says she wished she’d fallen pregnant with her lover’s baby, and Liadan tells her it’s a good job she didn’t do something so silly – while she herself is pregnant with her lover’s baby! Her hypocrisy knows no bounds and I hate her.

Even worse, Liadan’s relationship with the Painted Man is complete garbage. She knows him for 6 days and he’s a wanker for 5 and a half of them.

I’ve seen so many other reviewers say this is their favourite book in the series because of the romance – and hey, different strokes for different folks – but I hated it. He’s horrible to Liadan, when he isn’t busy feeling sorry for himself because of his Tragic Past™, and the worst thing is I know Marillier can do slowburn romance well because she did it in Daughter of the Forest.

But it doesn’t matter if Liadan’s own love interest doesn’t like very much, because every other character in this damn novel thinks the sun shines out of her arse. I don’t think I have ever read a book where so many secondary characters praised the main character at every possible opportunity. Don’t tell me that your heroine’s great – show me and make me believe it!

I was also incredibly disappointed with Sorcha and Red in this novel. Not only for how they treated Niamh, but how little they were there. I didn’t expect this book to be about them – it’s not their story anymore – but to be honest they might as well have not been included at all, because Sorcha in particular didn’t feel like the Sorcha I knew.

Basically, if you somehow hadn’t already guessed, I despised this novel. I don’t care about Liadan at all and I want justice for Niamh. I loved Daughter of the Forest so I won’t be continuing with this series – I don’t want the rest of the books to ruin it for me.
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