Seer of Sevenwaters Cover

In a nutshell:

  • Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Saga, & Romance
  • Notes: Surprised me how much I enjoyed. Unlikely hero, likely Marillier heroine, and a story that keeps you guessing. A lovely addition, I wouldn’t read it as a stand-alone.
  • Recommended For: Fans of Marillier, People who love a new take on an old legend, Fans of The Mists of Avalon.

A seer who sees the future meets a man who can’t even see his own past . . . Marillier has done it again – made me want her to write more and more novels in the sevenwater’s series. Here’s hoping! Before I get ahead of myself I should show the synopsis:

Sibeal of Sevenwaters, the teen fifth daughter of the Lord of Sevenwaters, has always known she wants to be a druid. In this romantic follow-up to 2008’s Heir of Sevenwaters, Sibeal’s uncle Ciaran, her mentor, orders her to spend a summer on the sheltered island of Inis Eala, away from her training, to determine whether the contemplative life is truly for her. At first, Sibeal thinks that Ciaran is punishing her. Then a sudden storm brings a shipwreck and several mysteries that challenge Sibeal’s resolve and vocation. Why does the Norseman Knut seem to be holding something back from the islanders, and if Svala is Knut’s wife, why is she so terrified of him? And who is the handsome, amnesiac man Sibeal has found washed up on shore? Readers will thrill to this strong, heartfelt tale of the Sevenwaters family and their magical exploits.

I think I have to be clear that my opinion of this novel is colored by my entire experience with the previous Sevenwater’s books. That being said, I don’t know how much I would enjoy Seer of Sevenwaters as a standalone novel. I think it’s still a wonderful book, but so much of the enjoyment is hearing about the characters you’ve read about in the past novels and seeing where they continue to grow. That’s one of Marillier’s best points as an author. A character in her series is never finished, she develops them to the end and beyond. In fact, directly after reading this book I went back to the first novel The Daughter of the Forest and I was amazed how well woven the entire series is.

While I felt that one of the strongest points of this book was its continuation in developing the characters plot lines from the previous novel, I could also seeing it be a detracting factor. For those who aren’t familiar with the previous novels, reading this as a stand alone may seem confusing at points. I also sometimes felt as if the insight into the secondary characters took away the reader’s attention from the primary characters and that made it seem like those characters story’s were rushed.

Speaking of strong aspects of this book: I really enjoyed the unconventional plot line of having a woman’s inner struggle to be between choosing a life of holy vocation or a life as a wife and mother. You really don’t read many books where a woman is choosing between a spiritual leader role and a man. Some might feel that most books have a woman making a hard choice between A or B, but it’s definitely a twist on the same-old.

Another thing that Marillier does extremely well with her characters: is her ability to make a character a hero without forcing them into a macho or warrior role. If anyone is a warrior in this book, it’s definitely Sibeal. She will follow the will of the gods off a cliff, but not in an ignorant way. If that makes sense. But Ardal – he is certainly no warrior. A poet, academic, philosopher – but not a fighter of men. Nonetheless I found him to be one of the bravest heroes in the Sevenwaters Series.

Overall I enjoyed the book immensely. If I had one true criticism it would be: I found the ending lacking. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a book is amazing and thorough only to end rushed and abruptly. While I didn’t find this abrupt, I found I was left wanting more. And not just more Sevenwaters (I always want more Sevenwaters.) I wanted to feel the ending in a more complete way.

Bottom Line: If you enjoyed the previous Sevenwaters, than I don’t even know why you are reading reviews, when you should be finding this book and if you enjoy legends retold, with feminist overtones, spiritual undertones, and a love story, this is the book for you.