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Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Flame of Sevenwaters (2012)

by Juliet Marillier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sevenwaters (Volume 6)

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This was a great series. A little cheesy and sometimes predictable, but all the same, a great and magical story. ( )
  Lor_Mds | Nov 22, 2017 |
Another solid read from Marillier. Gulped it down in two reads. She provides reliable escape reading, but always with more oomph than just "escape fiction." My only grievance, though, is a major one: the portrayal of disability. On a technical level, the disabilities to the character's hands were portrayed in function more like she didn't have hands, or anything at all, below the wrist. Marillier repeatedly reminds us of the many basic things the character cannot do for herself. The character's functional limitations seemed far exaggerated, for the sake of the plot, compared to the limitations an actual person with such a disability, as described in the book, might have. There were so many things the reader is told Maeve cannot do that seemed incredibly unrealistic and unlikely. I had such dissonance as I read that I ended up rechecking some passages explaining the damage and limitations to her hands, then trying to make my hands mimic the characters and perform some of the functions the character supposedly could not. I could. Beyond that, individuals with such disabilities rarely sit around saying, "I can't." They improvise. They invent workarounds and create tools and devices or have them created. They figure out novel ways to accomplish things for themselves whenever possible. I found it beyond belief that this character would not have done those things and been a even bit more self-sufficient. The portrayal just didn't settle well with me and became a large distraction. Perhaps the descriptions of the disability in the book simply did not clearly explain the limitations, but I cringe at disability being unfairly portrayed as a plot device, which this did feel a bit like at times. ( )
  eslee | May 19, 2016 |
I am a big fan of Juliet Marillier and adore the first three books of The Sevenwaters Trilogy. I can't believe this trilogy has now been drawn out to a 6th book! Me thinks we should stick to trilogies. That being said this is great writing in the continuing family saga and if you're fan of her work, you'll be fan of this book. ( )
  sherribelcher | Jan 20, 2016 |
This is the latest installment of the books beginning with Daughter of the Forest, the one that first addicted me to Juliet Marillier. A couple of generations have passed since then, and Sorcha, the main character of that tale, is the grandmother of the heroine of this one, Maeve. Maeve was in a fire ten years earlier which disfigured her face to a degree and rendered her hands useless, so she is dependent for help with nearly everything from her wonderfully portrayed maid (who is more of a friend). She has, however, an incredible gift with animals, which is possibly some consolation from losing her dog Bounder in the fire that injured her. Returning home for the first time in ten years (she had been living with her Aunt and Uncle—her Aunt, her father’s sister, is a Healer of some renown and they had hoped she might be able to help with Maeve’s hands). Coming home is as awkward as she was afraid it was going to be, with the exception of a few people. Maeve starts out as a character who seems to have settled for her lot in life—she’ll never marry, never have children, and lead a solitary life dependent on others. She doesn’t seem particularly self-pitying, and if she does, it’s more out of anger than anything else, why can’t she have those things. She overhears some of the men at her father’s talking about her and how her hands make their skin crawl, and it shatters any hope she had been building up. Her 7 year old brother Finbar, a boy who will most likely grow to be a very strong seer, is fascinated with her. Maeve worries he is too serious for a boy his age—he has a tutor/ bodyguard, Luachan, a druid her Uncle Cíaran (the interim head druid) chose. A terrible event has taken place—a large group of men from the neighboring Lord’s lands has disappeared, including his two sons, while they were traveling through her Uncle’s lands. Everyone at Sevenwaters believes it is Mac Dara, who kidnapped Finbar when he was a baby to try to get his own son to come home, but they try to keep the fact that Sevenwaters has this mystical/magical place within it for fear others wouldn’t understand. This time, Maeve is drawn into the forest, with no one to depend on but herself and two wild dogs she has tamed and named Bear and Badger. She realizes she does pretty well on her own, and gradually starts to piece together that everything isn’t right in the forest. The story is interesting, and the characters well-drawn. For anyone familiar with the Sevenwaters series, it’s like coming home again. I’m a sucker for happy endings. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, because others might not be. Terrible, terrible ending. Death, destruction, the end of civilization as they knew it as Sauron drags them into a new age…oh, wait, wrong book. It works as a stand alone book, but really these are best if you start from the beginning and read them in order, because they build on each other. This is a review gone horribly wrong. It’s a good book, definitely worth checking out. ( )
  waclements7 | Oct 27, 2015 |
When you pick a book up at the library, one of you know nothing of, you might not expect the story to still be inside your head ten years later. You might not expect the characters to feel as immediate as they did on that first reading. More so, they are familiar now, known as friends. Daughter of the Forest, the first in Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series, is that book. A retelling of the Six Swans fairytale, it follows Sorcha as she attempts to reclaim the human lives of her brothers. It is a story of hope, and of love — romantic, familial, the loyalty of a good dog, and the kindness and strength of new friends. There are moments within it, and within the following books, that feel instilled in the memory, as if they exist beyond the page: Sorcha calling Red’s name, Niamh dancing, Bran watching his son and saying, ‘Is he supposed to be eating that?’, the fall of Darragh and his return. The recurring image of three small children, deep within the forests of Sevenwaters, both past and future. Think of these, of characters such as Finbar and Conor, Padriac and horse-mad Ellis, and any pretence of objectivity and rationality shatter. Just a book? Not likely.

For all its magic and fey creatures, Sevenwaters is grounded in reality. Although some characters get their happy endings, there are others whose lives have to change and survive without them. In Flame of Sevenwaters, it would seem like Maeve is destined to be one of these. After suffering terrible burns of the hands and face at age ten, Maeve left Sevenwaters to live with her Aunt Liadan, a healer, and her husband Bran in England. From her foster parents, Maeve has learnt to be strong, ignoring, outwardly at least, the comments and stares. Her gift with animals is called upon when Swift, an unpredictable horse, is to be sent to Sevenwaters as a token of restitution. Her return home, ten years later, is a reluctant one. She can barely remember Sevenwaters, and feels closer to Liadan, Bran, and her maid Rhian, than she does her own parents or sisters. Yet her resolve to stay detached, to return to her foster home, is soon weakened. Maeve is determined to bring Finbar, her young brother, out of his serious shell. Finbar, like his namesake, is a seer and although he will not speak of them, has seen visions that could signal the end of Sevenwaters. Maeve and Finbar, along with Bear and Badger, the two traumatised dogs that Maeve has befriended, must do what seems most unlikely. For it is that the woman deemed too infirm, the brother too young, and the dogs too wild, must challenge and help defeat Mac Dara, Prince of the Otherworld, and long-time enemy of the Sevenwaters family.

Of the original trilogy, Child of the Prophecy will always be my favourite. Unlike Sorcha and Liadan, Fainne is a character who has to overcome the darkness within herself. Her initial position as an anti-hero means that her actions, and their consequences, are often painful to witness. Yet she is evidence of Marillier’s risk tasking. Fainne is a character who challenges the readers, and the narrative, subverting the traditional expectations of a heroine. Considering that Maeve was burned in CotP, it is fitting that Marillier establishes links between it and Flame of Sevenwaters. Both Fainne and Maeve arrive at Sevenwaters as outsiders, longing for the solitude and order of their previous lives. Each have complicated feelings towards their family, and each ultimately risk their lives to save them. As with Fainne, Marillier creates a multi-faceted character in Maeve. Her disability is never marginalised or trivialised in favour of a smooth plot, nor does it constitute the entirety of her self. Maeve is clever, brave, and caring. She is also proud, closed-off, and difficult. One of the most interesting parts of the novel is Maeve’s awkward relationship with her mother. Whilst Maeve comes to recognise her mother’s particular strengths, there is no firm resolution between them. Like the best of Marillier’s relationships — the pseudo father-son bond between Conor and Ciarán or the fraught brotherhood of Red and Simon — there remains tension, emotional betrayals and years lost. Another relationship that works wonderfully well, and is arguably the most important of the novel, is that of Maeve and Finbar. Where Clodagh rescues the infant Finbar in Heir to Sevenwaters, in Flame Maeve and Finbar rescue each other. As a character, Finbar is simply delightful. Marked by his time in the Otherworld and his visions, he is at once an old soul and a seven-year old boy. As a sister to a much-younger brother, I felt a particular resonance with Maeve’s interactions with and love for Finbar. The focus that Marillier places on Maeve and the two dogs, Badger and Bear, is also an interesting change to the template of the other novels. Whilst some readers may be disappointed by the relative lack of romance (there is one, it is just unconventional…), it is in-keeping with the tone of the story.

The conclusion to Ciarán’s story is by far my favourite part of the novel. I will not spoil anything, except to say that the final pages are amongst the finest Marillier has written. The symmetry between the ending of Child of the Prophecy, and between the choices made by Fainne and Ciarán, are simply beautiful. My only real criticism is that I wanted more of Maeve at Harrowfield, more of Maeve and her parents, and more of Maeve and a certain somebody. More of Sevenwaters, really. There were moments in the novel that were genuinely unsettling, and I found myself putting the book down, waiting just a minute, and then reading on. I wanted to savor the writing, and these characters. Even if Juliet Marillier never writes another Sevenwaters novel, she has given her readers a remarkable gift. A series like Sevenwaters — one that takes risks, one that is dark and true and hopeful, and one that can make its readers stronger and happier in a hundred tiny ways — is rare indeed. I am so glad that I picked up Daughter of the Forest ten years ago, and I urge other people to do the same. ( )
2 vote ManthaLockett | Jun 1, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Juliet Marillierprimary authorall editionscalculated
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my sister, Jennifer,
who opens hearth and heart to dogs in trouble
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My aunt taught me to hold my head high, even when people stared.
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Maeve returns to Sevenwaters to find the country in turmoil after Prince Mac Dara's desperate attempts to return his only son to the Otherworld put innocents in peril.

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