Judy's Reviews > Son of the Shadows

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
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's review
May 20, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2011, fantasy, favorites

Excellent story and lyrical writing. Juliet Marillier is becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors. I think it is difficult for me to compare "Son of the Shadows" to "Daughter of the Forest", as the two stories are very distinct in my mind and stand alone. Each of them had their own strengths and their own weaknesses, but I was still caught up in each of the stories.

I felt previously that stories with a fairy tale background are often stronger because there was already an excellent story behind it, and it is the true test of the author to see whether the story can be carried forward beyond the original. I liked that Marillier did not depend on the same storyline and villains as before, but instead forged onto new stories and new characters interwoven into sometimes familiar and sometimes unfamiliar territory.

Many things to love about this story:

- The main character, Liadan, is someone I can admire. She makes difficult choices, choices filled with sacrifice, but she was often committed to walking her own path. She chooses between two destinies and many warnings, from the Old Ones and from the Lady of the Forest who guided her mother. She is brave, she is resourceful, yet she is not the "badass woman warrior" who has to become in swinging swords and taking on the role of a man. She is vulnerable yet she is strong in her role as a healer and a seer.

- I loved loved loved that Liadan does not follow instructions blindly. She makes her own decisions and lives with the consequences. She knows very clearly what she is capable of and she will damn everyone to try and save the people she loves. She is a character that I can respect, which is hard to find these days.

- The romance was more flawed and difficult than in "Daughter of the Forest", which made it distinct and stand out. For some reason I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more than the second, which is different from many of the reviews on Goodreads. There was just something about the time that Liadan spent with the band that I really enjoyed.

What I didn't like:

- Sometimes Bran's emotional distress just got a little bit too much for me, and the words that he said to Liadan were frustrating and cruel. I understand that he had a terrible childhood, but I thought that the point was repeated just a few times too often. As a reader, I got his anguish and his angst, I didn't need it shoved in my face.

- Liadan's sister, Niamh, really pissed me off throughout the book. She was just someone that was flighty and simple and selfish and really irritated me. She was so caught up in her own problems constantly that she wasn't aware of her sister's own turmoil. Liadan's family members were also selfish at times, but I think this is both a strength and an annoyance in the book, as people often act selfishly and believe that they know better than everyone else. Liadan is sometimes guilty of this as well.

- I thought some of the storyline dragged on longer than necessary, but Marillier is a good enough author that I was still interested.

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