Friday, February 8

Beautiful Books :: Daughter of the Forest

Beautiful Books

Daughter of the Forest
Juliet Marillier
I spent a while longing for the kind of book I love to read. Epic, sweeping books that pick you up and wrap you in another world, with a strong female that sweeps you off your feet with adventure and romance. After getting through the best of the Kushiel Legacy, and waiting patiently for the next (even though I knew it would never be as good as the first three) I was in a void for a sweeping, epic fantasy. 
But then I started going through my bookshelf, reading books off of a stack of random ones I've owned forever and never really picked up.
Daughter of the Forest was one of these. 
I've owned the book for years. Picked it up at some point as a teenager and just never really felt like reading it.
And now finally I did, and I will never regret it. It is amazing.

"When was the beginning? When my father met my mother, and lost his heart, and chose to wed for love? Or was it when I was born? I should have been the seventh son of a seventh son, but the goddess was playing tricks, and I was a girl." {page 4}

If you've ever heard the fairy tale about the girl who's brothers are turned into swans (sometimes ravens) and she has to stay silent and weave clothing for them for a number of years to save them, this is the story. But amplified, intensified, romanticized, and epic-ized to the power of ten.
It's strong, beautiful, epic, thrilling, and heartbreaking.

The writing is lush and beautiful, and the books that follow are similar in their wonderful details, even if they don't come nearly as close to the amazingness that is this first one.

"I have spoken of the keep where my family lived, a stark stone tower set deep in the forests, its walls pierced here and there by narrow window slits. Its courtyard, its hedges, its kitchen garden did little to soften the grim profile. But there was more to Sevenwaters than this. Without our walled fields, our thatched barns to house herd and flock over winter, our gardens with their rows of carrots, parsnips, and beans, our mill and our straw-rope granaries, we could not have survived in such isolation." {page 45}

The story starts off following the character as a child, and I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but after a few chapters, things pick up quickly, and once they do, events unfold quite suddenly and the intensity spikes like crazy.
This book will make you cry and scream and also, very strangely, make you want to stay very, very quiet.

"'But remember, you must not make a sound, you must not tell your tale, even to them, or they will be swans forever. The task will be long, Sorcha.'" {page 154}

At every moment, my heart ached for Sorcha, the beautiful storyteller, sworn to desperate silence. I was so invested in her strong, silent struggle that when someone interuppted my reading, I'd just stare at them for long moments, trying to regain my bearings in the real world, and having to remind myself that I could speak.

"As for me, I could hardly imagine a life without my brothers, for they had always been there, sometimes kind, sometimes gruff, always ready to help when I was in trouble. They were a part of me, and I of them. Now I was alone, and I must manage without them, for to fail in this task was to lose them forever." {page 157}

Watching Sorcha navigate through her test, her pains (which are, several times, very intense- you have been warned), and the entire struggle of it all was epic and wonderful and I couldn't even describe how much I loved it. Though, obviously, I'm using the words epic and amazing a lot; so there's that.
Even the romance was unexpected. Unlike many female-driven adventures, there is not a set, obvious love interest, and that was a little more beautiful for me as well. It sweeps you off your feet and makes it all the more intense.

"There was a pause. Perhaps only I knew how he used it to marshal his thoughts, to force his breathing to be slow and steady, to draw deep on his will so his voice remained confident. For the others, it was still just a tale, like all the tales we told, night by night, tales comical and strange, tales heroic and awe-inspiring, the tales that formed the fabric of our spirits." {page 526}

This is, by far, on my list of favorite books in all of the books I've ever read. And next to Kushiel's Dart, it's the most amazing epic adventure I've fallen in love with.

Worth reading? Holy. Frack. Yes.

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