This third book in the amazing Sevenwater's series (truly, you should read them now) continues with the story of the family's three-generation long struggle to safeguard the forests and the fae folk who dwell there which surrounds their home Sevenwaters. Raised by the outcast druid Ciaran and her grandmother, the evil sorceress Lady Oonagh, Fianne has been trained since birth to master the magic that would be able to destroy the Sevenwaters family. Believing this her only choice, Fainne is sent to Sevenwaters with explicit instructions from her grandmother to do her bidding or those she loves will suffer. Fainne finds herself being lulled into the companionable atmosphere at Sevenwaters even though she knows what she must accomplish will hurt those that she grows to love.
Fainne's story seems more to delve into how people see themselves - as good or evil - and the lengths they will go to either change or keep that perception. Fainne has had one idea drilled into her head for so long that despite the many times her family tells her otherwise, she struggles to believe it. That said, I did have a little trouble relating to Fainne. With Sorcha and Laidan in the previous two books, I felt an immediate connection that even though I enjoyed this story it made me feel as if something was missing. Fainne is a wonderful character with strength and courage but I found it hard to connect with her choices and sorrows. Even though she is forced, she still has to do some horrible things that fill her with long lasting self-loathing and guilt. Like others, I've found in Marillier's books, her characters always face extreme hardships and suffering before they can achieve happiness - this is pretty standard. But I felt Fainne's reward for her struggles didn't adequately compensate for the hardships she had faced up to that point. I guess it had me feeling a little down after finishing. But it was still a lovely book full loyalty and trust and beautiful Irish stories inherent in any of Marillier's wonderful books.
series reading order:
~ Daughter of the Forest - my review
~ Son of the Shadows - my review
~ Child of the Prophecy
~ Heir to Sevenwaters