Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is book two in the Sevenwaters Series. I have reviewed book one, Daughter of the Forest, and I recommend reading that review first. This is a six book, historical fantasy series that follows different generations of a prominent family in ancient Ireland. Son of the Shadows picks up with the second generation. This review will have spoilers.
I like to give a heat level rating for all books with romance. If you’re curious about my rating system, you can check it out here.
After years of comparative peace, darkness has fallen upon Ulster. Trouble is brewing and even those in the heart of the forest are not safe. Niamh, elder daughter of Sorcha, is required to make a strategic marriage, while her sister Liadan, who has the gift of Sight and her mother’s talent for healing, finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of the Painted Man and his warrior band. There Liadan begins a journey that is to transform her life.
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Son of the Shadows is a worthy sequel to Daughter of the Forest but I do have a few issues with it. It begins with Sorcha’s three teenage children and is told from the point of view of her youngest daughter, Liadan. Liadan is an almost exact copy of her mother but less likable. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy her character overall but she definitely suffers from special snowflake syndrome.
Liadan is only 16 but reads as much older because she’s so self-assured and self-sufficient. While those aren’t bad traits, they made her just a little too perfect. She rarely ever makes mistakes and when she does, things always work out for her regardless. In contrast is her older sister, Niamh.
Niamh is portrayed as a selfish and immature girl. I didn’t find her to be likable but I don’t think she’s supposed to be. Niamh had to be unlikable to make Liadan seem more perfect. As for Sean, Liadan’s twin brother, he doesn’t have much of a role in this book. I liked all three siblings well enough as individuals, I just didn’t like them as siblings.
One of the main aspects of Daughter of the Forest that I loved was the bonds between Sorcha and her brothers. That kind of sibling love is missing from this book but that could be because the story starts when they’re teenagers instead of children. We, as the reader, don’t see them form those close relationships over time and instead are just told how they feel about each other. I think other areas of this book could have been edited down so we could have seen more of their childhood together. I also would have loved to see more of Sorcha and Red as parents because spoiler alert…
Sorcha dies in this book and I sobbed. Marillier can really write some heart wrenching scenes and I cried multiple times. Even though I had issues with the sibling dynamics and parts of Liadan’s personality, everything else was fantastic. Like in the first book, this one is atmospheric and has an amazing slow burn romance.
I read quite a few reviews that said this series wasn’t worth reading after the first book but I disagree. While Son of the Shadows isn’t quite as strong of a story as Daughter of the Forest, it’s still an excellent read. I really hope that the rest of the books in this series are just as good. Let me know if this series sounds interesting to you! Thanks for reading and have a great day!