Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – Review

Today I have a spoiler-free review of Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier for you. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you will have seen me raving about this book. It is set in Ireland in the 10th century and follows a girl called Sorcha, it’s based on the tale The Six Swans as well as Celtic folklore, and I adored it!


Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – The Sevenwaters Trilogy #1.

  • UK paperback – 672 pages.
  • Release date: 22nd October 2015 (originally in 2000)
  • Published by Harper Voyager
  • ISBN: 0008150400
  • Goodreads page for Daughter of the Forest here!

I absolutely adored this book. It was beautiful, heartbreaking and magical all at the same time. I can see Marillier becoming one of my favourite authors because I love the way she weaves folklore and magic into historical settings!

The first thing I will say about this book is that it is really dense! It is only 16 chapters, despite it being around 650 pages, which took me a while to get used to. However it is so worth it for the detail. The story is quite a slow-burn but I was soon completely hooked and immersed in the word. It is set in 10th century Ireland, and is full of Celtic and Germanic folklore. I am always on the lookout for amazing books inspired by Celtic mythology so I am over the moon to have found this one.

This book is written as if the main character Sorcha is telling us the story of her life. It was really interesting to see her grow and change, I felt like I was feeling every emotion that she did and found myself crying throughout! The writing just really spoke to me. She has six brothers, and I loved that family was such a huge element in this book especially since it starts off when she is quite young. The book really is heartbreaking, the author didn’t shy away from making bad things happen which made it all the more realistic despite the magic.

The world-building is honestly phenomenal, it’s on another level the way Marillier managed to immerse the reader in the different landscapes. Everything is so detailed and well researched. The magic in this world is also amazing, so intricately woven throughout every part of the story. I won’t say more because it’s best to go into this book without knowing much.

I must say, trigger warning for rape which is not skimmed over in the book.

The one thing I didn’t love about this book was the way a rape scene was written but then when it came to sex scenes, those were simply glossed over. I would have liked to have seen sex scenes written, not just because I loved who they featured, but because it would have been good to show consensual sex rather than only rape. (But this book was written in 1999 so perhaps that is to do with the times? I’m not sure.)

I still would highly recommend this book! It is one of my favourite books of all time and I can see myself going back to reread in the future. The Sevenwaters series now consists of 6 books, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book Son of the Shadows!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget you can follow me on: InstagramTwitterTumblrGoodreads & Pinterest!


13 thoughts on “Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – Review

  1. So glad you loved this book! I love this book and the Sevenwaters series. I actually loved book two, Son of Shadows more than Daughter of the Forest. I read the Sevenwaters series back when it was only 3 books long, and then Marillier released more to the series. I still need to read the last 3!
    Thanks for the reminder to read Marillier – I don’t see her name and her books blogged about all that often, and they are such wonderful books!

    1. Ooh yeah over on my bookstagram a few people said they enjoyed the second the most! Thanks for reading my post! I try to not only read new fantasy, so glad to be hopefully bringing Marillier into peoples minds!

  2. This is one of those books/authors/series that made a big impact on me as a writer. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it, and I agree that the glossed over love scenes leave something to be desired after following the characters on their journeys, but this was the first time I’ve thought about how there’s an imbalance between consensual vs nonconsensual sex is. The only reason I could suppose she did it that way is that it’s told in 1st person and lovemaking would be something Sorcha would keep private.

    1. Yeah that’s a good point about it being private, that wasn’t something I thought about! It was other reviews that really made me think about it. I haven’t read any more of this series yet though!

      1. Well heads up it really two series wedged under the same name. She wrote the trilogy and then fans kept begging for more so she wrote a second trilogy. There’s a bit of a tonal shift between them and IMO the second has lighter tone and seems geared a little more toward YA than the first which is slightly more adult. Still good books, but it might seem weird since they’re all packaged as one series now

        1. Ohh yeah! I wasn’t completely sure so thank’s for letting me know. I’ve read Wildwood Dancing and have her Blackthorn & Grim trilogy to start as well.. she has so many!!

          1. You’re welcome. Even though I knew it was a new start it was a little jarring when things were different. I’m so glad she comes out with new stuff so often. Her style has had such a big influence on my writing and each new book gives me a big boost in inspiration.

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