Son of the Shadows – Juliet Marillier

I really enjoy Marillier’s writing. I think the book itself is written well, the concept is engrossing. I thought the characters were a little bland. Toward the end, the main character really grated on my nerves with her nearly constant weeping. Without giving too much away I will say the characterization is what bothered me the most. I’m also not incredibly sure what this “evil” threat they are all facing is. I didn’t quite grasp what the “carry on” from the previous book was, except for the fact that Liandan was Sorcha’s daughter. Lady Oonaga (forgive the mis spelling) was mentioned a few times but other than that she wasn’t this big evil thing and it seemed kind of a stretch when she was mentioned.

I did enjoy this book, but I agree with some other reviewers I’ve read when they say that they aren’t sure Marillier should have turned this concept into a series. The first book was great, this book was enjoyable but I’m not exactly sure there was a point involved with it other than reading this coming of age story, which was beautifully told. I’m not sure I want to continue reading the series. I feel kind of let down after this one.

However, Marillier’s writing is wonderful. She truly is a gifted, amazing author. The concept of the book is unique and captivating. My main issue was with the characters and the whole point of the book. I kind felt deflated when it was over, like I was expecting something grand and it just didn’t happen, which really disappointed me. I felt like someone who just sat through a really sad fireworks display. After the first book, I really had high hopes. If you don’t mind reading coming of age stories with sweet romances thrown in, you’ll enjoy this book. If you are looking for some epic story with profound thoughts and references to…whatever, I’d go elsewhere for your fix.

This was an enjoyable book, but not incredibly deep or thought provoking. It didn’t leave me gasping for breath and pondering for days after like the first book did. However, I think for the right audience, this book could be considered incredible. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers who think this book is the best book in the series and I can honestly say I can see why people would feel that way. The writing itself makes it like a work of art. I guess I’m just not really into escapist-type books. I like my stuff with a little more meat, a little more grit, a little more point, a little more depth. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little “fluffier” stuff every now and again, I just couldn’t quite get into it.

…. the constant weeping really did it in for me but I did enjoy quite a bit from this book. Marillier did a wonderful job, however, of blending qualities from both Red and Sorcha in Liandan. She was a strong female lead who didn’t let fate dictate her choices, which was a refreshing change from Sorcha’s belief that all future paths were dictated by faith. Her relationship with Bran was surprising, if not a touch predictable. The change Bran underwent in the book was well done. Both characters (Bran and Liandan) went through a real period of growing and becoming. It was really neat to see how Marillier managed that, and she did manage it artfully.

You can also see, when you read this work, that Marillier really did her research on beliefs, myths, fables and the like. She really makes Ireland pop and come alive to the reader. She has a true gift for that kind of thing. She truly has a gift for story telling. Her plots are fluid, woven tightly together and tied off well with just enough left hanging to make the reader come back for more. This story fit well after the last story, like a piece of the puzzle. Plots from the last book were carried well into this one.

Though Liandan’s point of view got tiresome after a while, she was a change from her mother. Some parts I felt were an extension of Sorcha rather than a new person. It was good to read a continuation of the story in a new generation. It was a unique way for Marillier to continue her work and very refreshing. It was also fulfilling to see how Sorcha and Red’s lives turned out and the struggles they faced. They were really humanized in this book, turned into parents who faced issues just like any other parent.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the first book in the series, people who enjoy female protagonists, myths and sweetly told romances, people who enjoy reading escapist books (books that don’t require an intense amount of thought. IE: books you read just to “enjoy” it).


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