I won’t spend a lot of time with this one. Everyone should know by now how I feel about Sevenwaters. Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier is the fifth book in the series, and I feel about the same about it as Heir to Sevenwaters. Marillier’s writing is still beautiful and her plots still engaging, but for some reason I cannot get into this second trilogy nearly as much as the first. Daughter of the Forest changed my life, inspired me, and has kept dragging me back for more ever since I read it my sophomore (freshman? can’t remember) year of high school. I haven’t read the other two books in that trilogy nearly as often, but I still am invested in the characters and care for their well-being. I love the plots and know them inside and out. As Marillier moves further away from Sorcha, Liadan, and the Sevenwaters clan, I grow less interested.
This novel takes place on Inis Eala, a secluded island where an elite band of warriors train for special missions. Sibeal, a child of Sevenwaters and a druid in training, is sent by her mentor and uncle Ciaran to the island to rest and to meditate on the pivotal decision of whether or not to become a druid, forsake hearth and home and husband, and spend a life dedicated to knowledge and faith. Sibeal is confident that she has heard the voice of the gods and is meant to follow this path, but it is evident from the first that Ciaran sees an event in her future which may change her mind. The day after she arrives on Inis Eala, a ship is wrecked just off shore. Most of the crew is lost. The only exceptions are a man, Knut, his strange wife Svala, and a man personally rescued by Sibeal, Felix. As Sibeal nurses Felix back to health, mysteries and secrets are exposed, and Sibeal learns that she and Felix have been singled out by the gods to fulfill a mission together. Obviously, Felix is the “event” that disrupts her path into the fold of the druids.
For some reason, the love story between Sibeal and Felix does not tug at my heart or make me believe it. Perhaps it is because the relationship between Sorcha and Red was so incredibly beautiful and moving that nothing can ever compare. But throughout the whole novel, I could not shake the feeling that this was just another cheesy romance, rather than the sweet and epic love found in her debut novel and the two that follow. In fact, the relationships I cared about more in this book were between Sibeal and her sisters. Marillier has always been particularly skilled at capturing just how beautiful a relationship between siblings can be. The affection between Sibeal and her sisters feels much more genuine to me than her relationship with Felix.
As far as plot goes, it’s exciting and as creative as I would ever expect from Marillier. At the moment when the reader realizes what Sibeal’s mission is to be, one remembers exactly why she’s such a brilliant storyteller. While pieces of her plot may be predictable beyond belief (there’s a love story in every plot, and nothing keeps the lovers apart), she certainly does always find ways of surprising her audience.
Overall, I’d recommend it to fans of Sevenwaters who have read the rest of the series first. As with Heir to Sevenwaters, I urge you to not start the series with this one. A) you won’t have any idea about what Sibeal is talking about any time she discusses the past, and B) the earlier books in the series are way better.