Friday, May 26, 2023

Flame of Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters #6) by Juliet Marillier


Daughter of the Forest
Son of the Shadows
Child of the Prophecy
Heir to Sevenwaters

The conclusion of the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier is Flame of Sevenwaters. In this book, we follow Maeve, daughter of Jerk Sean, who was badly burned as a child and has terrible scarring on her face and an inability to use her hands. She has been fostered with her Aunt Liadan for ten years, but must return home because her skills at calming animals are needed. She does not look forward to returning to Sevenwaters, but once she is there, she is immediately drawn into the turmoil of the place.

Otherworld fey prince Mac Dara is causing problems (AGAIN) and Maeve soon finds herself in the Otherworld with her brother trying to save both the Otherworld and Sevenwaters.

Whatever. This book is mostly about dogs. I like dogs, I like books about dogs, and there was a twist about the dogs that I should have seen coming, but didn't, so I really liked that, too. Basically, the dog stuff was great.

(Sidenote: I thought this book dealt gracefully with Maeve's disability until it didn't. I feel like this was an attempt for Marillier to have her cake and eat it, too. I just wish that more media portrayed people with disabilities having a happily ever after without their disability just going away. It's why Talia Hibbert is a huge thumbs up for me and Abby Jimenez can suck a duck.)

But honestly, as an ending to the series, it was a tiny bit wanting. I still have so many questions about what's going to happen in Sevenwaters. What of Finbar? What of Ciaran's future? Are the Old Ones going to be okay? Will Maeve ever get another dog? 

And maybe it's fine that the ending is open-ended. I can put my own happy ending there with my own imagination. But it also made me sort of sad, like Marillier didn't care enough about the characters she created to plan for their future. 

Well, the first three books in this series are excellent and the last three are pretty good. If you're into fantasy, I think I can recommend Sevenwaters without any pause.  4/5 stars

Lines of note:
For my sister, Jennifer,
who opens hearth and heart to dogs in trouble (dedication page, ii)

A special thank-you to rescue dog Harry, who worked his way through three levels of obedience training while I was writing this book. (acknowledgments page, iv)

Between these two quotes in the front matter of the book and the black dogs on the cover, I was so excited about dog representation in this book before I even got started.

"Everyone is afraid of something. Know your fears and you're a step further away from letting them rule you." (page 13)

There are hidden gems like this just laying around in Marillier's writing.

"Upstairs," Mother said. "As for you" - she glanced and Bear and Badger [two stray dogs], and I imagined they quailed at the iron in her voice - "the least misdemeanor and you're off outside. And don't for one moment imagine you'll be sleeping on the bed."
I woke to find...Bear was on the bed. (page 144)

Ha ha ha! I loved this scene so very much. 

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