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Child of the Prophecy (Book #3 of the Sevenwaters Series) by Juliet Marillier: A Book Review

Child of the Prophecy (Book #3 of the Sevenwaters Series)
Author: Juliet Marillier
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: 2003
Pages: 528
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: Magic is fading... and the ways of Man are driving the Old Ones to the West, beyond the ken of humankind. The ancient groves are being destroyed, and if nothing is done, Ireland will lose its essential mystic core. 

     The prophecies of long ago have foretold a way to prevent this horror, and it is the Sevenwaters clan that the spirits of Eire look to for salvation. They are a family bound into the lifeblood of the land, and their promise to preserve the magic has been the cause of great joy to them... as well as great sorrow.

     It is up to Fainne, daughter of Niamh, the lost sister of Sevenwaters, to solve the riddles of power. A shy child of a reclusive sorcerer, she finds that her way is hard: She is the granddaughter of the wicked sorceress Oonagh, who has emerged from the shadows and seeks to destroy all that Sevenwaters has striven for. Oonagh will use Fainne most cruelly to accomplish her ends, and stops at nothing to see her will done. 

     Will Fainne be strong enough to battle this evil and save those she has come to love?

     My Review: This is the third book in the Sevenwaters series. This novel out of all the books in this series has the most magic in it, for the protagonist is a sorceress. This book has the protagonist doing magic such as conjuring up fire, transformation, and flight. This novel focuses on Fainne, who is both the granddaughter of Sorcha, the protagonist of Daughter of the Forest, and Lady Oonagh, who is Sorcha’s antagonist. Because Lady Oonagh has threatened to kill Fainne’s father, Fainne must do Lady Oonagh's will to destroy the Sevenwaters family to save her father. Along the way, Fainne discovers the meaning of family love, and instead is horrified to do Lady Oonagh's bidding. Fainne then goes on a quest to defy the Lady Oonagh and to save those she loves.

     Fainne is very complex, and yet she very human. She is an only child, for her mother dies when she is an infant, and the only person she has is her father. Because of this, Fainne is a very lonely person. Her only friend is Darragh, a traveling tinker’s son that visits her once a year, who looks out for her. Because of her loneliness, Oonagh takes advantage of her granddaughter. She tells her that her relatives at Sevenwaters hate her and her parents. She then makes Fainne destroy the Sevenwaters family, especially the one who is the Child of the Prophecy, Liadan’s son, who is to bring peace to the races of Erin and British. Lady Oonagh’s plan takes effect when the Lord of Sevenwaters officially recognizes Fainne as his niece and brings her into his household.

      While she does make some very wrong choices, and commits ruthless actions where she harms her family, we can understand her pain, conscience, guilt, and repentance. At first, Fainne seems like a dark character, the villain of the story, but underneath she has a very good heart. She realizes that the family of Sevenwaters doesn’t hate her, but that they love her and embrace her as family. We, the reader, root for her to change her dark path to follow the path to goodness and light. 

     I have to say that we see Lady Oonagh more than in the first two books. This book shows how Lady Oonagh was deeply affected since she was defeated by Sorcha in Daughter of the Forest. In Child of the Prophecy, Lady Oonagh is still one of the best literary villains I have ever read. When she makes interactions with Fainne, she is so despicably evil that as I was reading them, it sent chills down my spine. Her ruthlessness and wickedness truly has no bounds especially when she has the thrill to torture her own son and granddaughter so they can do her wishes. Lady Oonagh is a villain that makes it so easy to love to hate her, and we eagerly await the moment when Lady Oonagh has her just desserts.

      Overall, this book is about family, friendship, love, repentance, forgiveness, sacrifice, and redemption. The message of the book is to be true to yourself and that there is always hope and redemption. While there are new characters, there are still plenty of returning characters that you love in the first two books. After reading the first two books, the moment you read the third book, the setting of the Sevenwaters feels like you have returned home. The family of Sevenwaters feels like you have adopted them into your family. This is an excellent conclusion to the first two books. There are still three more books in the series, but they have a different story arc. I recommend this book to fans of Marion Zimmer Bradley, and lovers of fantasy, romance, or anyone who wants to read about the true meaning of love and family. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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