Book Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Please Note: There is a trigger warning at the end of this review. There was a cartoon I used to watch as a kid called The Wild Swans. It was very short, made in the 60s in Russia, and dubbed in English. I would watch it constantly, captivated by the story, the drama, and the romance. Packed into an hour was the story of a young woman on a quest to save her brothers. One of my earliest childhood memories was of a female heroine - is it any wonder I grew up knowing I could be the hero of my own story? Daughter of the Forest tells the same story, differently, with its own spin on the classic fairy tale. It's emotional, scary and beautiful all at once, and it tells of humanity and the good in people, no matter where they come from. It also teaches that evil is everywhere, amongst your enemies and your family. Evil knows no borders but neither does good. There once was a lord with seven children, six sons and one daughter. The wife having died in childbirth, he withdrew in his grief and showed no love towards his children, and so they became a family amongst themselves. Each unique in their own way, they all played together and protected each other, until one day it wasn't enough. An evil sorceress took control of their father, married him, and began to tear apart their family. Casting a spell on the brothers, she stole their humanity, but the sister escaped. In order to save her family, she was sent on a quest to create shirts for each of her brothers, which, when worn by them, would return to them their humanity. But it would not be easy, and she would have to go through many trials of pain and suffering before her brothers could be returned to her. She could trust no one, for enemies lurked everywhere. Of course, in every fairytale, good triumphs over evil. This is that fairytale. I can't tell you how happy it made me to read this book! It brought back memories of that long ago cartoon that was so beloved by me as a child, and I couldn't wait to read it as a tale for adults. Of course, it was much bloodier and terrifying in this form, and I found myself struggling to contain my emotions as I worked through the tale. Sorcha suffered so much for her family, and her brothers suffered as well. It was hard to read as Sorcha witnessed the worst of mankind, but it was eventually made better as she saw the good as well. The hero of this story was Sorcha, but she found a guardian in a man who saw her for who she was, not what she was. When your life is on the line, the line between enemy and friend blur, and both of them realized that the person you are determines who your friends are. Treat people well, as you would want to be treated, and good will come back to you. It may take time, and it may not seem worth it, but in the end, you are better for it. This is the first in a series, first written in 1999, so you have lots of reading to do! This is a wonderful start, written by an amazing author. Highly recommended. Trigger Warning: There is a rape scene in the story, so please keep in mind if that is a concern for you. **I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**