Although it’s a standalone book, Juliet Marillier’s Heir to Sevenwaters (2008) is a continuation of her Sevenwaters saga, picking up soon after the events of Flame of Sevenwaters.
Taking the perspective of Clodagh, Lord Sean and Aisling’s second eldest child, the story deals with the departure of her twin, Deirdre, who she shares a mind link with, the arrival of a band of elite warriors from Inis Eala, and the birth, then disappearance, of Clodagh’s baby brother, Finbar. Soon after Finbar’s disappearance, Clodagh finds a changeling in the shape of tree infant, in place of her brother. When others only see him as a lifeless mannequin, Clodagh, hurt from their lack of belief in what she sees, sets off to the Otherworld to exchange the changeling for her brother. During her journey, she runs into Cathal, one of the Inis Eala warriors, who is a difficult man to understand. With his help, and a lot of conflict, she crosses into the Otherworld to confront Mac Dara and retrieve Finbar, only to learn a deep secret about Cathal’s identity.
Like the other Sevenwaters books, Heir to Sevenwaters is about forming a bond of love with a difficult person. Through Clodagh’s experiences, readers learn what she, and themselves, would do for love. The characters are richly developed and believable, and while Cathal’s reticence is overly long, making him seem an unlikeable character, the relationship Clodagh develops with him humanises him and reveals an important notion: that our first impression of a person is often inaccurate.
As with the previous novels in the series, Marillier draws on Celtic mysticism to create a very believable and mostly inviting world(s). Indeed, in each novel, the reader feels like they are coming home to Sevenwaters despite the conflicts that occur there. At times, the description is overly dense, yet it serves to draw readers into this rich fantasy world, making it more cohesive.
Heir to Sevenwaters, like the series’ previous novels, is a rich character, cultural, and mythological study. If that interests you, I recommend it.
3 ½ stars