It was pretty exciting to look at the 2015 Aurealis Awards shortlist and see Sevenwaters as a potential winner for the Sara Douglass Book Series Award. And that Tower of Thorns is a nominee for the best fantasy novel. For those who do not know, the Aurealis Awards are the awards for Australian speculative/YA & children’s fiction. So if you’re ever interested in reading Australian fantasy, sci fi and horror – this is a great stepping stone. It will be interesting to see who wins when the winners are announced the 25th of this month.
You can see the 2015 shortlist here: https://aurealisawards.org/2016/02/17/announcement-2015-aurealis-awards-shortlists/
I’m considering reading all the fantasy short fiction – so that might pop up here on this blog!
But without further ado – let me discuss why Juliet Marillier, author of the Sevenwaters series and Tower of Thorns, is one of my favorite authors of all time.
A few key words: Historical Fiction. Fairytale Retellings. Romance. Adventure. Magic.
I love Juliet Marillier – her prose is beautiful and easy to read, her characters are complex and endearing, and the romance – oh! It’s very easy to fall down the rabbit hole with her stories, most have kept me up till the early hours in the morning. Her novels have literally made me weep, swoon, angry (in a good way!), happy, scared – sometimes all the emotions/all together!
*I’m going to hop on the gif wagon for once.
And I have read all her novels too, bar one because I accidentally skipped the second book in a series (eventually I will rectify that)! All have been quite good too, never has one left a bad taste in my mouth.
I have been reading her novels since my early teen years when my aunty lent me a rather used and loved version of Daughter of the Forest, a historical novel based on the Six Swans fairytale set in Ireland and England. And you will notice that most of her novels are based on the British Isles. Although there are exceptions, I love the novels set in Transylvania and Turkey and there is a Viking inspired series as well.
Things you might find her stories: Strong female characters, romance, druids, magic, changelings, sorceresses, selkies, sea monsters, little Fae folk, battles, vampires, pagan rituals, seers and many more.
Now, let’s talk about her books and where you can start:
If you want to try a standalone.
Most of her books belong to a series, Heart’s Blood being the exception. Heart’s Blood is a Beauty and the Beast retelling set during medieval Ireland. It really plays with the fairytale, the Beast is not exactly a beast, the Beauty is a scribe and orphan and the castle is full of ghosts. This is my favorite B & B retelling of all time and I’ll heartily recommend it.
If you are a YA geek.
The Wildwood series (Wildwood Dancing and Cybele’s Secret) is based off the Twelve Dancing Princesses and Frog Prince fairy tales. Each are full of adventure, romance, sorrow and fantastical creatures. The first novel is set in Transylvania about a group of sisters who find a portal to the magical world where they can dance for one night every full moon. The second book follows one of the sisters and her adventures in Istanbul. If you are looking for a good YA series – this is a wonderful pick.
If you are looking for a long, awesome series.
I had started with the Sevenwaters series first and I don’t regret it – although there are favorites (Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows and Heir to Sevenwaters) each novel is full of heart and you will easily read at least one over a weekend. The first novel is about Sorcha and is based off the Six Swans fairytale, the others follow stories about her descendants. So consider this a family saga if you will. But I think I will be re-reading this series until my dying days – it’s so good!
Other books by Juliet Marillier:
- The Bridei Chronicles – based on King Bridei I of the Picts.
- Shadowfell – A YA fantasy series about a girl who communicate with the fairy folk and the rebellion that unfolds.
- The Light Isles – A Viking duology.
- Blackthorn & Grimm – a medieval mystery series.
- Prickle Moon – a collection of short stories.
Have you read the Juliet Marillier novels, did you enjoy them? And who is your favorite author of all time and why?