Title: Flame of Sevenwaters
Author: Juliet Marillier
Summary: 'Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, was badly burned as a child and carries the legacy of that fire in her crippled hands. After ten years she's returning home, having grown into a courageous, forthright woman with a special gift for gentling difficult animals. But while her body's scars have healed, her spirit remains fragile, fearing the shadows of her past.
Sevenwaters is in turmoil. The fey prince Mac Dara has become desperate to see his only son, who is married to Maeve's sister, return to the Otherworld. To force Lord Sean's hand, Mac Dara has caused a party of innocent travelers on the Sevenwaters border to vanish - only to allow their murdered bodies to be found one by one.
When Maeve finds the body of a missing man in a remote part of the woods, she and her brother, Finbar, embark on a journey that could bring about the end of Mac Dara's reign - or lead to a hideous death. If she is successful, Maeve may open the door to a future she has not dared to believe possible.'
My thoughts: Please note that this is the sixth book in a series. With that in mind, I won't say much of the previous books (or, indeed, much about what happens in this one) to avoid spoilers. Know, though, that I am a huge fan of this series and have always adored the strong characters in these books.
As you can see from the summary, this book has some gruesome and difficult aspects to it. Particularly in regards to Maeve's disability. The story is narrated by Maeve and, throughout, we are able to see her thoughts plainly written on the page. I found Marillier's portrayal of a girl dealing with the limitations of her disability quite accurate, and, while sometimes her actions and words frustrated me, Maeve definitely showed how much her hands (and resulting damaged spirit) affected her.
During the course of the book, I found I could figure out SOME of what was going to happen before it did, but, for me, that made it no less enjoyable. There were also enough twists and turns to keep me feeling like I was being taken on a journey, and I loved that.
As with many of the other Sevenwaters books, I was repeatedly drawn in here by the connections to druidry and belief in something 'other'. Each book that comes out gives me something new to ponder, and I really truly hope that she will come out with a seventh one for this series.
One issue I did have this time round is that it took me a little while to get into this one (three separate reading attempts). This may have been a reflection of my state of mind when trying to read, but it disappeared as soon as I was a bit further into the book.
Keep up with what I'm reading here!