Child of the Prophecy - Juliet Marillier Reading this book made me realize how perfect the protagonists of the previous Sevenwaters books were.

Sorcha and Liadan were model women in their community and among their peers. They were sure of their identities and the decisions they made. They had the uncanny ability to see beyond the actions of their decisions and fully realize the consequences even before they were faced with the choices. They were strong women who were able to grab fate in a chokehold, stare it down, and proceed to calmly walk down the path of their own destiny.

In light of this, it must really suck to be unsure of one's own motives and to be conflicted with the concept of identity. In other words, to be a normal person.

Fainne is a different sort of woman from Sorcha and Liadan. Raised in solitude by her distant father, haunted by the death of her mother, and manipulated by her evil sorceress grandmother, no wonder Fainne is so unsure of herself. When she is sent to Sevenwaters, we constantly witness her struggle to balance her desire to become a member of a family and to carry out her grandmother’s ill will against Sevenwaters. The comparison between Fainne and characters like Liadan, Sean, and the near mythical Johnny is stark. Eventually, Fainne is able to carve out her own path and become a strong woman in her own right, but not without overcoming many difficulties.

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, like all of Juliet Marillier’s works, this story has a sort of magic that whisks you away from reality and settles you comfortably in the refuge of Sevenwaters. But on the other hand, I found the perspective of Fainne to be uncomfortable. She’s a very mislead individual, but there were some things that she did that I strongly disliked.

What stands out most is when she seduced Eamonn by playing upon his desire for her, and his desire for vengeance. This act really disgusted me. It made me lose a lot of respect for not only Eamonn but also Fainne, which is a bit unfair I admit, considering how manipulated she was by a grandmother who did exactly the same thing. But while Oonagh was driven by vengeance and had a clear goal in mind, that Fainne is capable of such a thing when all of her instincts tell her NO really made me question her character and morality. I also questioned her slow realization that the amulet was not a good thing. It seemed so obvious from the start that the amulet was something that manipulated. Maybe it’s because I’m a naturally suspicious person so I tend to question people more, but I couldn’t see why Fainne vacillated so often between semi-trusting a grandmother who wouldn’t hesitate to kill her own son. Fainne doesn’t even start to question her grandmother’s motives until the book is over halfway done.

It's not that I dislike flawed characters. But Fainne's flaws made me dislike aspects of her character. I don't doubt my reservations about Fainne’s character are largely personal issues, but they were severe enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book.

All in all, 3 stars. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for quality fiction that deals with themes of growing up and finding one’s identity. This rendition wasn’t my cup of tea, but I think that is largely a result of personal preference than anything else. I could definitely see other people loving this and five-starring it. But not for me.

3 stars and recommended