Do you know that feeling you get after waking up from a beautiful dream? Like there's a smile of intense happiness welling up inside you but it can't possibly fit on your face, so it just fills you up completely and overflows? That's what reading a great Marillier book is like. It's even better than dreaming because you can always go back and read it all over again.
I love that feeling and I absolutely love this book. I am full to the brim with feelings for this book. I admired Maeve for her blend of fortitude and gentleness, as well as her rather tart humor. She's a typical Marillier heroine in that, but with her this strength goes deeper because of her personal tragedies and insecurities. It means more with her, for some reason. I wanted to take Finbar into my arms and teach him how to laugh and be a silly person every now and then (something I am an expert in). I fell in love with Bear and Badger as dogs and as men, partly because I have dogs of my own and I couldn't help picturing the two of them in their place (though I doubt mine would go as far for me as Bear and Badger did for Maeve and Finbar). I often had to stop myself from crying while reading this at work, and most of the time it was because of their unabashed love and loyalty for Maeve. I was ready to love Luachan, and so felt the blow of his betrayal just as Maeve did, but also I couldn't hate him. I don't know if I would have done any differently, really. My small crush on Sean evolved into a huge crush -- for some reason seeing him dealing with other chieftains and also being so unsure yet protective with Maeve makes him even more admirable. Ciaran has always had my heart ever since he lost his to Niamh, and this time he broke it with his choice and the strength of his love for his family. My most fervent wish is for another Sevenwaters book to take place where we see him again and he is finally happy. He deserves it so much more than anyone else. Oh god there goes that little clutching feeling in my heart.
I was also happy to see mentions of Aisha and Conri, as well as the other members of the Sevenwaters family. Liadan and Bran still remain perfect to me, and I delighted in seeing Clodagh and Cathal and even Becan again.
The previous book, Seer of Sevenwaters
, was something of a disappointment -- not that it was in any way a bad book, but as an installment in Marillier's Sevenwaters series, it fell a bit short. Flame of Sevenwaters
, however, was absolutely excellent. Back when I was reading Child of the Prophecy
and Maeve had just been terribly injured in that fire, I knew she would eventually become a heroine of her own story. And what a story it was.