When I heard that this book was to be set in Inis Eala, I was excited. I wanted to see what life was like in the island of warriors and artisans that was Bran and Liadan's legacy. Perhaps this would have been better done from the point of view of a character who joined the warriors in their daily life (Eilis, Sibeal's youngest sister, seems likely to thrive in this setting and would have given an immersive account of the day to day details).
Seer of Sevenwaters is an excellent story, filled with the usual elements that make Marillier's books so difficult to forget, such as brave and inspiring heroines, fantastic creatures, and heartwarming family bonds, but there was something that this book lacked. There was nothing in this book that wrenched a reaction of pure emotion from me the way the first two stories in the Sevenwaters books did. It's true that I couldn't put it down and read it in a single day, but I'm not in the usual delighted and slightly mushy stupor that Marillier's books often leave me in.
Another part of this story that let me down was the way Sibeal and Felix's romantic dilemma was resolved: with words, not action. The more they protested their devotion to each other (articulately, yes, but it became a little bit mawkish at one point), the more they seemed to become young and silly teenagers in love. In the past, the heroes of Marillier's stories never really had to resort to declaiming their passions at length, because you could feel how strong their bond was without all the words. Sibeal and Felix's bond was undeniable, but the depth of it somehow eluded me.
Still, I'm not out of love with this book and with Marillier's prose just yet. There was magic in this book, and Svala's story was beautiful and sad. I'm glad that this doesn't seem to be the last book in the Sevenwaters series -- Mac Dara's still out there causing trouble, and giving Marillier one more chance to break our hearts and make us whole again.