Daughter of the Forest
Mythological fantasy/fairy tale
Daughter of the Forest was an excellent fairy tale retelling that mixed fantasy, mythological, and romance elements. Recommended!
Daughter of the Forest is based on the fairy tale The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen. Sorcha, youngest and only girl of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters' seven children, has an idyllic childhood, surrounded by brothers who adore her and given little adult supervision. Her life changes, however, when her father marries and Sorcha's new stepmother – a wicked stepmother, naturally – binds her brothers in an enchantment. Only Sorcha can break the spell, but she must remain silent while she works to do so, without exception. Sorcha must make difficult choices and
If you've ever read any of Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tales (rather than the Disney versions), you'll know that he is all about the suffering. Don't get me wrong, you should absolutely read this book, but suffering is definitely present, and most of Sorcha's journey and tasks are downright unpleasant. I loved the book, but fair warning before you pick it up.
Despite that, I breezed through this one. I read it around hours 18-23 of the 24 hour read-a-thon, which, as anyone who does the read-a-thon knows, are normally the most difficult hours to get through. Reading this book, I didn't feel tired at all and had no desire to stop for sleep until I finished. Hopefully that gives you an idea of just how enthralling it was. Daughter of the Forest is the sort of book you just can't seem to stop reading and don't want to.
My only real complaint (the bit about the suffering was a warning, not a complaint) was that the characters were a bit flat. Most of the good guys were paragons of virtue, while most of the bad guys were unequivocally selfish bastards. The exceptions almost seemed as if they existed to provide exceptions rather than naturally arising from the characters' natures. However, it's a fairy tale, so I probably should have expected that simplicity.
Overall, Daughter of the Forest was a great start to this series. It was a complete story in itself, so if you wanted to read it as a standalone you certainly could, but the hints of a larger narrative were definitely there. Basically it had an excellent balance between story and series.
In the same aisle
Deerskin by Robin McKinley