Hot Best Seller

The Well of Shades

Availability: Ready to download

Author: Juliet Marillier

Published: May 15th 2007 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2007)

Format: Paperback , 625 pages

Isbn: 9780765309976

Language: English


Compare

Juliet Marillier continues the epic fantasy begun with" The Dark Mirror, " which" Interzone" called: "A fascinating evocation of life in Pictish England and an emotional roller coaster of a story." King Bridei is a man with a mission. His wish to unite his kingdom seems almost within his grasp but there are forces working to undo his dream. He sends Faolan, his most truste Juliet Marillier continues the epic fantasy begun with" The Dark Mirror, " which" Interzone" called: "A fascinating evocation of life in Pictish England and an emotional roller coaster of a story." King Bridei is a man with a mission. His wish to unite his kingdom seems almost within his grasp but there are forces working to undo his dream. He sends Faolan, his most trusted advisor (who is also a master assassin and spymaster) out into the world to ferret out the truth of who is friend and who is foe. Along the way Faolan will uncover many truths. Some may hold the key to Bridei's future. But more important, they may unlock the secrets that Faolan has held deep within his soul for decades. And offer him the chance of redemption.

30 review for The Well of Shades

  1. 4 out of 5

    Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)

    This is the third and last book of the Bridei Chronicles, and it will be a long time before I get these characters and their story out of my head. I even have dreamed about them at night - I never do that! This beautiful story takes place in sixth century Scotland and the series itself begins with Bridei coming to be foster son to the Druid Broichan at the age of four and the books go through the first years of him being King of Fortriu. However it is not Bridei's story alone but the story of th This is the third and last book of the Bridei Chronicles, and it will be a long time before I get these characters and their story out of my head. I even have dreamed about them at night - I never do that! This beautiful story takes place in sixth century Scotland and the series itself begins with Bridei coming to be foster son to the Druid Broichan at the age of four and the books go through the first years of him being King of Fortriu. However it is not Bridei's story alone but the story of those around him. The Well of Shades is Faolan's story and he may well be my favorite male character ever. In this book Faolan combines a mission for Bridei with a quest to face his very dark past. He did something too terrible for him to ever share with anyone when he was seventeen and has never returned to his home or known what followed after he left that bloody night. Due to events in the second book, he is becoming a changed man from the cold "King's assassin" he had become. The third part of his mission is to seek out his fallen companion's family and tell them how he died. Faolan's journey is one of bravery, despair, discovery, and love of not only a woman but a child. This story goes back and forth between what is happening to Faolan and what is happening in Bridei's court, but it is done smoothly and since it is all happening simultaneously it all needs to be read in that way. Marillier's characters make the reader care so much about them and they are so totally individuals. Bridei's wife Tuala is from the Otherworld, their son (whose story I want written!) has special gifts at the tender age of two. This is also the time when Christianity is coming to the land where the Old Religion has been since time immortal, and Marillier is not afraid to address this especially in this book. LOVED LOVED LOVED this trilogy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    By far the best of the three Bridei Chronicles! Finished it on a five hour flight back from Seattle, keeping the people beside me awake with my reading light (I had the dreaded middle seat). I just couldn't put it down! *So many EMOTIONS!!* **SPOILERS*~*~*~*~*~* I felt so brokenhearted for Foalan at the end of Blade of Fortrui that I just knew J.M. would have to give him a love story and heal all of his brokenness. I loved that that person ended up being Deord's daughter! She was such an amazing By far the best of the three Bridei Chronicles! Finished it on a five hour flight back from Seattle, keeping the people beside me awake with my reading light (I had the dreaded middle seat). I just couldn't put it down! *So many EMOTIONS!!* **SPOILERS*~*~*~*~*~* I felt so brokenhearted for Foalan at the end of Blade of Fortrui that I just knew J.M. would have to give him a love story and heal all of his brokenness. I loved that that person ended up being Deord's daughter! She was such an amazing character, albeit a little on the young side. I loved her little Squirrel, Saraid and her doll Sorry- so sweet! I think what made this book so good was all the twists and surprises: Saraid being Elie's daughter who is Deord's daughter (when Foalan thought he only had a sister left); how Foalan's long lost sister ended up queen and a tyrannical one at that; how all this time I felt so bad for Bridei because I thought Carnnach had betrayed him when all along he was gathering great information; how Ana's sister turns out to be uber evil. So many things were surprises that I just kept turning page after page. And how much do you hate Breda?! I wanted to slap her silly so many times! How in the world did she end up so different from Ana? She was awful to the core and her priorities were so screwed up. It's sad to know that people like that really exist (that church that protests at soldier's funerals come to mind). I started to get really disappointed when I thought her only punishment was going to be living in exile with her aunt. Thankfully, Breda's rage and stupidity fixed that for me and none of my favorite characters got blood on their hands (Although, I wasn't going to blame Foalan if he strangled her to death lol). And at the end, when Foalan and Elie are finally together and she's not scared of him just melted my heart. Foalan will make such a good Dad for Saraid. It's not often I find characters that make me really feel like I could sit down with them and have a conversation, but the characters in this book definitely do. What a perfect ending to the Bridei Chronicles!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Filipa

    My favorite book of the trilogy, I have no words to express how much I love Faolan. I am so happy he found the perfect person for him. Juliet continues to surprise me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sabine

    I read the first two in the series in December adn loved them. This one I would say is my favorite. The main character Faolan, is complex, likeable, and enduring. The only thing that was hard was that I loved his story so much and the book tells more than one story at a time, all of which interconnect, that I found myself bugged when it left him to talk about someone else. The other characters are worthwhile thoug, especially if you have read the first two. Marillier is a master story teller tha I read the first two in the series in December adn loved them. This one I would say is my favorite. The main character Faolan, is complex, likeable, and enduring. The only thing that was hard was that I loved his story so much and the book tells more than one story at a time, all of which interconnect, that I found myself bugged when it left him to talk about someone else. The other characters are worthwhile thoug, especially if you have read the first two. Marillier is a master story teller that combines fantasy and history in such an intriguing way that you get lost in what is real and what is not. The books take place in Scottland, and she has done her historical homework. The story tells of Faolan, the king's bodyguard/assain. In the beginning he travels to his homeland of Ireland for 3 purposes. To set right his own past, to relate the news of the death of a friend (this happens in book 2) to his family, and to do some spying for King Bridei. His life becomes entangled with that of a young girl and her daughter who he rescues, only to have her end up rescuing him in more ways than one. It is fun and imaginative.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa (Books Take You Places)

    Oh, I loved it. I loved it so much. The Well of Shades was by far the best book of the Bridei Chronicles. I love how strong and compassionate Eile was, and I loved Faolan. I loved Faolan beyond words, really. He has quickly made it to the top of my list of favorite Marillier men (after Bran, of course). The relationship between the two was fierce and absolutely heart wrenching. The continuation of Bridei, Tuala, and Briochan's story was enthralling and I found myself liking these characters much Oh, I loved it. I loved it so much. The Well of Shades was by far the best book of the Bridei Chronicles. I love how strong and compassionate Eile was, and I loved Faolan. I loved Faolan beyond words, really. He has quickly made it to the top of my list of favorite Marillier men (after Bran, of course). The relationship between the two was fierce and absolutely heart wrenching. The continuation of Bridei, Tuala, and Briochan's story was enthralling and I found myself liking these characters much more than I had in the previous two novels. The Well of Shades broke my heart, and kept me guessing. It was full of intrigue and love in many forms. I am only sorry that Juliet Marillier couldn't continue on with this series as she had planned as it is one of her very best. I would have loved to have seen what came of Saraid and Derelei's friendship. Highly recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    J.A. Ironside

    This was my fourth re-read of this book and I stand by my original rating. While I've only read the first book in this trilogy once and the second book twice, this is one that I keep coming back too. I'm not sure if it's because Faolan is my favourite character in the series or if it's because this book's central premise is far more about accepting the burden of trauma and learning to move beyond it, learning to recognise kindness and stop seeing the world as an enemy. Or perhaps because the bul This was my fourth re-read of this book and I stand by my original rating. While I've only read the first book in this trilogy once and the second book twice, this is one that I keep coming back too. I'm not sure if it's because Faolan is my favourite character in the series or if it's because this book's central premise is far more about accepting the burden of trauma and learning to move beyond it, learning to recognise kindness and stop seeing the world as an enemy. Or perhaps because the bulk of Faolan's arc is him confronting his past and continuing to grow after the events of the previous book - ultimately accepting that there is more strength in being open to human emotion than their is in being walled off from it. And then there's the ongoing theme of learning to accept that your parents aren't perfect and made mistakes, but finding ways to forgive them - whether that's Faolan's family who cast him out, or Tuala's father who refused to acknowledge her as his daughter or Eile's father who was so damaged by incarceration that he abandoned his own family with disastrous consequences. Whatever it is, I still love this book. There's a cracking villain too. Obviously the terms 'toxic narcissist' and 'sociopath' were not in common use during 6th C Pictish Scotland but they'd both definitely fit here. Ultimately this is a case of the book not being perfect but being perfect for me. And it definitely isn't perfect. The dialogue is far to expositionary a lot of the time and the romance almost crosses into saccharine in places. Added to which, if you're the sort of person who reads historical novels and freaks out at age gaps between romantically involved characters, you should probably not read this. (Or almost any histfic to be honest.) Otherwise I highly recommend this historical fantasy. It's a great ensemble piece and you can read it as a standalone (although if you read the other two books first you'll probably find the experience more rewarding.) Still a favourite.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    In The Well of Shades, Bridei is so close to finally realizing his dream of united and peaceful Fortriu. But he knows it is crucial to discover who are his true allies and those who are simply biding their time to strike once again. For this delicate mission, Bridei once again turns to his trusted friend and spymaster Faolan (yay!) who is not a little unchanged after his disastrous mission to the Caitts in The Blade of Fortriu. Hoping to finally put some of demons to rest, Faolan begins a journe In The Well of Shades, Bridei is so close to finally realizing his dream of united and peaceful Fortriu. But he knows it is crucial to discover who are his true allies and those who are simply biding their time to strike once again. For this delicate mission, Bridei once again turns to his trusted friend and spymaster Faolan (yay!) who is not a little unchanged after his disastrous mission to the Caitts in The Blade of Fortriu. Hoping to finally put some of demons to rest, Faolan begins a journey to his homeland to collect intelligence and to fulfill a dying promise to a trusted friend. What he finds is Eile, a young girl who has more strength than Faolan has ever encountered. To be honest, I really didn't know what to expect with this final installment in the Bridei story. While it does follow Faolan on his journey's for a large portion of the book, Ms. Marillier did manage to spend quality time with Bridei and Tuala and their many struggles at Cloud Hill for much of the story. Which was a happy reunion for this reader to be sure. How gratifying it was to see Bridei handling the challenges of being a king in a true partnership with Tuala. I just love the trust and respect between those two. And then there's Faolan. Goodness, I couldn't have imagined a better ending for that scarred man. Eile was a perfect feisty and fearless yet totally selfless foil to Ana's pale boring goodness (I know, harsh) from the previous book. Honestly, she's probably one of my new favorite Marillier heroines (right up there with Sorcha and Liadan) and I couldn't think of anyone better to challenge and love Faolan. All said and done, this was a stand-out series with intricately woven conflicts and much in the way of the power of redemption. There's a reason I will read simply anything Juliet Marillier writes. This series is a prime example.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    A perfect ending to a perfect series. It was simply delightful. When trying to describe my feeling towards a Juliet Marillier book, I find I am nearly always lost for words. Only another reader of her books can understand.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ângela

    Wow... This book was amazing! This is my favourite J. Marillier book. And this saga (Bridei Chronicles) is also my favourite. And yes I read the Sevenwaters saga. What can I say more? The characters, were the best ever, Faolan, has been present thorugh all the saga, since book one, but this last volume is focus on him and his passed. He is my favourite character. (view spoiler)[A boy, who was a bard, forced to hurt his family in order to save them, turns himself into a brilliant spy for the enemy of Wow... This book was amazing! This is my favourite J. Marillier book. And this saga (Bridei Chronicles) is also my favourite. And yes I read the Sevenwaters saga. What can I say more? The characters, were the best ever, Faolan, has been present thorugh all the saga, since book one, but this last volume is focus on him and his passed. He is my favourite character. (view spoiler)[A boy, who was a bard, forced to hurt his family in order to save them, turns himself into a brilliant spy for the enemy of his nation. Falls in love, something that he believed that was impossible and unnessessary, and have a second chance to make peace with all the shadows of his past. (hide spoiler)] This chacarter is not only captivating but also unberably human. I just love it. "Sorry's sad. Crying." She held the doll against her shoulder, patting its back. "Oh. Why is she sad?" "Sorry wants Feeler come back." It was like a punch in the gut. She had thought Saraid had forgotten him; she had assumed new friends and a safe haven would drive the memories of that long journey across country, just the three of them, from her daughter's mind. Foolish. The images of that time were still bright and fresh in her own head; she dreamed of them every night. Why should Saraid be any different just because she was small?” Eile, another amazing character, a fair and powerful feminine heroine, whose been to hell and back, took care of her infant daughter, in spite of all they been through, and still somehow, carries a pure and honest heart, attached with a fierce will and an unconditionly love and hope for the future. An inexhaustible source of female power! The story line was also amazing, and the rest of characters fulfil their part beautifully and logiclly. 5***** stars, for this masterpiece!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    With spymaster Faolan back, Bridei is anxious to send him on a covert mission to ferret out enemy from friend. Usually cool and unaffected Faolan is not unchanged, however after his peril-fraught return to Cloud Hill, and part of that includes his personal life: confronting his dark past at home and fulfilling the promise of a now deceased friend and protector along the way. In Erin he meets Eile, a strong, distrusting young girl living in more tragic circumstances than even he knows. What he'll With spymaster Faolan back, Bridei is anxious to send him on a covert mission to ferret out enemy from friend. Usually cool and unaffected Faolan is not unchanged, however after his peril-fraught return to Cloud Hill, and part of that includes his personal life: confronting his dark past at home and fulfilling the promise of a now deceased friend and protector along the way. In Erin he meets Eile, a strong, distrusting young girl living in more tragic circumstances than even he knows. What he'll find is that they both need each other equally. Meanwhile Bridei has his own problems - personal and public - to deal with at home as Derelei's otherworldly skills grow and he seeks to replace the Light Isles royal captive with an uneasy truce with the Nameless God looming. This series has gotten better and better with each book and The Well of Shades is no exception. Complicated Faolan has always held so much potential as a character and lives up to it here. It's disarming to see him open up his emotional side and finally be healed from all his pent up pain. Eile, too, was so well developed and the perfect match for him. Both of their lives have been unimaginatively tough and I really felt something for them, my eyes welling up a few times. I love how they both literally rescue one another from one emotional and physically harmful situation to another. Eile is a true heroine. As with the previous books the chapters often alternate between what's happening with Bridei and the main character. I enjoyed the variety and interconnected plot lines this format offers but still found it unavoidable to look ahead to the next Faolan/Eile chapter. Nonetheless I was continually surprised when I found each chapter, whether about Briochan, Tuala, or Bridei just as interesting as the one before, the story was so well paced. Tuala's parentage and the complex issues surrounding it are also compelling as is Bridei's struggle juggling both family life and kingly duties. Faolan's much fought for happiness is deeply satisfying and the world of Fortriu and the old gods v. Christianity debate has left many interesting avenues open for another book. I can't wait to see where Juliet Marillier takes all the characters with the myriad of promising options open to her. Serious fangirl love to Marillier. She has yet to disappoint.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    The Well of Shades was a wonderful and strong finish to The Bridei Chronicles. I can't really stress enough how much I admire and love Juliet Marillier's character and world building. She is just an amazing fantasy author and I look forward to reading everything she has writer. I was very happy to be following Faolan once again, this time however I was following his on a journey to his homeland. Faolan returns back to the land of Gaels to not only confront his own past, but to honor a promise to The Well of Shades was a wonderful and strong finish to The Bridei Chronicles. I can't really stress enough how much I admire and love Juliet Marillier's character and world building. She is just an amazing fantasy author and I look forward to reading everything she has writer. I was very happy to be following Faolan once again, this time however I was following his on a journey to his homeland. Faolan returns back to the land of Gaels to not only confront his own past, but to honor a promise to a fallen friend and bring back crucial information for King Bridei. Of course, these things do not always go as planned and Faolan finds his path interwoven with the tiny yet terrifying Eile. Eile, who is the daughter of Deord, the man whos heroic death let Ana, Faolan and Drustan escape from Alpin's captivity, is an extremely abused young woman with a three year old daughter. Faolan quickly comes to realize that his duty may take him even farther with this girl than he had planned. It was great to have Faolan reconcile with his family and realize that they still loved him and did not blame him for his past actions. I enjoyed seeing Faolan brought out his shell even further as he and Eile traveled together and began to care for one another. This book was very exciting and sometimes nail-bitingly good. There was a lot of other things going on as well in the plot of things, but I won't give a full reveiw of the book. Just the highlights which, IMO, were the parts with Faolan and Eile. This book was wonderfully written and a great read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I absolutely loved this book, there were parts that completely consumed me. Faolan is probably in my top three favorite heroes of all time, and I thought his and Eile's story was one of the best I've read, loved it. I docked it a star because of the sexual content (I hate it when there's so much sexual content, it's unnecessary, plus then I feel like I can't recommend it and I SO want to recommend this one) and also, like the previous books in this series, it was a bit long. I'm over the whole B I absolutely loved this book, there were parts that completely consumed me. Faolan is probably in my top three favorite heroes of all time, and I thought his and Eile's story was one of the best I've read, loved it. I docked it a star because of the sexual content (I hate it when there's so much sexual content, it's unnecessary, plus then I feel like I can't recommend it and I SO want to recommend this one) and also, like the previous books in this series, it was a bit long. I'm over the whole Bridei/Tuala/Broichan drama, I felt she spent way way way way too much time on them. I wanted to scream in frustration every time she left Faolan to follow B/T/B. And I was completely uninterested in the travels and mission of Brother Suibne and Brother Colm, she could have left that story line out and it wouldn't have affected the story at all IMO. That being said, definitely my favorite of this series and my second favorite of all her books, I love this author.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I wanted to give this 5 stars. I really did. I loved Faolan and Eile's story so much, I had a hard time putting it down, and hated when the story switched to other side stories involving other characters. It did all come together in the end, but throughout the story I had a hard time staying interested in the other characters. It really started to become a little too wordy. Lots of events could have been summed up nicely with much fewer words in my opinion. Still a good read. I read several hund I wanted to give this 5 stars. I really did. I loved Faolan and Eile's story so much, I had a hard time putting it down, and hated when the story switched to other side stories involving other characters. It did all come together in the end, but throughout the story I had a hard time staying interested in the other characters. It really started to become a little too wordy. Lots of events could have been summed up nicely with much fewer words in my opinion. Still a good read. I read several hundred pages all in one day while my daughter is recovering from tonsil surgery. I very much enjoyed this last one in this series. Juliet Marillier writes beautiful stories. Just a heads up...There is a couple of pages worth of one sex scene toward the end. It's more than what Marillier usually writes in her books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Faolan truly became one of my favourite character ever! Through the 3 books, and especially this one, we read the totally unveil of his story and especially how much he changed and allowed himself to feel again, to not be only a shadow anymore. Neither to say that i'm addicted to Juliet's books, i completely adore the way she writes and how i get immersed in the story and how rich the characters are.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆

    I love this series so very, very much (Yes! SERIES! I don't care that the published decided to stop publishing this SERIES after book three. I'll NEVAH call it a trilogy!) It's one of the few that I keep coming back to to check and see if a fourth book has been planned. Faolin and Eile's developing relationship was delightful. It's one of my favorites, to be honest. Both have honestly gone through hell. It's not a traditional love story but still!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sofiya

    Finally made the series worthwhile. The other two books were slow, and did not have enough romance in them to justify the random couples springing up. Certain characters were headaches throughout the whole series and made me skip over anything that mentioned their name; namely Broichan and Tuala. Broichan was just an a-grade jerk and his belated revelation did not help. Tuala stopped being believable as soon as she became boy-crazy in Book 1 and then morphed into Generic Female Character without Finally made the series worthwhile. The other two books were slow, and did not have enough romance in them to justify the random couples springing up. Certain characters were headaches throughout the whole series and made me skip over anything that mentioned their name; namely Broichan and Tuala. Broichan was just an a-grade jerk and his belated revelation did not help. Tuala stopped being believable as soon as she became boy-crazy in Book 1 and then morphed into Generic Female Character without any of her earlier identifying characteristics after Book 1. However, that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying this series finale - it focused on the right people, it had a believable sequence of events, good romance (but frankly if you're here for the romance like me, waiting three books for a decent instance is overkill). Both Faolan and Eile acted reliably, believably and like a "real" fantasy hero/heroine, a first for this series. When they behaved a bit stupidly, I was on side, even if my own actions would have differed. The other leads did not get me on side for their mistakes and sometimes were all-too-perfect half the time (Bridei) but not when it counts. I was glad that Eile's character brooked no sympathy - it would have been so easy to fall back on a "make a broken character and just generate sympathy all book long" formula. That doesn't mean all victims of abuse have to be strong 100% of the time, but otherwise, in a work of fiction it can feel contrived and makes me very angry if poorly done. I thought writing about her feelings, her thoughts, and her determination was the absolute right way to approach something like this (or the easiest way anyway - lucky she was a strong girl). I hate it when the victims of domestic abuse are just as faceless as the perpetrators - they're just there for a moment of shock and then gone from the story - a common tactic in medieval fiction/series. Marillier's writing gets personal as she blames Anda's character for not stopping her husband from abusing Eile. I can see why but it seems a little unprofessional - she does have Eile forgive her later though. ("Forgiving" a fellow victim - heavy handed much?) I discuss this in such detail because it is the backbone of the story. Without it really falls apart. This is the story of two abused, traumatised people finding a redeeming hope in the world and falling in love, and meanwhile coping how they can. As Faolan says, though, poor people are everywhere - it makes it hard for me believe Eile's rise in the ranks and her changed fortune. It's a happy ending, what can I say? I'm glad for that, though, I don't want to see killjoys whenever I read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara ★

    A superbly written tale of love, friendship, betrayal and war. It's been years since I've read the previous two books in the series (2009) so I had to reacquaint myself with Fortriu and it's characters before I could get back into the story but I'm so glad I persevered. I've always like Faolan and so wanted his HEA but knowing it wasn't going to be Ana figured he'd have to go a traveling again. After Blade of Fortriu, it was apparent that Faolan was going on another mission - partly King's busin A superbly written tale of love, friendship, betrayal and war. It's been years since I've read the previous two books in the series (2009) so I had to reacquaint myself with Fortriu and it's characters before I could get back into the story but I'm so glad I persevered. I've always like Faolan and so wanted his HEA but knowing it wasn't going to be Ana figured he'd have to go a traveling again. After Blade of Fortriu, it was apparent that Faolan was going on another mission - partly King's business and partly personal. First off Faolan must inform Deord's kin of his heroic actions and his passing. Upon doing this, he rescues Deord's daughter, Eile and granddaughter, Saraid from imminent danger. Of course, Eile is his soul mate and the journey of discovery is long and romantic. Secondly, Faolan must deal with his dark past and reconnect with his family regardless of past events. This turns out to be the hardest thing Faolan has to accomplish on this trip. I loved how Eile was the catalyst in this encounter. Both Eile and Faolan have tragic pasts and must overcome their individual difficulties and in order to heal, must begin to rely on each other. Though Faolan and his journey are the main focus of the book, there are quite a few other ongoing plots that draw the reader away from Faolan and his troubles. King Bridei, Tuala, Derelei and the newest babe have their own crosses to bear including possible rebellion by a trusted friend, various conspiracies, Broichan's disappearance at such an important time, Derelei's untrained magic, the King of the Light Isles and his cousin making trouble and of course, the whole Druid versus Christian religions in Fortriu. And we cannot forget about Drustan and Ana who have their own trials and tribulations to overcome. This is a well-written story that ties up all the loose ends in the Bridei Chronicle as well as leave it open for a possible sequel or spin-off. At some point, I'd love to read Derelei's story as well as Saraid's. I sincerely hope that Ms. Marillier doesn't leave these two terrific children without a story of their own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    The Well of Shades by Juliet Marillier 2 out of 5 Stars I took a few days until I wrote this review after I finished reading. To make sure my feelings about it were more concrete instead of a confused torrent, so that I might do a fair review that wasn't full of my own personal frustrations. I've come to the conclusion that there is no way around this. I liked The Well of Shades. It was an interesting read. Wait... what? you must say. No, no, you heard me correctly. I enjoyed this book and still ga The Well of Shades by Juliet Marillier 2 out of 5 Stars I took a few days until I wrote this review after I finished reading. To make sure my feelings about it were more concrete instead of a confused torrent, so that I might do a fair review that wasn't full of my own personal frustrations. I've come to the conclusion that there is no way around this. I liked The Well of Shades. It was an interesting read. Wait... what? you must say. No, no, you heard me correctly. I enjoyed this book and still gave it 2 out of 5 stars. The reason being many things. Let me elaborate. First and foremost, The Bridei Chronicles started off with book 1 being about Tuala and Bridei; book two centered around Anna, Faolan, and Drustan; and book three was about Faolan, Eile, Saraid, and Christian zealots... the change in characters was awkward at best. My favorite was Faolon, unfortunately this book absolutely and utterly ruined him for me. They took the very soul of who he was and said NOPE , while completely making him into something unrecognizable. I could not stand Suibne's diary insertions. Or anything to do with Colm. It was like nails on a chalkboard to me. I came incredibly close to skipping these parts each time they sprang up. Another issue was stated in my review of Blade of Fortriu; that awkward romance thing. I started this series expecting, like all fantasy novels, to contain bits about this and of that, including romance. Unfortunately, for me, Marillier just makes it cringe-worthy. There are a few other minor issues with this or with that, but honestly, I find it too tedious to worry over the little things when there are glaring issues that are hard to see past. I am honestly glad this series is over. I don't think I could bring myself to read a fourth book from the Bridei Chronicles.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ab

    Another great book. Reading Marillier is like meditating - one needs to settle down and watch the plot to unfold. The writing is wonderful and here is why: - show, no tell. Yes, the story is full of dialogs, and still the story progresses not because someone tells you this story; - the language is rich. There are books out there that have difficulties with vocabulary, style, and use pronouns vs names. Not Marillier. The only downside is that the book is not entirely standalone. The plot does not Another great book. Reading Marillier is like meditating - one needs to settle down and watch the plot to unfold. The writing is wonderful and here is why: - show, no tell. Yes, the story is full of dialogs, and still the story progresses not because someone tells you this story; - the language is rich. There are books out there that have difficulties with vocabulary, style, and use pronouns vs names. Not Marillier. The only downside is that the book is not entirely standalone. The plot does not depend on the previous 2 books in the series, but one cares about the characters because we have been with them since the Book 1.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carla *Jen7waters*

    As an avid reader of this author, I can say that Marillier is a master in character development---and the male lead of this book, Faolan, is the perfect example of this. Since his first brief and yet totally memorable appearance in The Dark Mirror, Faolan intrigued me, and while I'm pretty sure that happened mostly because he was so mysterious, and clearly a wounded character with a dark past (my favorite type), along the series he became more and more fascinating because there are just so many As an avid reader of this author, I can say that Marillier is a master in character development---and the male lead of this book, Faolan, is the perfect example of this. Since his first brief and yet totally memorable appearance in The Dark Mirror, Faolan intrigued me, and while I'm pretty sure that happened mostly because he was so mysterious, and clearly a wounded character with a dark past (my favorite type), along the series he became more and more fascinating because there are just so many layers to him and I wanted to know them all, sob with joy, and thank the Gods for Juliet Marillier. There are so many things I could say about this book, I could talk about the nerve-wracking action scenes, the political drama, Bridei and Tuala, Ana and Drustan, or praise Juliet's beautiful, engaging, totally addictive writing, but ultimately I'll always recommend The Well of Shades because it tells a glorious tale of two brilliant central characters who have so many personal demons to fight, so many wounds to heal, who believe they are unworthy of love and of all things good in this world, and who totally prove each other wrong in the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Bush

    Another fantastic read in the Bridei series. On one hand, I think I enjoyed it the most; on the other...parts seem rushed. The Well of Shades is far more predictable than its predecessors, but still very good and hard to put down. (view spoiler)[ I was a little disappointed that Faolan, an man characterized by his inability to feel, fell in love not once but twice within the span of a few months. Sure, there is character growth, but considering Shades starts immediately following Blade, Elie seems Another fantastic read in the Bridei series. On one hand, I think I enjoyed it the most; on the other...parts seem rushed. The Well of Shades is far more predictable than its predecessors, but still very good and hard to put down. (view spoiler)[ I was a little disappointed that Faolan, an man characterized by his inability to feel, fell in love not once but twice within the span of a few months. Sure, there is character growth, but considering Shades starts immediately following Blade, Elie seems to be a rebound for a guy with his heart ripped out. Granted, Marillier does a fantastic job writing it so you never question Faolan and Elie's emotions due to their actions, but when you do the math, it's hard not to wonder. Also, I was also glad at how the whole release-Faolan-from-Annie's-grasp situation worked out. Quick and painless. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a bit of smoothing over throughout the book. Not a huge deal, but I wonder if some parts were needlessly cut. (hide spoiler)]

  22. 4 out of 5

    Autumn Doughton

    This book was soooo so good. Definitely the best in the Bridei series and maybe better than Daughter of the Forest (I have to sit on the statement for a little while before I decide for sure). My only complaint is that when the story jumped away from Faolan and Eile I was so frustrated--they were too interesting to leave them for even a half-chapter. Eile and her daughter, Saraid, were the most realistic of any of Marillier's characters and my heart bled, sighed and smiled for the two of them. Ma This book was soooo so good. Definitely the best in the Bridei series and maybe better than Daughter of the Forest (I have to sit on the statement for a little while before I decide for sure). My only complaint is that when the story jumped away from Faolan and Eile I was so frustrated--they were too interesting to leave them for even a half-chapter. Eile and her daughter, Saraid, were the most realistic of any of Marillier's characters and my heart bled, sighed and smiled for the two of them. Marillier did such a beautiful job of painting the brutal picture of Eile's life without going into too much graphic detail--just enough to be horrified. To be honest, I had not enjoyed this series as much as the Sevenwaters trilogy so I waited for this book to come out in paperback and now I'm kicking myself because I wish I owned it in hardback. If you're a fan of Juliet Marillier and didn't like books 1 and 2 of this series--keep going! This one is worth it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Day

    This is the ninth book by Juliet Marillier and, with the exception of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, it is my favorite. I did not care as much for the first two books of the Bridei Chronicles. They were beautiful to read, as all of Marillier's novels are, and the history on which they are based is very interesting (and the reason I kept reading them), but I didn't find myself falling in love with the characters as I had in the Sevenwaters Trilogy. That is, until Faolan was developed more in Book #2. T This is the ninth book by Juliet Marillier and, with the exception of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, it is my favorite. I did not care as much for the first two books of the Bridei Chronicles. They were beautiful to read, as all of Marillier's novels are, and the history on which they are based is very interesting (and the reason I kept reading them), but I didn't find myself falling in love with the characters as I had in the Sevenwaters Trilogy. That is, until Faolan was developed more in Book #2. The book ultimately disappointed me because (SPOILER) it ended with Faolan getting his heart broken. (END SPOILER) However, that I am no able to forgive that ending simpley because without it, this story would not exist, and neither would my second and third favorites Marillier's characters, Eile and Saraid. This was truly and enjoyable and compelling read and it had be up until six in the morning three nights in a row. I also review books on my blog: http://irissel.blogspot.com/

  24. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Holsinger

    Definitely going to go through withdrawal regarding these characters. I'm not sure if that is because she is a good writer or just because I zoomed through the books so quickly they sort of consumed my life. It was a delightful dive into fantasy but I'm not sure I would recommend the author. In hindsight her characters were too trite, too tidy. I realize each of these trilogies is essentially a love story between two odd characters who have to struggle before they are united. Kind of seems more Definitely going to go through withdrawal regarding these characters. I'm not sure if that is because she is a good writer or just because I zoomed through the books so quickly they sort of consumed my life. It was a delightful dive into fantasy but I'm not sure I would recommend the author. In hindsight her characters were too trite, too tidy. I realize each of these trilogies is essentially a love story between two odd characters who have to struggle before they are united. Kind of seems more like romance than fantasy. A good fantasy may certainly have a bit of romance in it but that isn't where the story ends - the story ends with the adventure over, with the obstacles overcome, with peace on the horizon. Although there were certainly obstacles and such, they seemed more there to serve the romantic story than vice versa. Ugh... not quite as a bad as a Nicholas Sparks book but the more I think about the lower I want to rate it. Sigh... Robin Hobb - you set the bar pretty high.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Latharia

    Another beautifully stirring tale by Juliet Marillier. It has a little bit of everything: historical fiction, sweeping romance, grand adventures, heinous villains, and irrepressible heroes (big and small). I am looking forward to reading Heir to Sevenwaters & have put it on my wishlist for my birthday! Another beautifully stirring tale by Juliet Marillier. It has a little bit of everything: historical fiction, sweeping romance, grand adventures, heinous villains, and irrepressible heroes (big and small). I am looking forward to reading Heir to Sevenwaters & have put it on my wishlist for my birthday!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    Juliet Marillier is brilliant, I love how she mixes fantasy with real human emotions and hardships. Although I read the previous two books in the series a few years ago, I stepped straight back into their world. My biggest worry now is that I've read almost all her books :(

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    This is my favorite of the trilogy. I love Faloan and hearing more of his growth and story. I love hearing about his family. There still managed to be plenty of intrigue and danger, even with old enemies defeated.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandrus

    I have enjoyed all the 3 books in these series. In this last book we finally come to know Faolan's secrets and the remarkable change that he goes through.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brittney Tyler

    Star Rating: 5 stars Note: This is the final volume in the Bridei Chronicles so this will not be an in-depth review because of potential spoilers. Within the Bridei Chronicles series, I have always found Faolan to be the most interesting character so I was very excited when I realized that book 3 was going to focus on him getting his happy ending. Even though book 2 focused mostly on Ana and Drustan’s happy ending, Faolan went through some very intense character development so I really keen to see Star Rating: 5 stars Note: This is the final volume in the Bridei Chronicles so this will not be an in-depth review because of potential spoilers. Within the Bridei Chronicles series, I have always found Faolan to be the most interesting character so I was very excited when I realized that book 3 was going to focus on him getting his happy ending. Even though book 2 focused mostly on Ana and Drustan’s happy ending, Faolan went through some very intense character development so I really keen to see where he was going to end up, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. The main plot of this trilogy is that a group of influential individuals within the court of the king of Pictish Scotland are alarmed by the divisions that are starting to split the fabric of their early medieval society so they decide to take one of the young male members of the royal line (In this society and many others at the same time, the kingship was passed through the female line.) and retire to seclusion to raise him in a way that will ensure that he will be the king that Fortriu (This is what Pictish Scotland called itself in this time period) desperately needs-the one that can heal all the fractures. By this point in the trilogy, that king- Bridei- has heard rumbling that there may be something brewing in the kingdom across the sea-Erin-destined to be one day known as Ireland so he decides to send his “bodyguard”, Faolan, to investigate. This is partly because Bridei trusts no one to complete this mission with the sensitive touch that it required and partly because as a result of the character development Faolan went through in book 2 as he has his own reasons for wanting to go to Erin. While completing the mission, Faolan runs into a young woman named Eile and the little girl that is under her care, Saraid. This chance encounter sends Faolan on a journey he never knew he wanted or needed. Although this series’ main plot focuses on reuniting and repairing a kingdom thrown apart by war and ignorance, there is a collection of reoccurring themes, and the most prevalent one in this volume deals with the fact that everyone has a dark side that they must come to terms with and learn to accept. Multiple characters over the course of this volume go on journeys to learn to accept their aforementioned dark side. Broichan is the king’s druid and his chief advisor, but at the beginning of the book, a secret is reveled that causes him to leave court and go on a grueling journey through the wilderness to come to terms with the role that he now has to take on. Faolan has to return to his home country and confront his past in order to have his happy ending, and meeting Eile and Saraid just may be the best thing that has ever happened to him. Eile and Saraid’s journey is the most heart-breaking as they reside in a living hell until an unexpected hero in the shape of Faolan, literally, comes knocking at their door. Finally, a new character that we are introduced to in this volume, Breda, showcases what happens when one allows their dark side to fester until it consumes them and makes the previously mentioned examples all the more poignant. All of this is tied into a complex, extended allusion of wells, subterranean chambers, and the creatures/entities that may or may not reside within them and all goes down as Christianity starts to make its slow creep across the world, adding yet another layer of depth to the allusion by bringing in traditional Biblical motifs (At one point, the missionaries battle a sea serpent and Hell has always been thought to exist within caverns located deep within the earth, for a few examples.) The way that Marillier handles all this details and literary devices proves that she is one of the masters of her craft. All in all, this was a wonderful conclusion to the series, although I wish it could have gone on for a few more volumes because I loved these characters so much. Even though this story had to end, Marillier has tons of others for me to explore, and I can’t wait to visit them as she is now, definitely, one of my all-time favorite authors, and I think the next one I will journey to is the world of Wildwood Dancing. 5 stars!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mousuke

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. “A Well of Shades” picks up almost immediately where the previous book left off. Having returned to his home country, Ireland, Faolin brings news of Deord’s death to his family. Their reaction is somewhat less than he expected, and he meets Deord’s daughter, Eile, who has been sexually abused from the age of eleven by her violent uncle. Out of duty and respect for Deord, Faolin takes Eile and her three-year-old by-blow daughter under his wing. The pacing of this book is as good as ever. For being “A Well of Shades” picks up almost immediately where the previous book left off. Having returned to his home country, Ireland, Faolin brings news of Deord’s death to his family. Their reaction is somewhat less than he expected, and he meets Deord’s daughter, Eile, who has been sexually abused from the age of eleven by her violent uncle. Out of duty and respect for Deord, Faolin takes Eile and her three-year-old by-blow daughter under his wing. The pacing of this book is as good as ever. For being 600 pages long, I never noticed the length. Marillier knows how to convey passage of time without extending the reader’s passage of time, and she changes perspectives enough to keep every plotline interesting. I was hooked from the very first page and read this book during all my meals. Of course, it helps that this book had two others before it to lay the groundwork for all the characters. The main plotline involving Faolin, Eile, and their inner demons was excellent. For all that I joke about this being “Faolin’s Romance Novel”, it was artistically done. Their relationship wasn’t so much about romance as it was about two wounded souls coming to terms with their individual pasts and setting a fresh start for the future. It was a believable and well-constructed relationship, and I bought it. I was thrilled to see more of Faolin and see still more sides to him. It was refreshing to meet Eile and watch what she does to the characters around her. Of all the romances in “The Bridei Chronicles”, this was the best one, not only because these were my favorite of the characters, but because their relationship was well developed, well crafted, and more about personal healing than about passion. As for the plotline involving Bridei, Tuala, and life at court, this is officially the book where everyone has kids. There are a lot of children in this book. Bridei and Tuala have two, Garth has three, and Bedo and Uvric, despite being about sixteen, are still very much kids themselves. I found that I appreciated the children when in the presence of Eile; being a young mother of a three-year-old daughter, her maternal love was fierce and I liked watching the children through her eyes. But outside of Eile, they bored me. Maybe this is because I don’t have kids so I don’t understand what it’s like, but I thought Bridei and Tuala were more interesting in their conversations removed from children. King Bridei’s quest to unite all the clans of Scotland continues, though it felt less pressing by this point. While I enjoyed his struggle to secure Carnach as an ally, I didn’t find it as interesting as whatever Faolin or Eile was getting up to. Faolin’s pretty BAMF in this book. Honestly, I didn’t think he could get much better than he was in “Blade of Fortriu,” but he was awesome here. “Well of Shades” was a gratifying read because Faolin’s wounded past, conflicted present, and inner demons were finally resolved. I enjoyed his family ties, whether it was reconciliation with his own family, honor to Deord’s family, or protection to Eile and her child. I loved watching the hardened edges of Faolin slowly crack as he rejuvenated and started over. Eile’s a compelling heroine. I liked her a lot more than I liked Ana from the previous book, and she became my favorite girl of “The Bridei Chronicles”. She’s a nice balance of fiery youth and grim wisdom. While at first I had misgivings about her role as a mother, this position ended up doing wonderful things for her character. Her maternal love for her daughter shines through and is a focal point of the story. My big complaint with characters in this book concerns the antagonists. Marillier usually has interesting villains both in the form of characters and personal inner demons that either haunt a character or force/frame them into misguided actions. “Well of Shades”, however, didn’t seem to have as compelling of a villain, and nor a villain to last the entire book. Rather, the story has three antagonists: Dalach (Eile’s abusive uncle), Aine/”The Widow” (Faolin’s younger sister), and Breda (Ana’s younger sister from the Light Isles). I’ll go over each of these in turn. Dalach lasted all of about two chapters but he had a lingering presence both in Eile’s criminal record and in Eile’s extreme fear of men. The legacy of his extreme sexual abuse haunted her for the duration of the story. I thought Dalach was handled well; I was glad he didn’t last long as a character, and I was intrigued by the power he held over Eile well after his death. I thought of Dalach as more of an “inner demon” of Eile rather than a physical antagonist. I appreciated his role in the story. The next villain, “The Widow,” was interesting, partly because we spend some amount of time trying to figure out her identity. It isn’t until her confrontation with Faolin that we realize she’s his youngest sister—the one he long thought dead. I was fascinated by how cold The Widow was in her relationship with Faolin. Faolin, who had always blamed himself for her supposed death, is overjoyed to learn she’s alive; The Widow, for her part, holds Faolin personally responsible for her predicament and ruthlessly punishes him. Their family dynamic and tangled past was fun to read, and I was sad that we only saw The Widow for about 100 pages. I would have liked to see things escalate between her and Faolin. However, I could also see how a plot revolving around The Widow would run dry, especially considering that it took Faolin and Eile far away from Bridei and Co. Which leaves us with Breda. Breda…oh, Breda. It (luke)warms my heart to see a villain so two-dimensional. When her older sister, Ana, marries Drustan, Breda arrives at court to fill the role of royal hostage from the Light Isles. Breda had the potential of being a good villain. She was vain, jealous, and highly unsympathetic toward others. She was also young—sixteen—and that intrigued me. But she was too overblown. Whereas Alpin was so piled with boorish qualities that it somehow worked, Breda could have benefited from a more subtle hand. She was too obvious. I knew from the first page of her introduction that she was a villain and we were expected to hate her. Moreover, she didn’t seem to press an immediate threat on the main characters, or even have a specific goal in mind—Breda’s excuse was that she was simply bored, so she construed a (poorly designed) plot to kill Eile and lose King Bridei’s firstborn son out in the wilderness. It didn’t add up. In my review of “Blade of Fortriu”, I covered all the reasons why I love and admire Marillier’s writing, and I won’t plague you with the longhand of it again. Suffice to say that she is able to write a story that is both emotionally centered and spiritually uplifting; that her description of the material evokes the ethereal; and that I cherish her writing not only for the story it tells but also for the beauty of her prose. Now I will make a few critical comments. Marillier’s writing style is very feminine, which works fine and well when the story follows a female character. She writes her male leads well (I wouldn’t be a fan of Faolin if he was poorly executed), but there were a few times where I caught myself thinking, “A man like Faolin wouldn’t be thinking that, or at least not in those words.” I also noticed that Marillier, who has always been rather coy with her sex scenes in a “fade into black” sort of way, took a more direct approach here to strange effect. While they weren’t explicit and by far not the raunchiest I’ve ever read, the description seemed out of place with the tone she’d set. “Flaccid” is probably one of my least favorite words in the English language, and I didn’t really need those comments about Faolin struggling to control his thrusts or how he “pumped his seed deep inside her.” Overall, I enjoyed “Well of Shades” as much as I enjoyed “Blade of Fortriu”, but for different reasons. With “Blade of Fortriu”, the plot was gripping, the character relationships intense, and I got to delve into Faolin’s character. It was also a bit depressing and featured Ana as the bland but pleasant heroine. “Well of Shades” didn’t have as good of a plot (or villain), but it did have two brilliant main characters that I really latched onto. I was glad to see Faolin again, and even gladder to see him find happiness. I enjoyed learning more details about Faoline’s past and watching him heal through his relationship with Eile. “Well of Shades” is an emotional journey which, while the subplots aren’t great, the characters carry well.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.