I love Juliet Marillier's books and I was eagerly looking forward to reading her latest, Flame Of Sevenwaters,feeling quite sure that my long wait would be more than amply rewarded. Maybe,of course, that was the trouble -my expectations were just too great. I was hoping for something with the drama , the romance and the magic of the earlier books and instead I found a rather tired facsimile.Oh, don't get me wrong, its a good read - Juliet is incapable of writing anything merely mediocre. But at the same time, for me at least, it was a disappointment. The familiar ingredients are all there,which is great, but there are differences too, maybe because Juliet has either become a little bored with her setting and her characters or, alternatively, determined not to repeat too assiduously the elements and patterns of her most loved and most successful novels. To start with,I don't much like Maeve. She is courageous,honest and resourceful but so were her sisters and THEY, for all their admirable qualities, were not boring!Maeve lacks charm or charisma and it has nothing to do with her physical disabilities, which she copes with very well. As for the love interest - well, Maeve's prospective husband is hardly fashioned from the stuff of romantic heroes like Red, Bran, Cathal and Ciaran!I cannot say more without giving away the story's twist (though its fairly obvious anyway} butIhave to confess that I found it almost impossible to suspend total disbelief.Shape-shifting is a favourite ploy of Juliet's but I can't help feeling that this time she has simply overstepped the mark. Oh, and to make matters worse (or better, depending on your point of view) Ciaran just outshines everyne else : the book really only springs to life when he appears upon the page.