Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Swan Kingdom

Title: The Swan Kingdom
Author: Zoe Marriot
Publication Date: March 2008
Amazon Link
My copy: Advanced Reading Copy
My opinion: 4/5

Product Details:
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763634816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763634810

Product Description:
Shadows fall across the beautiful, lush kingdom after the queen is attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger, a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land. But Alexandra has more gifts than she realizes as she confronts magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces, and is unflinchingly brave as she struggles to reclaim what is rightfully hers. Fantasy lovers will be held in thrall by this tale full of visual detail, peppered with a formidable destructive force and sweetened with familial and romantic love.

My review: I have always loved the retellings of fairy tales. Like Cinderella, Han's Christian Anderson's stories are often retold. This story is a retelling of the Wild Swans. I've always liked this particular story, ever since I read a chapter book in my teens about the brother who had one wing because she couldn't finish the shirt in time (if anyone remembers the title of this story, please leave a comment). Zoe Marriot's version is told in the first person, and reminds me of other quest-related fantasy stories - in other words, it has a really good rhythm and a great descriptive narrative. I would compare it to Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days and Robin McKinley's Beauty. The ending has a twist that was unexpected and quite pleasing. The magic within the story is the type that is a give and take of the land, reminescent of fey lines. So the magic just doesn't come out of nowhere, like a fairy tale, if you are concerned about such things. This is more about a story of a daughter and sister and how she copes with adversity and loss. The love story within is also sweet and is based upon realistic friendship. If you love fairy tales as much as I do, you will love this story.

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