Monday, July 26, 2010

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
Published: Oct 13, 2009
Details: 288 pages, hardcover
Series: No
Rating: 3 out of 5
Summary (goodreads):

A new voice in fantasy weaves a rich, entrancing tale of a girl with powerful healing gifts —- and the courage to use them to save her ailing kingdom.

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.

I hear this is a retelling of another story, but I don't know the original story and I don't think I've ever heard of it... so with that said!

The book starts with Alexandra going on about how plain she is, about her family, mostly about her brothers and mother. She goes into a little bit about the relationship between her and her father too. Alexandra is like her mother, she's a "healer". But I think her father had a lot to do with why Alexandra's mother never taught her more and never let her know the true extent of her powers. Which does not work in her favor later in the book.

Her father is bewitched by a girl named Zella and she manages to enchant everyone in the kingdom besides Alexandra and her brothers. After a terrible accident, Alexandra finds herself being sent to her mother's sister's house in Midland. The earth there isn't as well tended to as the kingdom and it sounds like a really depressing place. Her aunt wasn't my favorite person, she was white or black and everything had to be her way. She meets a boy at the beach and that's what helps her pass the days that she's stuck in Midland. 

The story goes on about how she's summoned back and how she has to defeat Zella. She realizes her brother's aren't coming back and she has to do something to free them. It goes on about her ache to go home, how things have changed, her longing for her brothers to come back and pretty much her sulking. I loves all the scenes when the boy (who's name isn't coming to me at the moment, sorry) is around. I loved his character and I loved her brother Robin's character. 

While Alexandra was a good character as well, I had a hard time connecting with her and I felt she didn't put much thought or effort into finding her true strength in her powers, even though many people have told her how strong she is. I hated that she sort of brushed it off and didn't think much about it after that. Zella was a great villain, she made my blood boil and I wanted to reach through the pages myself and strangle her. Along with Alexandra's father. 

Also, the book had nothing to do with a "swan kingdom". It had to do with a kingdom and it featured swans, but there was no "swan kingdom". 

I enjoyed this read, the description of the kingdom and the curiosity of Zella and how Alexandra would defeat her was interesting. Like I mentioned the scenes with the boy and her brother Robin were also enjoyable. This would make a good light fantasy summer read!

Favorite Line:


  1. Nice review! Zella is a piece of work. This story reminds me a little bit of Cinderella because it features a weak father who marries an evil woman after the mother dies.

    I liked this retelling of the Wild Swans but I much prefer Juliet Marillier's version, Daughter of the Forest. It is more similar to the original.

  2. It was a great kind of left me speechless. I wrote the review partly the night before...and then when I was finished reading I had the hardest time adding to it...haha.

    Hope you get it soon. :D