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The Swan Kingdom

af Zoe Marriott

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4071962,397 (3.71)37
When Alexa's mother is killed, her father marries a cunning and powerful woman and her brothers disappear, sending Alexa on a long, dangerous journey as she attempts to harness the mystical power she inherited from her mother and restore the kingdom to its proper balance.
Nyligt tilføjet afmakayladavidson, privat bibliotek, dcsthebest, amckenna, UniqueMystique, Ankqi, kirraclare, lexilewords
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Viser 1-5 af 18 (næste | vis alle)
The Swan Kingdomis based upon the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Wild Swans,” but depending on your views and opinion could be based upon several other related fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. In all versions of the story, the daughter is the youngest and the only one able to defeat the Evil Queen and save her brothers. Another author to previously use this fairy tale as the framework for an original tale was Juliet Marillier in her first Sevenwaters book, Daughter of the Forest, though that book is a darker, more adult, and ultimately bittersweet retelling.

Make no mistake, this isn’t quite the happy, sun is shining fantasy with neatly wrapped up obstacles, as the fairy tale might lead you to believe. Our narrator and protagonist, Alexandra, begins the story by first explaining that she was the most useless member of her family. Her father, the King, barely acknowledged her existence because she was such a disappointment, her Mother was a wise and powerful Wise Woman, and her three elder brothers each had a quality about them that made them stand out. Alexandra, by comparison, was plain, difficult, and could only manage the smallest of “workings” (magic). She didn’t mire herself down with bitterness or depression, however; she looked forward to the day when she could be “just Alexandra” and not have to worry about the courtly protocol thrust upon her by her status as a princess.

Slowly we see the changes in Alexandra’s life as she comes of age and adulthood looms. The tenseness between her parents, the sadness she sees in her Mother’s eyes, and her own knowledge that she couldn’t stay a child forever all begin to take root just as her world is turned upside down. They say bad luck comes in threes and so it did–her mother’s death, her father’s impending remarriage, and her brothers’ banishment could all be squarely blamed on one woman: Zella.

Beautiful, powerful, wicked, and rotten Zella. She murdered the Queen, bewitched the King and his people, and attempted to murder Alexandra and her brothers. Zella radiates decay and rankness, the loathing and disgust that Alexandra feels for her translated perfectly in her narrative. Through Alexandra’s eyes there are no redeeming values to Zella at all.

The book is broken into two parts; the first deals with setting the stage and introducing the players, as well as the first confrontation with Zella and the aftermath. The second part begins with Alexandra accepting the path her life has taken, but a sudden upset spirals her once again out of her element. Determined to save her family and Kingdom, she undertakes a quest that will hopefully break the hold Zella has over her father and Kingdom.

The first part moves at a much slower pace while Alexandra is still upset, hesitant and reeling from all the changes wrought in a short amount of time. A lot of the narrative is filled with mundane things that filled her day or thoughts that are repeated often. The arrival of Gabriel is the only bright spot, but his time in her life is short-lived and leaves her feeling even worse. By the end of the chapter the hope she clings to is threadbare and worn.

The second part is where things begin to pick up speed. Revelations and events happen one after the other in quick succession as Alexandra realizes the gravity of the problem at hand and takes steps to take care of it. Not surprisingly, she comes into her own and starts to build herself separate from the image she has always held of the useless, powerless girl. She has new determination, new strength of resolve, and a new goal.

As much as I enjoyed the second part, much seemed to draw directly from Marillier’s book and is then abandoned as the tides of the plot changed. Alexandra is reunited with someone, and it’s during this reunion that I was most at odds with the book. Time, such as it was in the book, seemed to pass quickly, but the task she set herself to at the beginning of the second part is all but abandoned except when it is a plot convenience. And the actual climatic battle between herself and Zella is completely out of the blue.

The ending is a happy one, so that differs from several of the variants of the fairy tale itself, but is a little too pat. Despite breaking one of the cardinal rules of the spell, Alexandra achieves the results she wanted. The allusion to who Zella really was is clumsy and added without much explanation, and the epilogue takes the bulk of what happens after.

Regardless of its inconsistencies of pacing and plot, I enjoyed this retelling of a lesser-known fairy tale and look forward to reading Marriott’s other book, Daughter of the Flames. ( )
  lexilewords | Dec 28, 2023 |
I have had this book on my TBR pile for quite some time. I was excited to get a chance to finally read it. This is a retelling of The Wild Swans fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It was a very straight-forward retelling of this fairy tale and I found it to be a bit bland.

This book sticks to the Wild Swans fairytale fairly closely. It does give our heroine magic powers and twists up the end of the tale some. I enjoyed this slight departure from the original tale but it wasn’t enough to make the story really unique and engaging for me.

Some of the description was very well done and I enjoyed our heroine Alexandra. However, the relationships in the book fell a bit flat. Alexandra’s romance was a bit blah. Her relationship with her brothers also felt a bit surfacey. I just never engaged with these characters very well.

Overall this is an okay retelling of the Wild Swans fairy tale but it wasn’t unique enough or engaging enough to really capture my attention. I would recommend reading Juliet Marillier’s “Daughter of the Forest” instead of this book if you are interested in an awesome retelling of the Wild Swans fairy tale. Alethea Kontis’s “Dearest” is also a well done retelling of this tale. ( )
  krau0098 | Oct 8, 2017 |
This poor girl has so many problems. It's just one bad thing after another. I was hoping for half of the book that she would see that boy from the beach again.

The finally battle scene was a little strange. Like how Harry finally defeated Voldemort. Got to do some weird Jedi mind tricks while dead and the poof! the bad guy is gone and all is well.

It wasn't bad though. It was easy to read and it had me turning pages when I should have been doing more important things. ( )
  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
This is an easy and quick read but it didn't really work for me. Usually I love fairy tale retellings but I just didn't feel any connection to the characters in this. It just all seemed far too easy. Perhaps I'm just not the target demographic. Juliet Marillier does it much better in "Daughter of the Forest". ( )
  infjsarah | Aug 12, 2016 |
Not my usual genre (this is more fairytale instead of my normal grazing grounds of Fantasy and SF), but it is well written and engaging. I really enjoyed it. At least you don't have to worry about whether the ending is happy! ( )
  PeterWhitfield | May 19, 2016 |
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When Alexa's mother is killed, her father marries a cunning and powerful woman and her brothers disappear, sending Alexa on a long, dangerous journey as she attempts to harness the mystical power she inherited from her mother and restore the kingdom to its proper balance.

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