The Swan Kingdom
From inside cover:
"Shadows have fallen across the beautiful and lush Kingdom. The queen was 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 unlike her own.
Alexandra has more gifts than even she realizes when she is confronted with magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces. She is unflinchingly brave and calver as she stuggles to reclaim what she knows is rightfully hers."
I really enjoyed Swan Kingdom, even though it was very similar to Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest. Still, I felt that Marriott made Alexandra's story unique. The romance between Alexandra and Gabriel adds another dimension to the story that I really liked and helped to hold my interest.
Alexandra, the youngest of four children, is a princess, and the ugly
duckling of the bunch. Her mother is a powerful healer in the land, and
has passed her unique gift to her daughter. After her mother is
mysteriously attacked by some unknown evil, Alexandra must embark on a
powerful, magical adventure to save her family from a terrible fate.
really thought I would like this book more than I did. I enjoyed it,
but it left me a little confused at the end. They way the author
wrapped it up, was too quick. I may have missed a few things, but I am
not sure how I did. I also would have liked to see more of Alexandra's
love interest. I wish they could have had more interaction together,
and seen his character grow as she did. Anyway, I loved the author's
descriptions and details of everything in the story. She has a
fantastic imagination, and I really liked the magic of the enaid
Alexandra calls upon. It was very interesting. Zoe Marriott is a
fantastic writer already, and this is her debut novel I believe. Even
though I was left wanting a little more out of this book, I am really
looking forward to reading more from her.
The Swan Kingdom was a delightful book. Filled with darkness and longing, it pulled me in. The characters all felt realistic, and the magic was not too outrageous for belief. I look forward to reading more from this talented new author, and so should everyone else.
The Kingdom has been a prosperous place for all of the people: the royal family, the farmers, and the common folk, for as long as anyone can remember. Longer than Midland, certainly, which was once known as the City of Flowers, but was plagued by war, which caused the flowers to refuse to bloom. Kingdoms prosperity is largely due to the gifts and talents of Lady Branwen, the queen of the land. She is a wise womanable to perform great healing and has more talent than the cunning women, who have small gifts of magic. From her, her daughter, Alexandra, has learned much, and has become quite a cunning woman herself. She works alongside her mother in her garden, and is greatly respected by many people in the Kingdommany people, but not her father. Her father, the king, is disappointed in his daughterhe had wished for an obedient, beautiful daughter that would heed his wishes and could be married off to his advantage. But instead, Alexandra is wild and far from obedient, comely, but not extraordinarily beautiful, and is her mothers student through and through.
Despite her father not being entirely pleased with her, all seemed well for Alexandraa loving and skilled mother, caring and fun brothers, and a peaceful home. That is, until after her fifteenth birthday (the age when people are considered adults in the Kingdom) when her mother takes her into the forest for a secret ritual. There, Alexandra is let into an even bigger secret, and her life changes forever&in more than one way. Her destiny is to become greater than her mother ever was, because she has been granted a Great Gift. In shock, Alexandra cannot believe what the apparition of her ancestor tells her, but before she can learn any more, a scream pierces the night and ends the Alexandras meeting. Rushing back to her mothers side, she finds her mother crumpled in a growing pool of blood, and a wild, sinister beast circling her. Blindly charging away from the beast, Alexandra raced back to the castle. Despite Alexandras hard efforts, even the skills that she learned could not save her mother, and the entire kingdom was devastated.
Her father is stricken and does not speak to his children anymore. He spends most of his time in the woods, searching and hoping to kill the beast that took his beloved wife, but everyday he returns empty handed. Everyday until one day, he returns with a darkly beautiful woman named Zella, whom he saved from the woods. In the blink of an eye, the king and his country are out of mourning, and everyone has fallen under this mysterious womans spell. The king is smitten, the people are ecstatic about their new queen-to-be, but for some reason, Alexandra and her brothers have not fallen under her sinister charms, and are wary of her. Who is this woman who is shrouded by darkness and mystery?
Determined to come to the bottom of this woman who is posing a great threat, Alexandra and her brother hatch a plan to reveal her for whoor whatshe is. But when the plan goes horribly awry, Alexandra finds herself shipped off to her aunt, who lives in Midland, and her brothers banished.
News reaches her that her father has been going to any ends to satisfy his new queen, who has been slowly destroying Kingdom right under his nose. But trapped in her aunts house far away, Alexandra feels hopeless and believes that her brothers will come rescue her and retake Kingdom from Zellas grip.
Reminiscent of The Wild Swans fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, Alexandra of The Swan Kingdom has similar avian sibling problems. Alexandra eventually finds out that her brothers are not in good health and hidden, waiting for their chance to strike, as she had believed, but rather, that they are in limbo between life and death. Ever since their nightly encounter with Zella, they have been in that state, and are only sometimes able to take the form of swans. Recalling a spell she saw at the end of her mothers book, Alexandra sets out to knit tunics of stinging nettles to free her brothers from their spell. But to succeed, she must remain silent for the whole process. How can Alexandra complete this arduous task when Zella and her minions are after her, let alone stay silent the whole time? But if she doesnt succeed, then her brothers could very well remain in limbo as swans for the rest of eternity&
There have been many retellings of fairy tales, but I have not read many (if any at all) for The Wild Swans, until The Swan Kingdom. It is refreshing to read a new take on a classic fairytale that has not been retold as many times as Cinderella and Snow Whitetruly unique! Alexandra bloomed and matured, growing to finally accept her role and use her powers wisely, while learning the lesson that outer beauty is not everything. Author ZoÃ« Marriott wove a captivating tale that preserved the heart of The Wild Swans fairytale while giving it her own spin and adding complexity to it!
Shadows have fallen across the beautiful Kingdom, Alexandra's home. Her mother, the Queen, has been attacked in the forest by an
unnatural beast, and none of Alexandra's healing skills can save her. Her father is spell-bound by a frightening stranger whose eyes reflect no
light. When her beloved brothers vanish and Alexandra is exiled to a strange land, it seems there is little hope for her, or her home. But Alex has more gifts than even she realises, and she is not ready to give up yet... "
This is a very exciting story from a new writer, and I want more! I love the way the heart of the original faerytale The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson is kept beating in this tory without the author going through loops trying to hit every single plot point. I love the writing style, which is intense and dreamy and full of poetic images which make you stop and go 'Wow!'. Most of all I love the romantic-ness of the story which gives you the most amazing feeling - you want to be in the story and be Alexandra (Gabriel! Phwoar!) and it makes you sort of achy. I can't wait for another story from this writer and I hope she does another one soon.
i just got this book in the post today and read it in one sitting.
What I loved most about this book is that it wasn't another re-telling of a common fairy tale like snow white or cinderella, but a re-telling of The Wild Swans.
In the book the heroine Alexandra must escape a wicked stepmother and save her brothers(who the new queen has turned into swans) and of course, meet a prince.