The Swan Kingdom

The Swan Kingdom

by Zoe Marriott
4.0 16

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Swan Kingdom 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
TrisLee More than 1 year ago
This book was very good, and intriguing and I just couldn't put it down!
Bonnie_W More than 1 year ago
Fairy tale re-tellings often take on a life of their own. Some follow their roots more closely than others. Zoë Marriott's then-debut novel, The Swan Kingdom, is shaped after Hans Christian Anderson's The Wild Swans (which is a variation of The Six Swans by the Brothers Grimm). At the same time, The Swan Kingdom is like neither tale. It takes on a life of its own, full of lore that never existed in the original telling. For one thing, there are only three brothers here-not six, not eleven, three. The number is much more manageable. Besides, I pity the poor girl who winds up with such a gaggle of brothers, especially when she's the youngest. Talk about overprotective! Alexandra follows after her mother, a magical wise woman at one with nature. Whenever the two had scenes together as Alexandra learns more about the power of enaid, it brought to mind the type of magic used by Crysta and Magi Lune in one of my favorite childhood movies, FernGully: The Last Rainforest. Comparing the two, it was easy to visualize the enaid whenever it appeared in the novel. The addition of the Circle of Ancestors also brought tales of old to mind; I could picture this ancient, magical place perfectly. I always love when I can "see" what I'm reading, even if it's only due to my own weird way of categorization. Marriott also twists the traditional tale by killing the children's mother and showing us the way the King becomes besotted by the evil enchantress. I loved her creepy, disturbing descriptions when the three princes are transformed into swans. My favorite addition to the original tale is the fact that Alexandra and Gabriel connect before she takes her vow of silence. I loved seeing their relationship slowly build as they got to know one another. After Alexandra realizes what she had to do to restore her brothers' humanity, she can no longer speak until she has spun tunics out of dangerous wanton's needle by hand. The first tunic takes her four months to complete, and the needle has already scarred and destroyed her hands. When she's reunited with Gabriel and unable to tell him of her plight, I truly felt her pain and suffering. Marriott also twists the ending in a way that's much less violent than the original tales, but still full of breathless anticipation. If you like the original renditions or want to read another version of the tale once you finish The Swan Kingdom, be sure to also check out Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, which is a darker, grittier version of the tale. Marillier went on to write many companion novels, but only this first book follows a traditional fairy tale path.
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The_Book_Queen More than 1 year ago
Besides the beautiful cover art, The Swan Kingdom itself was a dazzling story, a remake of a fairy tale but done in Marriott's own way. Full of magic, set in a fantasy world that you can practically picture just by reading the book, and with an added dose of action and adventure to keep the story alive, this book is truly worth your time to read. Marriott does a wonderful job with the characters, especially Alexandra , our heroine for this journey through the Kingdom. is a good example of a strong young woman, one that does not whine and allow others to push her around. She's got courage, and she's not afraid to face her fears-- even if that means her new (evil) stepmother. In a way, Alexandra reminds me a lot of Yelena, from Poison Study (by Maria V. Snyder), which is a compliment, really. If you enjoyed Snyders' magical world, then I'm sure you'll love The Swan Kingdom as well. I enjoy reading new takes on old fairy tales, and this one is no different. This time, the base for the novel is the story of the young boys, turned into swans by their stepmother, destined to stay cursed forever. Unless, of course, Alexandra , who was spared this curse (though still exiled from the kingdom), can save them and reverse the spell. Along the way, she meets new friends, finds more adventures, and, of course, falls in love, too. My only qualm lies in the romance- it felt a bit lacking most of the time, even for a YA novel. I wish Marriott had added more to this, showed us how they really fell for each other. The story flowed nicely, though there were a few action sequences where I almost felt a bit lost. But just as quickly, the confusion was gone and the writing was clear again. A few tiny flaws, but no where near enough to destroy the story or the readers' enjoyment! 4 STARS! For a first novel, Zoe Marriott did a wonderful job, and I'm looking forward to many future books from her. She has a talent for writing, and a unique story to tell the readers. Added to that her good fortune in cover art designs, and you've got a rising start to keep your eyes on!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Swan Kingdom is a wonderful novel told in first person through a girl named Alexandra. The daughter of a king and queen, she must realize the powers that she has in order to save her kingdom. When her mother is killed, and everyone else in the kingdom becomes enchanted by a strange woman, it¿s up to Alexandra to bring peace back into the land.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. Even on a day when I didn¿t feel like reading at first, as soon as I picked up the book, I couldn¿t put it down. I was able to read the book for six hours straight and finish it after only two days. From the very beginning, the author¿s descriptive writing style pulled me into the book so that I was able to picture everything that was happening. The plot was also excellent, though I felt the climax of the story could have been made a bit longer.

If you are looking for a great fantasy book to read, I would really encourage you to read Zoë Marriot¿s The Swan Kingdom for an exciting adventure that will keep your attention drawn into the story until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
As the brightly colored cover suggests, Zoë Marriott's novel THE SWAN KINGDOM is a fantastical read. It is the retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's THE WILD SWANS, a fairy tale that I had never heard of, but that has all the familiar bits and pieces like the evil stepmother, enchanted gardens, and animal transformations. It also has a spunky, magically terrific but socially awkward princess-protagonist named Alexandra.

A few of my friends dislike retold fairy tales, because there is no surprise ending. But I think the whole point of reading rewrites is to focus on the journey, not the place. Anyway, that's why I love retold fairy tales, because it's a way to enjoy certain stories that I seemed to grow out of. After a few years in schoolyard politics, the characters that I loved just weren't complex enough to be satisfying anymore. Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White were never unsure, impatient, or angry. Besides some serious magical malady that I had no hope of ever battling, they never seemed to have problems at all.

Alexandra, however, has real problems like pleasing her parents, being plain, and weird. With books like THE SWAN KINGDOM, I get my dosage of magic, and from a girl normal enough to be friends with.

Alexandra is an ugly duckling from a family of swans. Her parents are the just and admired rulers of the Kingdom and her three older brothers are kind, handsome, and brilliant. Her only claim to fame is the magical connection that she shares with the land, but even then her skills are dwarfed by her mother's great healing abilities. When the novel opens, she has pretty much settled for a life in the shadows, but when her mother is killed by a beast in the forest and her father marries a strange, beautiful woman, Alexa has to step up or be squashed. While this story follows the general formula of a fairytale (evil destroyed and kingdom restored), Zoë Marriott has charted a unique path to Happily Ever After.

There seems to be a lot of retold fairy tales on the shelves these days. Some are humorous, like Gail Carson Levine's PRINCESS TALES series. THE SWAN KINGDOM is one of the more serious ones, and readers who enjoyed Robin McKinley's or Donna Jo Napoli's books should try it out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this! Juliet Marillier has a series called: "Sevenwaters" -the first book: "Daughter of the Forest"-that tells the same story, but they're both a different journey. "The Swan Kingdom" gives a new twist on the tale that I absolutely loved!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The dedication in this book reads: ¿This book is dedicated to ugly ducklings everywhere. Don¿t worry about those fluffy yellow morons: They¿ll never get to be swans.¿ And the tone is set. Alexandra is daughter to the king of Farland. Her mother is a strong woman who remains close to the earth. In spite of the fact that Alexandra does not consider herself beautiful or gifted, over the course of the story she begins to discover talents and uncommon beauty of which she was previously unaware. When her kingdom falls under the enchantment of an evil sorceress it becomes the ultimate showdown to see if Alexandra will be able to free her brothers and her country. This is a fantasy that reads like some of Marion Zimmer Bradley¿s works. At times the plot is a little too predictable for my taste, but it is, overall, an enjoyable read. The message to girls is clear¿you are stronger and more beautiful than you think you are, and for those students who long to lose themselves in fantasy, it¿s a message they can afford to hear.