The Swan Kingdom by Zoë Marriott
Published: March 28th, 2008 (Walker)
Source: Birthday gift
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆ ½
When Alexandra’s mother is slain by an unnatural beast, shadows fall on the once-lush kingdom. Too soon the widowed king is entranced by a cunning stranger — and in one chilling moment Alexandra’s beloved brothers disappear, and she is banished to a barren land. Rich in visual detail, sparked by a formidable evil, and sweetened with familial and romantic love, here is the tale of a girl who discovers powerful healing gifts — and the courage to use them to save her ailing kingdom.
I think it's fair to say that I waited WAY TOO LONG to read this book! I got it for my birthday last year but only got round to reading it a couple of weeks ago, but boy, was it good.
The aspect I loved the most about this one, is that Marriott slowly lured me in. With every page I flipped, I got a little more enthralled by the story and its characters, and soon I couldn't stop reading. I read it in one sitting, because I just couldn't put it down. It's been a long time since I read one of those!
The Swan Kingdom is a retelling of The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen and I really enjoyed how this was a retelling, yet a completely new story. I love Andersen's stories, and I read many when I was small, but they never managed to get me into it like this book did. The writing style, the story, the characters, the setting - they all contributed to the unputdownableness of The Swan Kingdom and I loved that; it wasn't just one element.
Alexandra is a strong heroine, even though she's cast away and she sulks for a bit, she picks herself off the floor when she has to live with an aunt she can't even remember. She's feitsty and kick-ass when she needs to be, even in situations that grown men would have peed their pants.
Anyhoo, I'm having slight problems to explain how much I enjoyed this book - let me just say that if you like stories with a magical feel to it, or if you're curious to try out a British author, I'd definitely recommend this one. I, for one, can't wait to read more of Zoë's work.