Marriott, Zoe. The swan kingdom.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young adult review - Brief article - Book review

MARRIOTT, Zoe. The swan kingdom. Candlewick. 253p. c2007. 978-0-7636-3481-0. $16.99. JS

Inspired by one of the darkest of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, "The Wild Swans," this has enormous gothic appeal for YA readers. It is Marriott's first novel, and her use of language is distinctive and impressive. The cover art is appropriately mysterious and lovely. The basic story is one of a happy family destroyed by Zella, a shapeshifter who kills the queen, seduces the king, and tries to kill the children and take over the kingdom. The narrator is the princess, Alexandra, a child when this tragedy occurs. Her beloved brothers are turned into swans and she is exiled to a neighboring place, to the home of her cold aunt. There is an overriding theme of ecological disaster, as the Old Ways of healing and magic are replaced by selfish evil. Alexandra is the only hope, because within her is the power to heal and to restore the earth, but she has to learn who she is and what she is able to do. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, Alexandra...

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