The Swan Kingdom – Zoe Marriott

“My first memory is of the smell of sun-warmed earth.
I must have been very small, perhaps only two or three
years old. I remember my mother’s hands, stubby-fingered and calloused, covered
with soil as she gently eased a plant from the ground. She talked quietly to me
as she worked, explaining that the plant lived by spreading roofs through the
earth, taking moisture and nourishment from the land, and using the warmth of
the sun to grow strong.”
Following the old ways Alexandra and her mother are
celebrating the eve of her first blood in the woods when her mother is attacked
by a chestnut coloured creature. Her mother falls into a fever for four days
until eventually she passes away. Alexa’s father spends all his time in the
woods hunting for the beast but one day comes back with a chestnut haired woman
who he found sleeping. Transfixed by the woman, he sets out to marry her.
Knowing she is the beast that killed her mother Alexa and her brothers try to
obtain evidence but are caught. With her bothers banished and her shipped off
to Midland Alexa isn’t around to see the demise of her father’s kingdom, but
can she save it?

I have said it before and no doubt I will say it again
but Zoe Marriott’s writing whisks you to a land far away, with beautiful
imagery and fantastic experiences. I can never put down a Zoe Marriott books
for long and I am always left upset when I come to the end of them, The Swan
Kingdom may have been her first book but it’s no different than the others in
that it is quite honestly brilliant.
Yet again the fantastic writing style had me gripped form
the very beginning and with only a break to make the tea I sat and read The
Swan Kingdom in one afternoon. The setting was amazingly beautiful with rich
descriptions teamed with characters emotions that you could feel radiating
through the pages.
In Alexa we have a strong beautiful character who knows
that she is the only one who can right the wrong that Zella is doing. She hates
to see her kingdom ruined but she hates to see anything in disrepair. The
characters growth and understanding of herself throughout this book was amazing
and I loved Alexa like a sister. There’s a part of the book where she cannot speak
due to a spell she was weaving at the time and I even felt that my speaking
would be like cheating her so I kept unbelievably quiet during that! That’s how
much the character grips you!
There aren’t many characters in the book, especially not
main characters. I was impressed by the focus on the one character and even
when a love interest is introduced he is one the side, not a main aspect. I
have grown weary of too much romance in fantasy stories recently but The Swan
Kingdom hit the balance just right and Gabriel, Alexa’s love interest was
amazingly perfect for Alexa. He was a strong, sensitive guy and I instantly
knew he would be the type of guy that Alexa’s brothers would want for her.
I loved the story of this one. I know it is based on Hans
Christen Anderson’s The Wild Swans and having not read that I don’t know much
about it but this version had me gripped. I loved the earth magic present in
the story and it reminded me of the pagan history associated with our country.
The power that Zella held over people had me thinking that there was something
magical about her and I just had to keep reading to find out what it was and to
see what would become of her. I loved the way the story wrapped up and I know
that all of my questions were happier attended to.
The Swan Kingdom is a magical fantasy which took me back
to our roots. I pictured Alexa wandering through woods and forests as if I was
travelling alongside her and the pace held the whole way through. If you want a
fantastic fantasy world like you would find in a fairytale, that you don’t want
to escape from, you have to read this one. It truly is magical.
The Swan Kingdom was Zoe Marriot’s first novel.
Originally published in 2007 by Walker Books, it was re-released with a new
cover to coincide with Zoe’s most recent book Shadows on the Moon. My copy was
obtained through personal purchase.


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