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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.


Zoe Marriot’s debut, The Swan Kingdom, is a fantasy based on the Han Christian Anderson tale The Wild Swans. The cover art (pictured left) reflects the beauty and power within in the novel.

Princess Alexandra, of Farland, lives in a “beautiful and lush Kingdom,” that’s kept alive by the enaid, “the life of the world.” She’s taught in the ways of healing magic and “workings” by her mother. Alexandra grows up loved by her mother and doted on by her brothers, which help offset the distance she feels from her father. After her mother’s death, a mysterious woman banishes Alexandra and her brothers. Alexandra, armed with perseverance and fierce love might vanquish the woman and restore order to her kingdom.

Alexandra is an excellent character, as her mannerisms and inner self are realistic – like any young girl in her mother’s shadow, she has doubts in her abilities, and looks upon herself as the least favored in her father’s eyes. Marriot’s prose is electric and brings Alexandra alive, with stirring passages as Alexandra must confront not only the outsider who has banished her and her brothers from their kingdom, but also her doubts.

Marriot writes very sparingly, without overly flowerly descriptions of the kingdom and the magic within, and the effort leaves a powerful novel rooted in a familiar tale, yet with a magic all its own.

The Swan Kingdom is available now from Candlewick Press.

Copy for review provided by the publisher.

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