Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott

What if fairy tales were real?

I recently discovered the author Zoe Marriott. I had not come across her writing before and The Swan Kingdom was my first of her fantasy stories. Firstly I have to highlight how utterly thrilled I was that this book was standalone. I love fantasy but often I am reluctant to read some of them as they require a certain amount of commitment to get through a whole series. It was easy to pick up The Swan Kingdom knowing I wouldn't have to read another epic series. 

This book was not quite what I was expecting it to be. Influenced tenuously by the six swans fairy-tale the story brings together magic and romance in a beguiling tale. The story focuses on Alexandra, the ugly-duckling of her family, much loved by her mother and brothers but forgotten and unloved by her father. Nurtured in her magical abilities by her mother she has a power connected with the earth and is able to use herbs and the Enaid to do minor spells. Unfortunately these abilities do not serve her well when her mother is murdered by a mysterious creature and her father is spell bound by a potentially dangerous woman called Zela. Her brothers missing and herself exiled she must find her way back to the Kingdom to save her home, land and family. On her way she meets Gabriel, the quintessential love interest who aids her in a her quest. 

Now the premise seems relatively straight forward but it is delivered in a rather convoluted way that made some parts quite difficult to follow. I personally found the start slow and it took me a while to really hit my reading stride in the story. Furthermore some parts are quite predictable and I found the author gave a little bit too much away in her hints so some mystery was removed. However, the plus side is that this story had some very well written parts that gave depth to the world and created some unique magical elements. I think in truth if the book had been longer and explained some bits a bit more clearly it would have been a superb read. I think Marriott wanted to get to the action in her story so fast she just forgot to explain things slowly so we really understood what she was trying to convey. 

Not a bad debut fantasy story and one for those whole love witches that stick to traditional folklore type magic. 

Spell-binding in places, just try not to loose your way. 

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