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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Fairytale re-telling
This book is now among my other favourite books that are also retold fairytales, for example the Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and Beauty by Robin Mckinley.

The book is really well written with some really nice pieces of description and though the ending is a little rushed I think there is little you could do to improve it.
Published on 19 Feb 2007 by Rubbah

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, But Has Been Done Better
I really enjoyed this book, and it kept me riveted start to finish. I love the descriptions of the workings, and the land, as well as the rules that the magic follows. It is easy to see why this book has been recognised and praised. It is a wonderful début novel. The only thing that I would say is that the romance that is central to the story seems forced at...
Published on 10 Jan 2012 by Amazon Customer


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Fairytale re-telling, 19 Feb 2007
By 
This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Paperback)
This book is now among my other favourite books that are also retold fairytales, for example the Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and Beauty by Robin Mckinley.

The book is really well written with some really nice pieces of description and though the ending is a little rushed I think there is little you could do to improve it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, But Has Been Done Better, 10 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book, and it kept me riveted start to finish. I love the descriptions of the workings, and the land, as well as the rules that the magic follows. It is easy to see why this book has been recognised and praised. It is a wonderful début novel. The only thing that I would say is that the romance that is central to the story seems forced at times, and this may have been because although we are told that they spent a lot of time together we don't see much of it, and Rose's character didn't ring true for me.

I would have happily given it a greater rating but it doesn't live up to Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest, which is based on the same fairy tale. I'm sorry to say that as I delighted in reading this book, but if I had to pick one retelling to recommend it would be Marillier's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Swan Kingdom, 8 May 2011
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Paperback)
Alexandra is youngest child and only daughter of the King & Queen and has always felt like an ugly duckling amongst her family. She loves spending time with her mother and brothers but doesn't get on so well with her father who finds her a disappointment because she isn't pretty enough. She loves learning about the healing properties of plants and how to use the magic of the earth from her mother and has become a skilled healer. Alexandra's life changes dramatically when her mother is killed by a horrific monster when walking in the woods. Her father is driven mad with grief and when he meets a beautiful woman he quickly re-marries. Alexandra's step-mother isn't all she seems though and soon Alexandra and her brothers find themselves separated and exiled from their home. Can Alexandra find her brothers and can she break the hold her step-mother has over her father and the rest of her people?

The Swan Kingdom is a re-telling of fairy tale The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen but as I've never read the original I'm not going to compare the two stories in this review. I found The Swan Kingdom was a captivating and beautiful read and I finished it in one sitting. The writing is beautifully descriptive and made it easy to picture Alexandra's home and her country. I loved finding out about the magical abilities that Alexandra and her mother had and the way they were able to use the power of the earth. The story has a great fairytale feel to it that took me back to my childhood and would make great bedtime reading material for children.

Alexandra was a lovely heroine and it was easy spending time inside her head. Her mother's death devastates her but when her family and her people are under threat she will do anything it takes to help them. She is determined to find a way to stop her wicked step-mother and bring her family back together. It won't be easy for her and she will face difficult times but her strength of character will see her through it. The Swan Kingdom is a beautiful fantasy fairytale and one that I'm sure I'll be reading again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If this was her debut, can't wait to read the rest!, 9 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Paperback)
This book is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Wild Swans.' I have never read the original story, but after reading Zoe's enchanting interpretation of it, I feel an urge to search out a collection of Hans Christian Anderson's short stories.

Alexandra is the only daughter of the king and feels that her father has never shown her any love. Fortunately she is satisfied with the amount of love she receives from her mother and three brothers, learning to accept her father's lack of emotion towards her.

Alexandra's world begins to fall apart, when her mother is killed by a terryifying beast whilst walking in the woods. Her father turns into a man possessed, desperate to kill the creature who murdered his wife. Until one day he returns with a strange young woman, who he instantly falls in love with. The woman has the power to charm her way into everyone's life within the castle and puts them all under a spell, apart from Alexandra and her brothers. Determined to discover the truth about this unusual woman, whom everyone has fallen in love with, they venture into her bedroom one night, only to find that their lives will be changed forever.

Alexandra finds herself banished from her family home and her brothers in exile. She must find a way to save her family from this evil woman whom her father has married and to help bring her brothers back home.

I loved this book completely. The story is beautifully written and I found myself in tears when Alexandra's mother was murdered. Through the words of the book, I could feel her pain as the whole story is told from her point of view, giving you first hand her thoughts and feelings. Alexandra suffers intensely throughout most of this book. However the saying 'what doesn't kill you makes you strong' is so apt for this character. By the end of the book she has found her inner strength and power and finds that she is capable of taking on her biggest enemy. I could almost imagine her glistening with power.

Alexandra's love interest Gabriel, is everything you would hope him to be. He is strong yet patient and caring. He protects her whilst letting her strength shine through. They make an elegant couple together and will definitely be in my Top Five Couples of the year.

I hated Zella, the evil stepmother as soon as she appeared in the book. I could see right through her from the beginning. She makes the Evil Stepmother from Snow White look like a pussy cat!

I found Zoe's magical world to be believable, hypnotic and enveloping. All my senses standing to attention as I read. Through her vivid descriptions, I could clearly picture the castles and the surrounding lands. I adore the way Zoe Marriott writes. I found the book just flowed. I want to share one of my favourite passages with you.

The rolling and sighing of the waves was almost hypnotic. My mind emptied, and I relaxed completely for the first time since reaching this place, savouring the breeze that gently lifted and stroked my hair. After a few more moments, I stood and went to the edge of the water, where the sea music drowned out all other sounds. I let out a shocked laugh as the cold water broke over my feet and soaked the hem of my gown. I jumped and twirled in the foam, my nightdress flying up above my knees in the wind.

Isn't that beautiful?

The ending crept up on me unexpectedly as I was expecting a different route completely, so I congratulate Zoe on an incredible red herring.

A beautiful retelling that made me reminiscent of the fairy tales of my childhood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 4 Jun 2008
By 
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Hardcover)
As the brightly colored cover suggests, ZoŽ Marriott's novel THE SWAN KINGDOM is a fantastical read. It is the retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's THE WILD SWANS, a fairy tale that I had never heard of, but that has all the familiar bits and pieces like the evil stepmother, enchanted gardens, and animal transformations. It also has a spunky, magically terrific but socially awkward princess-protagonist named Alexandra.

A few of my friends dislike retold fairy tales, because there is no surprise ending. But I think the whole point of reading rewrites is to focus on the journey, not the place. Anyway, that's why I love retold fairy tales, because it's a way to enjoy certain stories that I seemed to grow out of. After a few years in schoolyard politics, the characters that I loved just weren't complex enough to be satisfying anymore. Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White were never unsure, impatient, or angry. Besides some serious magical malady that I had no hope of ever battling, they never seemed to have problems at all.

Alexandra, however, has real problems like pleasing her parents, being plain, and weird. With books like THE SWAN KINGDOM, I get my dosage of magic, and from a girl normal enough to be friends with.

Alexandra is an ugly duckling from a family of swans. Her parents are the just and admired rulers of the Kingdom and her three older brothers are kind, handsome, and brilliant. Her only claim to fame is the magical connection that she shares with the land, but even then her skills are dwarfed by her mother's great healing abilities. When the novel opens, she has pretty much settled for a life in the shadows, but when her mother is killed by a beast in the forest and her father marries a strange, beautiful woman, Alexa has to step up or be squashed. While this story follows the general formula of a fairytale (evil destroyed and kingdom restored), ZoŽ Marriott has charted a unique path to Happily Ever After.

There seems to be a lot of retold fairy tales on the shelves these days. Some are humorous, like Gail Carson Levine's PRINCESS TALES series. THE SWAN KINGDOM is one of the more serious ones, and readers who enjoyed Robin McKinley's or Donna Jo Napoli's books should try it out.

Reviewed by: Natalie Tsang
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical book, 24 May 2007
This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Paperback)
I could not believe that this was Zoe Marriott's first book. The writing is confident and the multi-layered plot never falters. A book for all ages to read and re-read. More please, author!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fairy tale worth exploring, 8 Mar 2007
By 
Barbara Gordon "batgirl" (Victoria BC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Paperback)
A retelling of the folktale of the Swan Brothers that adds depth and complexity to the characters while preserving the magic and wonder of the fairytale setting. As Alexandra matures, she wins through to an acceptance not only of her own powers and responsibilities, but of her parents as flawed yet striving human beings. Clues to the mystery of the 'wicked stepmother' are subtly woven through the story, and readers may find it repays a second reading. Written with lyrical clarity informed by a keen-eyed love for the natural world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Gorgeous, 10 April 2014
By 
T. Murray (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Kindle Edition)
A beautiful, absorbing, magical retelling of The Swan Princess - I was instantly transported to the timeless fantasy books I loved when I was growing up, Raymond E Feist, Terry Brooks and Robin McKinley. The moment I'd finished, I wanted to read it again.

Will definitely check out more by Zoe Marriott!
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2.0 out of 5 stars A swan review, 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Kindle Edition)
A wonderful tale of the fairy tale the wild swans but with more adventure and more magic. One of my favourite books by ZOE Marriott
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5.0 out of 5 stars I think this is actually my favourite book of all time, 27 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Swan Kingdom (Kindle Edition)
The romance is this book was so adorable i nearly cried. I read it while at the beach on my iPod, hiding under a towel so that i could read in the sun, and i refused to leave it to go swimming: and i love swimming! So that should tell you how much i love it.
The story was amazing, and i really like the idea. It was pretty long, but i would have been prepared to read double the number of pages.
YOU NEED TO READ IT!
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The Swan Kingdom
The Swan Kingdom by ZoŽ Marriott (Paperback - 5 Mar 2007)
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