Shadows fall across the beautiful, lush kingdom after the queen is attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger, a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land. But Alexandra has more gifts than she realizes as she confronts magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces, and is unflinchingly brave as she struggles to reclaim what is rightfully hers. Fantasy lovers will be held in thrall by this tale full of visual detail, peppered with a formidable destructive force and sweetened with familial and romantic love.
I really liked Marriott’s Shadows on the Moon and considering her superior writing skills, happily dived into The Swan Kingdom expecting the same kind of crisp narrative, plotting and character development that made me like Shadows on the Moon so much. However, while the writing skill is undeniable, I cannot say I enjoyed the novel as much as I liked Shadows on the Moon. I don’t even think it’s the novel’s fault. I just felt that it lacked the complexity I had expected of it.
Perhaps it was intended for a younger audience because while the threads were available for a much richer tapestry, I found the novel to be simple and resolved too neatly to have any lasting effect on me. This is not to say the novel was bad. It wasn’t. It was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it to a certain degree. It just wasn’t the awesomeness I was expecting. I think this has to do with how easily the romantic angle is resolved in the novel. The main character also treats her future mother in law with a laxity that is at odds with her position both as a queen and as her future mother in law. The villain-ness is defeated too easily and as I said, the conclusion is too pat and simple. I wanted something more.
That said, you may enjoy it way more than I did, though, so try it out and make up your own mind.