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The Swan Maiden

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  580 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
In this lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, acclaimed Celtic historical author Jules Watson reignites the tale of Deirdre—the Irish Helen of Troy—in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster
ebook, 0 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2009)
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Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*
3.5 Stars

So first off I feel like I need to explain a bit of the backstory of how I ended up owning The Swan Maiden; it was during one of my thrift store forays when I saw it there on the shelf and instantly thought…..( if you were born/raised in the early 90’s you probably know)


Yup, “The Swan Princess”!! Hooray for random girly purchases that end up being nothing like what you thought they were going to be! Curse my infernal grabby hands mentality – I didn’t even LOOK at the back of the b
Mar 17, 2010 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lara by: Jaime Graves
So...I don't know. I had a somewhat difficult time with this one. I'd never heard anything about the Irish legend this book is based on, but I enjoyed the main plotline of the story. The problem I had was with the way it's written. Somehow Watson just completely failed to draw me in. I didn't end up caring about any of the characters except for Ardan (pretty sure he's NOT really the one I was supposed to be focused on), and I found myself skimming. A LOT. And saying, "blah, blah, blah, get on wi ...more
Amy Bruno
Apr 29, 2009 Amy Bruno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Swan Maiden is a novel based on the Irish legend of "Deirdre of the Sorrows", written by J.M. Synge. When Deirdre was a babe, the druid Cathbad prophesied that she would grow into a great beauty and bring about the downfall of their land. Ignoring requests that the babe be killed, the King of the Ulaids, Conor decides to hide the child with plans to marry her when she becomes of age. Conor enlists the help of Levercham, who teaches Dierdre the ways of the Druids. Attempts to dissuade Conor f ...more
Alesha Orton
Oct 29, 2009 Alesha Orton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I inhaled this book for about 1 month. Okay, sounding dramatic here, but every time I picked this book up I had the rain of Scotland pelting my bare skin. I slept in caves, I stared into Naisi's eyes and watched him kill a man for me. I woke up every morning wanting to read parts over. I read it through, turned to page 1 and read it over... I've NEVER done that before. I wore the book out in 1 month and had to buy a new copy, and I wish I'd written my review back then instead of now, because wha ...more
Oct 25, 2012 Skye rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I made it to page 300 out of 512 long, meandering, repetitive pages before finally giving up. Life is to short to read bad books, and sadly, this is one of those for me. It had all the right elements for me- fairy tale re-telling. Celtic lore. But Deirdre was boring and flat and apparently a goddess in the flesh, for no man can resist her and she can do no wrong, not to mention some pretty hefty magic powers. This made for an extremely boring and repetitive book, and I couldn't ...more
Sofia Teixeira
Aug 15, 2010 Sofia Teixeira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um livro mágico, sedutor, intenso e de uma descoberta avassaladora. Lê-lo foi como mergulhar num mundo paralelo, mitológico, com heróis e vilões, um mundo onde os druidas ainda existem e são a classe mais respeitada entre os homens, onde as sacerdotisas são ouvidas e veneradas, um mundo que se pensa que em tempos existiu e que desapareceu.

A escrita de Jules Watson conquista-nos desde cedo. Apesar de a história se passar em tempos arcaicos da nossa civilização, a escrita é simples, sem rodeios, m
Tentei, tentei uma e outra vez, parei a leitura e retomei mais tarde mas não foi suficiente, o livro não me consegue cativar o suficiente para prosseguir com a leitura.
Feb 28, 2012 Joana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baseado num mito irlandês, "A Lenda do Cisne" traz-nos a estória da bela Dreide, uma donzela cujo destino fora profetizado ainda antes do seu nascimento, e que, devido à sua magnitude, se viu enclausurada durante toda a sua vida, sendo educada para se tornar a rainha de Conor, o rei dos Ulaid.
Mas, embora conformada com o seu fado, Dreide descobre o livre arbítrio, a opção de escolha, graças aos três irmãos: Naisi, Ardan e a Ainnle, que são também, guerreiros de Ulaid, os chamados "Red Branch".
Jul 30, 2013 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was so excited to read this book but was very disappointed. It was rather dull and more historical fiction than fantasy (I hate historical fiction!). There was no richness to the language or depth to the characters to draw me in. The men were stubborn and honor-bound. The girl was wild with unnatural druid skills that I guess were supposed to make her mysterious and fey. Instead I found her to be unreliable as a character. I never knew if she would react sensibly to something or not. The love ...more
I liked some of this: I found Watson's exploration of the code of honour followed by the Red Branch extremely compelling and the descriptions of nature and countryside extremely beautiful. But I found the long passages describing the nature of the love between Deirdre and Naisi went on and on until I started to skim over them - the first one was insightful, but the author seemed to re-state it over and over. If you're looking for masterful re-workings of ancient fairytales and myths, I'd far pre ...more
Nov 24, 2009 Renee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
As was stated by many of the reviewers on the cover of this book, perhaps the best way to describe Watson's writing style is "lyrical." I felt I was dreaming through much of the book, in a very nice way. The only reason this is receiving 3 stars instead of 4 is that for most of the book I could not see any real reason for Deirdre and Naisi to be in love (in the last quarter of the book I finally reconciled myself to this fact). I am certainly interested to see what Watson does with the Raven Que ...more
Sofia  Oliveira
Este foi outro livro "lido a ferros". Agradeço à fantástica equipa do #BookTubeAThon que tanto me motivou nestes primeiros dois dias de maratona, caso contrário, nem este nem o Diário de Anne Frank estariam lidos de momento.

Foi um livro que, desde que o conheci, chamou logo a minha atenção e, por isso, acabou por se tornar uma desilusão! Gostei muito do plot, para mim, mostrou-se promissor desde logo com a premissa de reencenar um mito irlandês de que muito gosto. Contudo, com o avançar da leitu
Jul 23, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this the first time years ago, so pay no mind to the date. I also have little knowledge of Irish legend(s), so when I read the back of the book it sounded interesting enough to read. So, while I'm sure there is plenty to discuss regarding adaptations of existing legends (there always is), I can't--and won't--touch on that.

This is one of those books that I have read over and over. It's one of my most read books on my shelf, and I will never get rid of it. It's a quiet book...some may s
The Swan Maiden is a retelling of “Deirdre of the Sorrows”, an Irish Helen of Troy. In this story, Deirdre, who at birth was born with a curse that her beauty would be the downfall of the king. In order to change the fate of his doom, King Connor decides to give the girl over to a poor couple and hides them in the woods where no one knows of their whereabouts. He then makes her betrothed and wants her adopted parents to raise her to love the king. However when Deirdre becomes of marriageable age ...more
Jan 24, 2014 Zarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh goodness.
I usually, no matter what, finish a book. Or I try my vary best...But I got half way through this and just could not read anymore.
My first time I've ever done that.
So... boring. ugh. I thought it was okay... then she and the guy were just TOO MUCH. ugh. Completely annoyed.
Actually read 1/2 way through and gave up from boredom. I almost will never give up on a book, so you can see how much I didn't care for this book.
Lillian Shuff
May 26, 2009 Lillian Shuff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad. Not great.
Basically cheesy. Watson tried and failed to describe love
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2011 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus
As suspeitas iniciais de que A Lenda do Cisne, seria em muito semelhante ao primeiro livro da trilogia Sevenwaters de Juliet Marillier, A Filha da Floresta, revelaram-se infundadas. De facto todo o ambiente da história lembra o fantástico mundo de Sevenwaters, mas a história em si, assim como as suas personagens, nada têm de idêntico com a obra acima mencionada.

A Lenda do Cisne recria a lenda de Deirdre e Naisi, sendo esta, parte de um grupo de antigos contos irlandeses denominado O Ciclo do Uls
Allison  Macias
Feb 10, 2012 Allison Macias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deirdre is cursed before she even leaves the womb. Her beauty is foretold to bring ruin to Ulster and it's king, Conor. Ignoring the pleas to banish her, he allows her to live, saving her for his eyes only. Raised by a childless couple and a Druid, she soon realizes that she is meant to be one of Conor's possessions. Hearing that his first wife, Maeve left him, Deirdre decides to do the same after crossing paths with three warrior brothers. Sworn to protect the kingdom, the Red Branch Warriors r ...more
May 05, 2010 Krystle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let’s start things off first with that I’ve never heard of, nor have I read the original tale that this based from. Anyway, with that said, let’s get into the review.

The cover of this book while simplistic is lovely and the story does have a healthy does of romance for those of you that enjoy your fantasy novels with that in them. Deirdre is a strong, feisty character that looks for answers of her own regarding her own identity, her fate, and the future of others. She’s headstrong and let’s her
The Swan Maiden is writen by Jules Watson, and is an interpretation of an old Irish legend about a young woman Deirdre, who was born with a curse. Naturely the king believes he can master the curse and so wants to marry her. The story is about Deirdres flight from him and her introduction to a world she has been denied her entire life.

I was very disappointed with the this book. About the first 100 pages were so promising, and I was sure this would be an interesting book. But then two things happ
Therese Regina Marie

Beautiful and tragic. Reading this book was a feast for the senses. It was like being transported into the past.

I was momentarily distracted by the parts that discussed the divine and the Sidhe, but I suppose it was truly a part of that era wherein people were so in tune with nature.

I was spellbound by Jules Watsons' narrative, very poetic and fluid. I can definitely imagine how Deirdre casts a spell as she dances, and I felt how intense her bond is with Naisi. Likewise, with the bond
Emily Ever
This was a pretty intense book. Not gonna lie.

It was really long, too. And I don't know if it had to be that long. The writing was great, don't get me wrong, but the descriptions of things did tend to drag on. The writing was very flowery and in some cases really well done, but overall, there was too much of it.

The story itself was good. Since it's a fairytale - more of less - it's not that surprising.

(view spoiler)
Jan 11, 2011 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2014 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ladies, fey
So first, I love this story, The Exile of the Sons of Uisnech is its original printed title, but since this legend is so old who knows what the title was, or if it even had one. I read the original legend, or various versions of it, I think a year or two ago, and I just feel in love. I feel in love with Deirdre, who I believed was fiery and independent and had been given no choice in the future of her life. And Naoise, (Or Naisi) the warrior who fell in love with her. But since this story is wel ...more
Tempo de Ler

«Nas histórias dos druidas, para alcançar a luz, temos primeiro de descer por uma longa estrada de escuridão, um vale escuro. E quanto mais bonita for a alvorada que acena sobre as colinas, mais difícil o trilho para lá chegar». Esta é uma história de druidas…de mitos e lendas…de magia e superstição…irá Deirdre e Naisi encontrar a sua alvorada? Ou enveredar por uma longa estrada de escuridão sem fim, marcada pelas sombrias intenções de outros como Nessa,
Nadine Jones
Aug 19, 2012 Nadine Jones rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-romance
I'm halfway through this one now. The book is good, but ... somehow a bit of a slog. Possibly because I've been feverish for a week now and EVERYTHING feels like a bit of a slog...


Okay, I'm sick, bedridden even, and ... this book is really starting to annoy me. It's TOO WORDY!!! Okay okay I GET IT, Deirdre and Naisi are two perfect, sexy people, deeply in touch with nature, and they are madly in love and HAVING LOTS OF SEX IN THE DIRT. Enough already! When they get down and dirty in the ferns,
Mar 14, 2015 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Já algum tempo que tinha este livro na pilha para ler, já lá vão quase 5 anos desde que o tenho e achei que estava na altura de o ler. Já a muito tempo que não lia um livro de fantasia puro. Uma história bem escrita baseada numa lenda Celta. Em A Lenda do Cisne, Jules Watson traz-nos a maravilhosa história de Deirdre, aquela que seria a mais bela mulher após Helena de Troia, mas essa beleza trouxe uma maldição, maldição essa que para contradizer, Deirdre foi criada em reclusão devido a ganancia ...more
Dec 25, 2015 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me about 75 pages to stop wondering where the enduring Irish legend part began. Mostly until then it was merely about sex, and too much eroticism for my tastes. However, just when I was about to stop reading, the plot started unfolding, and I ended up finishing the book. I really enjoyed the eventual triumph over tragedy, although the tragedy really was ... well, tragic.
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Jules Watson was born in Australia to English parents. She came to fiction via archaeology and public relations, working most recently as a freelance writer in England. She and her Scottish husband divide their time between the United Kingdom and Australia.
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“Fates are woven not by gods, but by the choices of humans--their greed and jealousies, their loves and courage...Fate is but one moment the gods extend to us, a test for us, but it is the choices we make that take us to that fate, or away. And so I will forge my own life!” 4 likes
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