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The Swan Kingdom

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,477 ratings  ·  386 reviews
Shadows have fallen across the beautiful and lush Kingdom. The queen was 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 h ...more
Hardcover, 1st U.S. ed., 258 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Candlewick Press (first published March 5th 2007)
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Qabs No, its an amazing retelling of The Wild Swans fairytale, unfortunately it's nothing like Swan lake!
Qabs No. Just bit of kissing and someone starts their period.

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Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: retellings
This book gets off on the wrong foot and never quite recovers. It ends on the wrong foot, too.

The opening lines of Chapter 1: "You probably know me already. In every story you've ever been told, someone like me exists. A figure in the background, barely noticed by the main players. A talentless, unwanted child. The ugly one. The ugly one only gets in the way. She is as out of place as a sparrow in a clutch of swans."

From those opening lines, I expected to hear more about what made her the ugly,
I don't know the whole swan retelling so I can't judge the book and state whether or not the book did a good job at retelling it.

Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed this book.

Reasons to read:
-It's a YA fantasy stand alone.
-Likeable and flawed MC: Alexandra is described as plain, ugly, and bland. She's not a normal pretty princess.
-Very fast paced.
-Cute romance: Though there isn't much romance development, it was still likeable.
-Evil step-mom.
-Heroine doesn't lust after the love interest
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Natalie Tsang for

As the brightly colored cover suggests, Zoë 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 r
3.5 stars, this book has the potential to become a four stars read but in the middle of the story, I realize the characters aren't shaped up enough (though most of them do have their moments), resulting in this retelling of The Wild Swans losing its depth (and the plot twist about (view spoiler) is very cheesy), still the ending is nice and I'm glad to see the author has wisely kept the romance low-keyed and made her heroine focusing ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. An awesome retelling. Marriott's writing was very clear and intricate. I was impress how easily she described and related magical situations and feelings that are normally difficult to understand and imagine.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book I liked it as much as "Shadows on the Moon".
enqi ☁️✨ [joon's]
The Swan Kingdom was lyrical and enchanting and a fairy tale through and through, with all the signature elements such as evil stepmother, enchanted gardens, animal transformations, and a disgraced, unwanted princess-protagonist named Alexandra. There was danger, darkness, and an evil villain/enemy, and most importantly, a happy ending. I can't really figure out how to rate it, so I'm just going to make a list of my likes and dislikes about the book. In the end, I decided on 3 stars because I ...more
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fun light romance and magic. Alexandra, the main character, has the gift to work with the power of the earth. She knows about healing herbs and works small magics that her mother taught her. When her mother is killed by a wild beast, and her father is enchanted and tricked into marrying the evil being that killed her mother, Alexandra is on her own. Her 3 loving brothers have also been banished, but she can't quite remember what happened to them. She must learn who she is and what her powers are ...more
It's so hard for me not to compare any retelling that even touches on swans (The Wild Swans, The Six Swans, doesn't matter) without comparing it to Daughter of the Forest , so I was really worried going in that I would unconsciously (or even consciously) be setting The Swan Kingdom up to fail. But it amazed me how little I felt myself needing to compare. This isn't to say I didn't compare, because I definitely did, especially when it comes to the depth of the story (in which case I compared it ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I am such a sucker for pretty covers. I swear, it's like I don't even read the premise and just dive in. Well, I at least knew it was a fairy tale retelling and I love those, so I couldn't pass this one up. I've never read the original tale this is based on but I would like to, I just need to find the time to get to them, so keep that in mind.

The first half of this book (or part one) was excruciating to get through. The beginning of the book was so melodramatic and filled with lots of; my father
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fairy tale fans, incurable romantics
Shelves: teen
I really enjoyed this poetic retelling of the Six Swans fairy tale. Alexandra, youngest child of the king, is an ugly little thing, but useful. She can use the enaid, the power of the land, to do little things like healing and talking to the beasts and creatures of the land. Her mother's ability to wield the enaid is greater and soaks through the kingdom, bringing lush growth and bountiful crops. Alexandra's three brothers, David, Hugh and Robin, posses little of the gift, but have their own str ...more
Anne Osterlund
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Alexandra isn’t special. At least not to her father. Her mother tells her about the special magic of the Enaid—that one day Alexandra will be the one protect the source that nurtures the land and the animals of the Kingdom.

But when the true test comes, her mother is no longer there.

Alexandra’s father rides into the forest to battle the evil responsible and returns with a woman named Zella who reeks of blood.

Will Alexandra’s own powers ever be strong enough to defend the Kingdom against the beast
I adore fairy tale retellings and the synopsis of The Swan Kingdom held enough promise to get me well and truly excited, but unfortunately the story never really gets off the ground. Much could have been forgiven regarding the rather flat story, awkward dialogue and melodramatic prose if our heroine, Alexandra, had only been more likable, or her romance (one of the key points of any fairy tale!) was better developed. But it failed on both these points, and what was left was a rather forgettable ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
The Swan Kingdom is a creditable debut, but it doesn't quite stand on its own strengths so much as the author's potential to write much better books. The narration has a strong, clear voice, and the heroine Alexandra undergoes a great deal of growth throughout the story (based on the fairy tale The Wild Swans). I especially like how even the people who seem purely good or evil to Alexandra at first often turn out to have unexpected qualities. I wouldn't exactly call it depth, since they're not w ...more
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 ...more
Sep 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: retellings, fantasy
It was a good book but I couldn't truly love it. The story line in general was enjoyable. I guess it wasn't what I was expecting. It was expecting adventure, enchantment, disguise, romance, and action. It did have all the other things, just not to the level I'd expected.

The beginning I thought was slow. Alexandra tells us that she is ugly and I think "Alright sounds good it'll give her more depth as a princess." But alas she is just plain and I can't sympathies too much with a just plain prince
Sep 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I think this book would have worked better had it broken completely from the fairy tale (six swans—or any of the other many versions by which it’s known) since the connection to the original was so thin. I liked the magical kingdom, with its matriarchal, druid feel. However, I was frequently confused by setting, as I was constantly being surprised by more advanced technologies than I expected in the area. I was disappointed that the nettles played so little a role in the book and that the proble ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
3.25 out of 5

Good, but not on the same level as her later novels. Clearly a debut, Marriott demonstrates a lot of the same skills (strong female character, unique magic, compelling storytelling) that she will continue to mature in her later work.

A bit simplistic, a bit too easily resolved at the end, still, The Swan Kingdom was entertaining and creative. A fun read, if an easy one.
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well... I haven't cried like that in a long time.

Wow, I can't say anything. No, really, I can't think of a word. These sentences were written minutes apart from each other. (Okay, I couldn't even understand what I meant, sorry.)

Just read it. Do I have to do everything around here?
SJ Reads
2.5 stars.
I wish I had loved this, I wish I did more than just push through so I could be finished. This had an interesting premise that followed the idea of the evil step mother, and yet the plot and characters failed to pull through. The writing was beautiful, if a bit too flowery at times, and there was real potential. But the beginning and end lacked enough energy to get me invested so I only kept reading so I could put this book down and find something else to read
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales, own, blog
Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

The Swan Kingdom by Zoë Marriott is one of my favorite fairy tale retellings of all time. I love it. Zoë has taken the old tale, The Wild Swans and made it completely her own. She wrote us an absolutely lovely guest post that talks about the book far better than I could, so I'm going to link it here.

Alexandra is the young daughter of a distant and disappointing father and a warm, loving and magical mother. Her father is disint
Jade Walker
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-a
Original review at

That's what the blurb says and I have to admit, after first reading that, it sounded like every other magical fantasy out there. I bought it though, simply for the fact that the cover art was absoloutely stunning. Let's put it like this though. I started the book on the car ride home and I had finished it two hours later. This title is the one that showed me that a book can be beautiful.

Everything about this book is gorgeous, from the way tha
One thing I can say about Zoe Marriott is that she knows how to write a Prince-Charming-type character! I enjoyed her writing style whilst reading Daughter of the Flames, and the love interest she created, and since then I’ve been waiting to read more of her stuff.

The Swan Kingdom is loosely based around The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson, but the key word here is loosely. I admit, I’m not over familiar with that particular story, but from what I remember, whilst parallels between this b
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimberly Hirsh
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
After Princess Alexandra's mother is killed, her father marries a woman who charms the kingdom. Alexandra and her brothers, however, believe that this woman is a shape-shifter, the beast who killed their mother in human form. After an ill-fated attempt to prove this goes awry, Alexandra is banished and her brothers disappear. As she lives with her aunt, Alexandra begins to understand the nature of her own magical power.

I can't say much more without giving away details of the plot that I think re
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 inten
Brandy Painter
Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I read and reviewed Zoe Marriott's Shadows on the Moon earlier this year (my review) and decided to track down some of her other novels. I started with The Swan Kingdom, a retelling of "The Wild Swans", because I like fairy tale retellings.

The story is basically a longer version of the original giving a more detailed accounting between the time the brothers are turned to swans and Alexandra sets them free. Marriott does add her own little spin
Princess Debz
Originally posted on Debz Bookshelf

It’s so difficult to find words to properly describe my love of Zoe Marriott. This book was absolutely stunning. It’s hard to find a single fault within these pages. The writing was gorgeous. I knew it would be, but I loved it much more than I ever thought I could’ve. It flowed so gracefully, and told the story beautifully.

All the characters were amazing. They were realistic, but at the same time most certainly belonged in a fairy tale. Alexandra was a wonderfu
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read in 2012

Swan Kingdom was Zöe Marriott’s debut, I picked it up because I love retellings. I was not disappointed. Having re-read the book this year I found all manner of things I missed the first time round.

One of the things that Zöe Marriott excels in is creating strong yet believable heroines. Alexandra doesn’t have the greatest self-esteem, her mother and brothers love her, the relationship with her father is awkward. While she takes after her mother in the skills of a cunning woman Ale
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book is a retelling of the Six Swans, which has been done before as in Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier but still manages a few twists that were different.

Despite the description at the beginning of the story, there does not seem to be anything particularly nondescript about the main character, although she describes herself as "plain". She is a red haired, "leaf-green" eyed, willowy princess who can work magic. But we are to be convinced that she is pretty ordinary?

The telling of
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I've known that I wanted to be a writer since I finished reading my first book; 'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton. I think I was about eight, but I've never changed my mind in all the years since then.

I got my first publishing contract when I was twenty-two, but had to wait until I was twenty-four to see that book published (it was The Swan Kingdom).

I live in a little house in a town by the
“To ugly ducklings everywhere,
Don't worry about those fluffy yellow morons:
They'll never get to be swans”
“My first memory is of the smell of sunwarmed earth.” 3 likes
More quotes…