Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Sarah McGuire
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
When twelve-year-old Princess Andaryn's father reappears after being lost in the forest with a new and otherworldly wife, the princess and her six brothers are naturally suspicious. But within a matter of days, the new Queen has used her enchantments to take away everything that Ryn loves and holds dear: her father is enchanted and beyond her reach, her castle is burned to the ground, and her brothers are nearly killed. In order to save her brothers, Ryn promises to stay silent for six years. Th Queen turns her brothers into swans, only becoming human on nights with a full moon. On her journey to breaking the enchantment, she learns a lot about trust, loyalty, survival, and the power of words. Ryn may have to keep silent for six years, but she proves that she doesn't need words to stand tall and fight back.
This is a wonderful retelling of The Six Swans, originally part of the Brothers Grimm collection. McGuire does a good job of expanding the tale, making it more interesting by including better magical explanations and deep, fleshed-out characters. Pacing the story over six years is a risk, but the story keeps a decent pace for the most part. The beginning is rushed, but the heart of the story is worth a rougher beginning. Ryn is an interesting and sympathetic narrator, and her voice is strong, despite not speaking aloud for the majority of the book. The plot features many twists, some that could be seen by a discerning reader and others that will take even those discerning readers by surprise. The ending also seems a bit rushed and tied up quickly, but is still satisfying. Readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings and fantasy should definitely pick up this title, as it will enchant and entertain anyone who loves a bit of magic.
*Contains mild sexual content and mild violence.