The Swan Maiden grabbed my attention with its gorgeous cover. The contents of this fairy-tale-spinoff kept me (mostly) enchanted, although in all I must say that the cover almost exceeds the story. Enjoy the review, and don't forget to leave a comment below!
Title: The Swan Maiden
Author: Heather Tomlinson
Page Count: 304 pages
Stars: 3 of 5
- 3 = enjoyable. May have minor content issues or flaws in the writing.
Teaser: Doucette wants to be a “swan maiden,” a creature of flight and magic, like her two elder sisters. At last, she has the chance to realize her dream—but the day comes when she must decide between love and magic.
Age level: Teens and up (13+)
Violence: 2 of 5
- 2 = PG-level violence that's a minor theme in the book
- 3 = romance is a major theme of the story but is appropriate for teens
Language: 0 of 5
Christian worldview: The magic in this story seems to be hereditary and viewed with suspicion or even dislike. (See this post for my thoughts on how magic in fantasy can or can’t mesh with faith.) The biblical lesson that a little power makes you want a little more is clearly told. The value of faithful love is also evident in the story.
My thoughts: This story was an elegant and enjoyable fantasy. I immediately connected with the feelings of jealousy and longing that Doucette experienced as she watched her older sisters flaunt their magic in front of her. The hero of the story, while a bit cliché, did show a lot of courage and honor and loyalty. Although the setting is a medieval fantasy, Tomlinson manages to deftly sidestep clichés by making the story focused on medieval France and incorporating very vivid details of life to make the setting come alive to readers.
My major problem with The Swan Maiden was a decision Doucette made towards the end of the story. The decision felt too selfish for her and unlike the way she’d behaved in the past. I didn’t think it was completely necessary for the story, either, particularly considering the ending. Still, it taught her a good lesson that I won’t spoil here.
In sum, The Swan Maiden was a light fantasy with good themes. A nice book to read with a cup of tea on a rainy day.