I wasn’t sure what to think when I picked up this book. I hoped for some inspiration, as I’m dipping my toe into retelling Fairy tales for the YA crowd, but it’s been years since I’ve read a book for 8-12 year olds. I believed I would scan PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS for 10 minutes, and then put it down…but I couldn’t! It was so well written I was obliged to read it until the end.
What held my attention were the characters. Protagonist Princess Meriel, aged 12, is predictably naughty so there were no surprises when this volume opened with her having a tantrum while her long-suffering governess tried to persuade her to sew. But her friends – half-witch Riona and her clever brother Liam – were so interesting, partly because of the loving descriptions that Ms Zaher bestows on every detail of their lives. Then there are the 5 brothers, so well delineated that even when they are swans, one can tell them apart.
When I was about ten or so, I started choosing my own books based upon words in the title. So I went through a lot of books with “moon” in the title. Then it was witches. Lastly, it was princesses. If you know of a young woman like that, this is the book for her. Also very enjoyable to read aloud to a younger audience. Highly recommended! 5 stars.