There’s something magical about a fairytale. Maybe it’s the tradition behind it, or the shared heritage behind stories that get passed down. Either way, I love reading fairytale retellings. Diane Zahler is becoming one of my favorite middle grade authors as she continues to put a captivating spin on fairy tales with her latest, Princess Of The Wild Swans.
Princess Of The Wild Swans is a retelling of the seven swans story. Princess Meriel leads a rather idyllic life in the castle with her brothers and father. She may hate her sewing lessons, but seriously, that is her biggest worry. One day Meriel’s father, the king, returns from one of his journeys with a bride in tow. Something is a bit odd about this woman and Meriel’s suspicions are raised. When her brothers are turned into swans, it is up to Meriel with the help of some village locals to break the curse.
Do you have a little girl in your life whom you want to grow into a strong woman? She might be a bit young to read Robin McKinley, so Diane Zahler makes a perfect stepping stone so that little girl eventually moves on to McKinley and Pierce and the like. Keeping in characterization with Zahler’s other heroines, Mariel’s determination is a force to be reckoned with. She never needs a boy to save her, but happily accepts help and befriends a village boy. Meriel exhibits courage, loyalty and hard work – values that I think are worth emulating. I think Princess Of The Wild Swans has a real winner in the character of Meriel. She’s a child that I actually admire and would have totally loved to read about as a kid.
Look, if you have NO clue where to start when it comes to middle grade fantasy, maybe you have read all the Gail Carson Levines on the shelf, whatever the reason, I truly think that Diane Zahler’s fairy tale retellings are a great place to start when it comes to fantasy at this level. Princess Of The Wild Swans is neither too heavy nor too light, but a charming take on one of my favorite fairytales.
Disclosure: Received for review from publisher.
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