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Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler
Published by HarperCollins Children’s
Pages: 224
Ages: 8-12
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository
Publishers Summary:

Princess Meriel’s brothers have been cursed. A terrible enchantment—cast by their conniving new stepmother—has transformed the handsome princes into swans. They now swim forlornly on a beautiful heart-shaped lake that lies just beyond the castle walls.

Meriel will do whatever it takes to rescue her beloved brothers. But she must act quickly. If Heart Lake freezes, her brothers will be forced to fly south or perish.

With help from her newfound friends Riona and Liam—a pretty half-witch and her clever brother—Meriel vows to finish a seemingly impossible task. If she completes it, her brothers may be saved.

But if she fails . . . all will be lost.

An adventurous princess trapped by the bounds placed upon her by her title is freed to become the person she’d always dreamed about, but is the cost too high? Princess Meriel’s father, the King, returns from a recent trip with a new wife at his side. With her brothers and father entranced by the new Queen it’s up to Meriel to dispel the mystery surrounding Lady Orianna and prevent a disaster from befalling not only her family but the kingdom she loves.

My first experience reading Diane Zahler’s work came with her book A True Princess and I absolutely loved it. Well, I’m not sure it’s possible but I think I may have enjoyed Princess of the Wild Swans even more. Zahler has a way with words that pull her characters off the page and into reality. In both books I was astounded at this not only because it’s done so seamlessly, but also because it’s done in a relatively short span of pages. In quite a few instances readers tend to think of middle grade fiction as being “easier” or “more basic”, but that’s not the case at all and in the case of Diane Zahler’s writing you’d be sorely mistaken for thinking that. Yes, the story is shorter and the action fast paced, but the depth you’d expect within the pages of a young adult or perhaps an adult novel is clearly there within these pages. There’s no “easier” about it, Princess of the Wild Swans is simply excellent storytelling that readers young and old will be enchanted by.

Princess of the Wild Swans is based loosely on the story told by Hans Christian Anderson called The Wild Swans. Now, I’d actually never heard this fairytale before and if you haven’t before I’m not sure I’d suggest reading it before reading Zahler’s book. Not that they are the same, because they aren’t much at all, it’s just that I’m the type that doesn’t like spoilers of any sort. It did lay a nice foundation for a story I appreciate even more than the classic it’s based off of.

Again, as she did with A True Princess, Zahler creates a world and characters that you’re instantly taken in by. Within pages you are irritated with Meriel’s behavior, eager to see her become the adventurer she longs for and concerned for her family’s well-being. It’s amazing because if you’d asked me only two pages in if I was going to like Meriel I would have said no, but ask me on page ten and I would have given you a completely different answer. She was feisty but warm and kind. Her friends Riona and Liam only made her a better person and their willingness to help her became a trait she soon acquired herself. It wasn’t merely the characters but the depth of the story, from a world with witches and royalty to fairies and a magical lake, it all created an entire portrait that felt alive as you read through it’s pages.

Diane Zahler knows how to write a classic fairytale that readers today will immediately fall in love with. Princess of the Wild Swans is filled with stunningly realistic characters, an exciting adventure and mystery as well as lessons to be learned. Princess Meriel is a princess I’d be excited to have my children look up to and am eager to share with them, as her heart and passion rest with the welfare of those around her. Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler is a story I thoroughly enjoyed and one I’d highly recommend to other readers who love a brilliant fairytale retelling or simply an excellent story.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 7 and up. Powerful storytelling filled with adventure and heart. A fairytale for all ages!

Find Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads

Visit author Diane Zahler’s website for more reviews, giveaways and interviews along the Princess of the Wild Swans Blog Tour.

Thank you so much to the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter and on Facebook!
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13 Responses to Book Review: Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler

  1. Diane says:

    Thank you for hosting me on your wonderful blog, Danielle. And thanks so much for this fabulous review!

  2. Loved it! RT @dianezahler: What a wonderful review of Princess of the Wild Swans on my blog tour stop, There’s a Book!

  3. Bert Dinginham says:

    Truly a marvelous book, one that literally every member of my family enjoyed, young and old. Diane Zahler has written a brilliant homage to the classical fairytales we all grew up with, in an era when children’s media is often lacking the true spirit of adventure, intrigue and daring which draws us to this type of literature when we are young.

  4. Oh, this one sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for the heads up about Zahler’s work. (Oddly, though, I wouldn’t have picked it as a HC book based on the cover–it has a Scholastic/Disney look to it.)

    • I can see why you’d think that…I’m almost positive I had similar feelings when I saw her book A True Princess. It’s definitely worth a try and I think this is one you’d really enjoy!

  5. Brenda says:

    Princess of the Wild Swans is an amazing book indeed! This is perfect for my 9 year old niece… Thank you for sharing the review on this book.

  6. Ooooooooooooo another one I want now. Thanks for the great review.

  7. PragmaticMom says:

    The ballet Swan Lake is based on this fairy tale, too, right?

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