Alexandra is the only princess of The Kingdom, her father's realm, where beauty and prosperity dwell thanks to her mother, a cunning woman, whose magic and affinity for the earth bring harmony to their lands. Alexandra is the youngest child of the king, and his least favorite, but she takes comfort in her three older brothers’ affection, and her mother's teachings of the ways of the enaid, the magical forces that run through the earth.
But then her mother is brutally attacked by a supernatural wild animal, and despite her talents in healing, Alexandra cannot save her. It isn't long before the king finds himself a new wife—a pretty, young, and mysterious woman named Zella who has everyone falling under her charms—except Alexandra and her brothers. When they underestimate their step-mother's treachery and Alexandra is sent far away and her brothers banished, Alexandra will have to find the strength and courage to face Zella and take back what is rightfully hers.
The Swan Kingdom is a beautiful and magical read that contains some of the best fantasy elements—romance, curses, a wicked witch, enchanted lands, and a strong heroine. Marriott's world of flowing magic and the kingdoms with their diverse rulers and people is an enchantingly clever one and is accurately described. Alexandra is a very likable and real character, and The Swan Kingdom is as much of her coming-of-age story as it is an adventure. Her faults, strengths, and tenacity are admirable, and she has an engaging and distinct voice that readers will find very compelling and convincing at the same time. Alexandra’s spunk and her wholehearted love for her kingdom and family are what propel the plot.
The resolution of the story may leave some scratching their heads and thumbing through the book a bit, but it is a satisfying one. Marriott stays pretty true to the original tale though, without deviating to embellish the plot, causing The Swan Kingdom to read more like The Wild Swans with added details, but nevertheless, fairytale and fantasy lovers will be content to enjoy this romantic and magical tale of courage and independence with a lovable and genuine heroine. Zoe Marriott is an author to watch.