The Flight of Swans
Based on the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale Six Swans, The Flight of Swans follows Ryn's journey to save her family and their kingdom. Princess Andaryn's six older brothers have always been her protectors--until her father takes a new Queen, a frightening, mysterious woman who enchants the men in the royal family. When Ryn's attempt to break the enchantment fails, she makes a bitter bargain: the Queen will spare her brothers' lives if Ryn remains silent for six years. Ryn thinks she freed her brothers, but she never thought the Queen would turn her brothers into swans. She never thought she'd have to discover the secret to undoing the Queen's spell while eluding the Otherworldly forces that hunt her. And she never thought she'd have to do it alone, without speaking a single word. As months as years go by, Ryn learns there is more to courage than speech . . . and that she is stronger than the Queen could have ever imagined.

The Flight of Swans Details

TitleThe Flight of Swans
Author
ReleaseOct 1st, 2018
PublisherCarolrhoda Books (R)
ISBN-139781512440270
Rating
GenreFantasy, Childrens, Middle Grade, Fairy Tales, Retellings, Fairy Tale Retellings, Fiction, Juvenile, Folk Tales, Magic

The Flight of Swans Review

  • Christine (allthingschristine)
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher to review. In no way has the publisher nor the author influenced or paid for my review, all opinions stated are my own.****** SPOILERS AHEAD ******I have not enjoyed a retelling this much in a long time. I realized going in to this that it was a middle grade book, but I must admit that I completely forgot about that as I was reading the story. To be completely honest I’m not 100% sure if I would call this completely middle grade fiction. I feel Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher to review. In no way has the publisher nor the author influenced or paid for my review, all opinions stated are my own.****** SPOILERS AHEAD ******I have not enjoyed a retelling this much in a long time. I realized going in to this that it was a middle grade book, but I must admit that I completely forgot about that as I was reading the story. To be completely honest I’m not 100% sure if I would call this completely middle grade fiction. I feel like it could be the upper age range of middle grade or in some space between middle grade and young adult. If you are buying this book for your child to read I would recommend they be at least 11 due to character death (not really super graphic, but it didn’t really fade to black) and romance (there is some kissing). I would say that going into this book you would need to know at least the basics of the Six Swans tale to really be able to understand the story to its’ full extent. Because I had this prior knowledge I was alright but if you had no idea what it was about then I feel like this book could be a little bit confusing. To me, this retelling not only built upon the original but made it accessible and easy to understand and feel like you were really a part of the story. It built upon the original story and McGuire added her own flair which I personally loved. Also, another small touch I really appreciated was the chapter headers. There are swan wings for the parts of the story where her brothers are swans and a full moon for the chapters where they are human again. For me these little touches really make the story and make me love it that much more.The world building and pacing for this book was phenomenal. The worlds felt like real places to me that I would personally love to explore. I definitely got some Scottish and Ancient Roman feels to the worlds of Lacharra and Eyre. I was worried about the pacing for this book because I didn’t know how McGuire would manage to handle covering 6 years in a single book. She does it so magnificently though! The story never fell off in pace, something was always happening and the story was always progressing. We did lose big chunks of time at once but that is to be expected though because they book is already 437 pages long and really couldn’t be any longer. I never got bored with the story or wanted to stop, in fact I read this book in a single sitting! I was sad when I realized how close to the end I was because it felt like I got there so fast. The only thing I feel like it was missing was a map so we could see and travel with the characters as they went on their journey throughout the book. I am slightly biased though when it comes to book maps because I adore them. But I also would’ve loved a pronunciation key for the names in the book because I didn’t know how to say some of them and I am sure that in my head I said a bunch of them wrong. I can imagine it would be much harder for middle grade readers to pronounce them. I loved all of the characters in this book. Andaryn was a delight and I loved to see the dynamic between her and her brothers. I was so sad when Tanwen died! But my favourite part was watching Ryn grow up and her character development over the six years in silence throughout the book. There were no big leaps and bounds (except for her dealing with Tanwen’s death) but it was a slow and quiet development over time as she went from a spoiled princess to a young woman who knows her own mind and who she is and what she wants. Andaryn was a principled, courageous, tenacious, generous and truly lovable character that made me sympathize with her and root for her to win. Her brothers were endearing, protective, and a joy to read about. Each brother had their own distinct personality that really made them stand out and not fade into the background even though they spent most of the story as swans. And how could you not fall in love with Corbin! He was so smart, understanding, courageous and most importantly for me, he allowed Ryn to save herself on multiple occasions and not dash in like a knight in shining armour. I actually would’ve like a little bit of the book to be from his perspective because I would like to understand his character a bit better. I also loved the underlying theme in the book about the power of words. With the loss of her voice and words altogether Ryn realized how incapacitated one could be and manages to find a way around it. She finds a way to speak without words which was truly amazing to me. I actually tried for just an hour to not make a single noise and it was impossible. You make noise when you yawn, cough, laugh, you speak without thinking, you hum, etc. You don’t even realize how hard it is until you actually try it. To me this makes words and the power of them even more important. Words have the power to hurt people, to raise them up, to become poison or medicine and this story just reinforced that. As a reader and blogger I always knew words were important and this book just does really well demonstrating how.There was really nothing that I disliked about this book except for the fact that I never wanted it to end. I did want to see an epilogue of a few years later with Ryn back with Corbin and maybe with kids of their own and a bigger Carrick with the two countries enjoying peace and harmony. That is how I imagine it would all turn out anyways, but I still would’ve loved to see it in the book. A girl can hope for a novella though right?Overall I truly adored this book and I would definitely recommend people of all ages to read it. It is a wonderfully imaginative and compelling retelling of the Six Swans tale that does justice to the original story. I’m so sad that the story is over because I would’ve loved to see another book set in this universe. This is the first work by author Sarah McGuire that I’ve read but I am definitely going to read more of her books in the future! I would like to thank Thomas Allen & Son for provided me this ARC copy to read, I’m so delighted that I did! Now go out and get your copy now.
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  • The Library Ladies
    January 1, 1970
    (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )Omg, I was so excited when I just randomly stumbled on this book on Edelweiss. I obviously love fairytale retellings. But I LOVE the “Six Swans” fairytale in particular. Juliet Marillier’s “Daughter of the Forest” is probably one of my favorite books ever and is the golden standard as far as I’m concerned for retelling this fairytale. And, frankly, in a world becoming chock-full of other fairytale retellings, there are still very few that tackle thi (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )Omg, I was so excited when I just randomly stumbled on this book on Edelweiss. I obviously love fairytale retellings. But I LOVE the “Six Swans” fairytale in particular. Juliet Marillier’s “Daughter of the Forest” is probably one of my favorite books ever and is the golden standard as far as I’m concerned for retelling this fairytale. And, frankly, in a world becoming chock-full of other fairytale retellings, there are still very few that tackle this particular tale. So, with those facts in mind, I went into this both very excited and very challenged to not simply do a comparison read with Marillier’s take.The story follows the classic fairytale. Ryn is a young girl when the story starts out, the youngest of seven siblings with six beloved older brothers. When a sorceress bewitches the king, their father, these siblings rebel only to become caught in the crosshairs of a magical spell themselves. The brothers are all turned into swans, and Ryn is left with impossible task of remaining silent for six years while weaving six tunics out of painful nettles to free her brothers and restore their kingdom.Long story short, I loved this book. I loved our main character. I loved how true it remained to the original fairytale. I loved the ways that it expanded on the original fairytale. I loved the romance. I loved the magic. Review done now? Probably could be if I didn’t feel like I owed readers (and the book) at least a bit more detail.Outside of my general love for the story, there were a few things that stood out in particular. For one, I loved the brothers in this book. Six brothers who spend most of a story as swans and off the page is always going to be a hard thing to tackle for an author. How do you make sure they each have personalities and can be differentiated from each other? While I won’t say that McGuire was completely successful here (there are still one or two brothers who I can only remember small details about), for the most part she does an excellent job of giving the brothers enough distinct traits to make each stand out. For one thing, the way the curse is laid out in this book, the brothers get to spend one night each month as humans. This gives them much more page time than other versions of the tale (Marillier’s swans only become human twice a year). With the addition of these scenes, we get to see much more of the brothers. I particularly loved Aiden, the oldest brother, and his close relationship with Ryn. He’s probably the brother that is given the most throughout the book, and I just loved everything about him. Secondly, I very much liked Ryn’s twin brother who is the one who has the most of an arc in this book, going from a kind of bratty, young kid to a loyal brother who is the one who really understands the extent of Ryn’s sacrifice in the end.I also loved the inclusion of particular elements of the fairytale that have been left out of other versions of the story. I always loved the part of the original tale that dealt with the swans carrying their sister across the sea to safety. This is the kind of fairytale scene that is pretty hard to adapt, being very whimsical and hard to actually picture in the real world. McGuire adapts the scene here, having the swans pull a raft carrying Ryn. It was thrilling to see this part of the tale included, and it was also one of the most shining moments for Aiden as a character, even in swan form.I also loved the romance that builds up between Ryn and the foreign prince, Corbin. As this is a middle grade novel, I had to repeatedly remind myself to be happy with the romance I was getting. But as an example of middle grade romances, this one does very well. It’s another tough part of the story to adapt, what with the usual late entrance of the romantic interest in the fairytale itself. And the fact that our heroine can’t speak, so creating meaningful moments where readers can really buy this type of connection forming can be challenging. McGuire rises to the occasion with aplomb.The only criticism of the book I have does have to do with my expectations and comparisons to Marillier’s version. Like I said, it was a huge challenge to not compare the two as there are so few examples of this fairytale and Marillier’s is superb. “Daughter of the Forest” is also an adult fantasy novel and has some very adult scenes in the book. It can be a tough read, but its darker moments are also what adds to the ultimate beauty and triumph of the story.This book, as a middle grade novel, had to take a very different route. And while I can appreciate certain changes (the romance needing to be written in a different way, for one), there were also a few choices that I felt were unnecessary and needlessly removed some of the teeth from the story. For one, the aforementioned monthly transformation of the brothers. This lead to a lot of great development for these characters, but also made Ryn’s experience much easier as she regularly had the support of her brothers to tackle basic tasks, like shelter building. She was also limited to not speaking or writing, but was still able to tell others every bit of her tale as long as she mimed it or acted it out. This let her explain her situation to a lot more people, thus creating even more of a safety net for herself. Beyond this, the nettles themselves become less of a challenge. Ryn quickly finds a way of handling the viscous plants in a way that doesn’t injure her at all. Much of the power of the original story is the way the heroine perseveres through the awful trial that is this curse, and part of that trial is the combination of remaining silent while completely a very painful task. All of these choices, when put together, make Ryn’s story a bit too light, in my opinion. Yes, it is a middle grade novel, but I think the author took it a little too far here and could have kept a bit more of the original’s darkness.But! I still absolutely loved this story. I was so pleased that is lived up to many of my expectations and even surpassed some of them. It’s also a nice alternative to point to for readers looking for a retelling of this fairytale. There are some younger readers to whom, before, I would have hesitated to hand “Daughter of the Forest” because of some of its adult themes. But now we have this! And put together, we have a version for younger readers AND a version for adults!Rating 9: A beautiful take on a much-overlooked fairytale.
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  • Susana
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars
  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't want this book to end. Which is, honestly, not a typical experience for me. Even with books I love, I can't help looking to the final unspooling of the story, to the moment when the author has given me everything she has to share, and I can push the covers closed with a deep sigh of satisfaction.But this. I wanted that final moment, that contented sigh...but I also wanted to stay in the book forever. For one thing, The Flight of Swans is an incredibly immersive retelling, clever in its I didn't want this book to end. Which is, honestly, not a typical experience for me. Even with books I love, I can't help looking to the final unspooling of the story, to the moment when the author has given me everything she has to share, and I can push the covers closed with a deep sigh of satisfaction.But this. I wanted that final moment, that contented sigh...but I also wanted to stay in the book forever. For one thing, The Flight of Swans is an incredibly immersive retelling, clever in its reworking of the fairy tale elements and deliciously thorough in its worldbuilding and characterization. But I don't think that's why I didn't want to leave its pages: that honor goes to Andaryn. And her family.Andaryn is a remarkably brave heroine, but her bravery expresses itself in a marathon of endurance. For six years, she pushes herself through terror and hardship and loneliness and grief, and while she has help from time to time, over and over again, she turns to herself and rediscovers or rekindles her strength, her courage, and her will to continue. Being inside her mind was like being inside my own, silent and fierce, as I followed through on every dream, persisted through every fear, endured every pain...and triumphed. Her strength became my strength....And her family became my family. All their love for one another, the way they tease and protect each other, wrapped around me and welcomed me in. I'm very lucky: I have a family like that. And I know how important that feeling is, especially when life is frightening or lonely or sad. So even as I struggled alongside Andaryn in her exile, I reveled in the love and support of her brothers and rejoiced in the way she gave that love and support back to them.Is it any wonder I didn't want to leave the book? To forego Andaryn's strength and relinquish her brothers' affection and warmth? I know I have strength and family of my own to turn to...and I'm very glad to have finished the book and breathed my happy satisfaction at its end...but I also know I'll be returning to this book whenever I need a reminder of the depth of my endurance or the power of my family's potential.
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  • Critterbee❇
    January 1, 1970
    The Flight of Swans is the second fairy tale retelling by Sarah McGuire. I really enjoyed her previous book, Valiant, so I was happy to receive an ARC of this through Netgalley.Most old European fairy tales are dark and disturbing, and McGuire accurately captures the tone of the originals, while making her characters likable and a bit modern. The characters are relatable without sacrificing integrity; the story honors the original fairy tale.As the book begins, 12 year old Andaryn’s Father, the The Flight of Swans is the second fairy tale retelling by Sarah McGuire. I really enjoyed her previous book, Valiant, so I was happy to receive an ARC of this through Netgalley.Most old European fairy tales are dark and disturbing, and McGuire accurately captures the tone of the originals, while making her characters likable and a bit modern. The characters are relatable without sacrificing integrity; the story honors the original fairy tale.As the book begins, 12 year old Andaryn’s Father, the King, has been ‘rescued’ from being lost in the forest by a woman who seems to have mesmerized him. They marry, and Andaryn’s six brothers start to fall under her spell as well. Andaryn is alarmed, and desperately attempts to break the new queen’s hold over her family. What results is a six year sentence to silence, and her six brothers being transformed into swans. The brothers are able to return to human form the night of every full moon. In the beginning they are mainly concerned with Andaryn’s safety. They bossily and adamantly teach her how to live in the wild, and how to keep herself safe. Over the six years of silence, Andaryn encounters enemies and allies. Some are terrifying - the queen with her ability to convince everyone that Andaryn is evil and dangerous, and the queen’s hunters, otherworldly and nigh-inescapable. Some are there merely to strengthen Andaryn as she grows into her womanhood (view spoiler)[ Connach and Moyle (hide spoiler)]. And her brothers, while not intending to be enemies, do challenge and oppose Andaryn. This is mainly because they are so dedicated to protecting their little sister that they are unable to recognize the smart, resourceful, shrewd young woman that she has become. I preferred the story once she crossed the barrow lands, as the pace settled down and the story became more focused. The beginning felt rushed and scattered. True, that accurately reflects the feeling of a 12 year old being thrown a lot of nasty stuff to deal with in a short time while running for her life and trying to protect her older brothers who have always taken care of her. Andaryn has to grow and develop her strength, if she is going to save everyone.Overall, this is a great re-telling, because it respected the main theme of the fairy tale, while fleshing it out with multi-layered characters, a dynamic story, romance and a few surprises that enriched the original story without diluting it.I like Andaryn, and her transformation from overprotected younger sister to powerful woman was gradual and convincing. Tamsen, Corbin, Iowyn, Finn and the Queen were all memorable. The brothers, as happens when you have SIX of them, rather melted into one surly overprotective lump. Aiden did stand out as the oldest and heir apparent to their Father’s kingdom, as did Owain as her twin (it is hard to forget a twin to the main character!) and Guyen as the scholar among the bunch. The only things I did not love was that, even though it was a long book, it felt rushed at times, mainly in the beginning, when we hit the ground running and learn most of what had already happened as the story progresses. Also rushed and quite unsatisfactory was (view spoiler)[ when her father the King abruptly returned to himself and then was killed. It just felt a little awkward, cliched and expected. (hide spoiler)]. Also, I did not love the cover. I felt the cover for Valiant was amazing, and the cover of The Flight of Swans was disappointing, besides having no continuity with Valiant.*eARC Netgalley*
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  • Jora
    January 1, 1970
    The Flight of Swans is about a girl named Andaryn, or Ryn for short. She has six brothers, and a father. Her father gets lost in the woods and a mysteriously enchanting lady leads him out... and marries him. She is quite the enchantress, and not in a good way either. She attempts to take over everything and everyone, using whatever methods she can conjure up. Ryn's brothers end up as black swans most of the time (read it to find out exactly how), and men sometimes (again, read to find out). This The Flight of Swans is about a girl named Andaryn, or Ryn for short. She has six brothers, and a father. Her father gets lost in the woods and a mysteriously enchanting lady leads him out... and marries him. She is quite the enchantress, and not in a good way either. She attempts to take over everything and everyone, using whatever methods she can conjure up. Ryn's brothers end up as black swans most of the time (read it to find out exactly how), and men sometimes (again, read to find out). This book had me hooked from the very start, even though it was hard for me to get into the reading groove. Sarah McGuire started the action from page one, and I thank her for that. This is a wonderful book for anyone nine and up, with a palette for action and maybe a little surprise.
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  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    The plot of The Flight of Swans seems simple enough, but the author’s strong writing pulled me in from the first page, and kept me reading until 3:30am to finish it! Andaryn is a princess with grit and determination, and also a selflessness that feels authentic. (She’s of the Nausicaa variety, which I love!!) I really enjoyed the relationship she has with her brothers. I don’t want to give away any plot points, but I will say that, while it doesn’t end Disney-princess-perfect, I was very satisfi The plot of The Flight of Swans seems simple enough, but the author’s strong writing pulled me in from the first page, and kept me reading until 3:30am to finish it! Andaryn is a princess with grit and determination, and also a selflessness that feels authentic. (She’s of the Nausicaa variety, which I love!!) I really enjoyed the relationship she has with her brothers. I don’t want to give away any plot points, but I will say that, while it doesn’t end Disney-princess-perfect, I was very satisfied with how things wrapped up. I might just buy this book (which I pretty much never do!) because I can see myself wanting to reread it, as well as give it to my girls to read when they are older.Note: 3 or 4 d-words.
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  • Michelle (FabBookReviews)
    January 1, 1970
    The Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Six Swans gets a fantastic, sweeping reworking in Sarah McGuire's sophomore novel The Flight of Swans.As The Flight of Swans opens, readers are swiftly carried into the world of Princess Andaryn, her six brothers, their kingdom of Lacharra, and the danger she and her brothers are facing against their father's threatening, intensely malicious new Queen. In but a few unsettling scenes, the world that Ryn has known for the first twelve years of her life- her mother The Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Six Swans gets a fantastic, sweeping reworking in Sarah McGuire's sophomore novel The Flight of Swans.As The Flight of Swans opens, readers are swiftly carried into the world of Princess Andaryn, her six brothers, their kingdom of Lacharra, and the danger she and her brothers are facing against their father's threatening, intensely malicious new Queen. In but a few unsettling scenes, the world that Ryn has known for the first twelve years of her life- her mother deceased, but with her father's ever-present love and support, and the safety and protection offered by her brothers- is gone. A binding promise of six years of silence from Ryn saves her brothers from death at the hands of the Queen's men; only the Queen negotiates her own terms by having Ryn's brothers turn into black swans save for one night a month, and Ryn has no choice but to escape. The Flight of Swans is incredibly rich in detail, with Ryn's first-person narrative propelling the story from the time she is twelve- when the binding promise of silence begins- to the age of eighteen. As Ryn grows up, surprising and terrific new characters are brought into the story, the six brothers' voices become more distinct and lovable, and new stakes (including one involving Ryn and somewhat terrifying matters of the heart) are introduced. The mysteries surrounding her brothers' fate as swans, the Queen's sinister history, and the strange methods predicted to take down the Queen all expand as the story goes on. It is quite something to consider the expanse of time covered in the story with Ryn unable to break her bind of silence with even an utter for fear (and certain knowledge) that the Queen will kill her brothers. Which is why it so worth noting how carefully- meticulously- McGuire works with Ryn's silence and has Ryn express and narrate- through sketches in dust, mud, grime; facial expressions, practiced signing, body movements- her remarkable, close-to-unbelievable story to those around her...and to make them believe her.Overall, The Flight of Swans is a marvelous, intricately written, satisfying tale with a tremendous protagonist in Princess Ryn at its core. As is the wont of fairy tales, heartbreak and darkness line the overarching story: there are moments of violence and surprise that will leave an ache, but there is indeed so much love, hope and courageous fight echoing throughout the story. In The Flight of Swans, Ryn is the crux, the heart of the story; for everything Ryn endures, her narrative illuminates the darkness and perceived impossibilities through her tenacity, tirelessness, and fierce, unyielding love for her family. If you are unfamiliar with the Grimm fairy tale The Flight of Swans is based upon, I would actually hold off reading until after McGuire's novel! I read and reread all of the Brothers Grimm tales growing up, yet I couldn't remember the details of The Six Swans- and I am so happy that I let it all be a surprise. Readers who adore fairy tales, fairy tale retellings, or the work of authors such Karen Foxlee, Tracey Baptiste, Gail Carson Levine, Shannon Hale, Anne Ursu, and Claire Legrand might especially love being swept up in the thrilling magic of The Flight of Swans.I received a copy of this title courtesy of Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of a blog tour. All opinions and comments are my own.
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  • Christina Farley
    January 1, 1970
    THE FLIGHT OF THE SWANS whisked me into a medieval world where magic seeps from forests and evil lurks in the most unexpected places. As a fanatic of all things Grimm, I loved how this story wove a fresh take on the classic tale of the Six Swans, showing the power that a determined and courageous girl can have. McGuire’s spellbinding writing will embark you on a grand adventure through enchanted forests, far-away lakes, dark caves, and ruined fortresses. (Just be wary of nettles, and keep a stas THE FLIGHT OF THE SWANS whisked me into a medieval world where magic seeps from forests and evil lurks in the most unexpected places. As a fanatic of all things Grimm, I loved how this story wove a fresh take on the classic tale of the Six Swans, showing the power that a determined and courageous girl can have. McGuire’s spellbinding writing will embark you on a grand adventure through enchanted forests, far-away lakes, dark caves, and ruined fortresses. (Just be wary of nettles, and keep a stash of cloves close at hand.)
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  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. Could hardly put it down. Especially in the last half. The pacing and the time span that this book covers is unique. It had me aching to see how it ended. Likable characters, interesting perspectives, and some important messages. As in true fairy tale fashion this story can get a little dark, and is not for the faint of heart. Would recommend for readers +13
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    I always dreamed of writing a retelling of the Six Swans story, so when I saw this, I had to read it. I'm glad I did. It was not the story I pictured telling, but it was a gripping tale of pain, strength, and the will to survive and save others.
  • Fred Koehler
    January 1, 1970
    Lots of good fairy tales pit a hero against impossible odds. Loads more are set in worlds where kingdoms balance on a knife's edge, honor is defended by swordplay, and magic creeps at the corners of your vision. In this respect, The Flight of Swans is no different. What makes this story stand out, however, is the power of patience and the unbreakable will of a mute protagonist. For six years, Andaryn can't say a word if she wants her brothers to outlive a curse. Even if speech could give her eve Lots of good fairy tales pit a hero against impossible odds. Loads more are set in worlds where kingdoms balance on a knife's edge, honor is defended by swordplay, and magic creeps at the corners of your vision. In this respect, The Flight of Swans is no different. What makes this story stand out, however, is the power of patience and the unbreakable will of a mute protagonist. For six years, Andaryn can't say a word if she wants her brothers to outlive a curse. Even if speech could give her everything she's ever dreamed of. Even if it could save her life.In the first person perspective of a character who dare not speak out loud, you'll settle into Ryn's thoughts, rage with her anger, and mourn her sorrows. And as the final showdown approaches, I bet you'll even clench your jaw to keep yourself silent–just in case your own words might unweave the magic.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Sarah McGuire earned my attention with her rich and inventive debut novel, "Valiant" (based upon the tale of the Brave Little Tailor). So when I heard that she planned to follow it up with a retelling of The Wild Swans, I let my expectations skyrocket. If you haven't read "Valiant", I recommend doing so at once. Then see if you don't feel the same going into "The Flight of Swans".The original is one of my favorite fairy tales, due in part to an animated film version narrated by Sigourney Weaver Sarah McGuire earned my attention with her rich and inventive debut novel, "Valiant" (based upon the tale of the Brave Little Tailor). So when I heard that she planned to follow it up with a retelling of The Wild Swans, I let my expectations skyrocket. If you haven't read "Valiant", I recommend doing so at once. Then see if you don't feel the same going into "The Flight of Swans".The original is one of my favorite fairy tales, due in part to an animated film version narrated by Sigourney Weaver that I remember from my growing-up years. It centers around a girl who must not speak a word for years in order to save her six brothers from a curse which has turned them into swans. I like the story enough to have tackled retelling it myself.Given all this, it is not too surprising that by the halfway point, I was completely disappointed. McGuire starts her story off in the middle of the beginning of the action. Which isn't necessarily a bad idea, but in this instance I felt robbed of the opportunity to get to know and care about her characters. The retelling was almost too straightforward. Where, I asked myself, are the freshness and sparkle I loved so much in "Valiant"? Just when I had despaired of their appearing, I got into the second half. And daggone if it didn't snare me like an unsuspecting rabbit. I devoured the final quarter of the book, under the kind of page-turning trance that no one but a book-lover can understand. In the downhill chapters, McGuire takes all the these elements I'd mistaken for boring or discordant and knits them into a perfectly harmonious big picture. The drama reaches perfect pitch without going over the top. The romantic element is so spectacularly subtle. Almost no one does romance like that anymore, and such exceptions make even my supercilious, unromantic heart sigh and flutter. I still like "Valiant" best. But, despite the initial letdown, McGuire really has pulled off another excellent fairy tale retelling.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    If you like fantasy or fairy tale retellings, this is a story you won't want to miss. Thought it started out a little slow, and I had a hard time initially keeping track of Princess Andaryn's six older brothers, once it grabbed hold of me, I couldn't put it down. The story begins with Ryn's father, the king, recently returned from being lost in the woods, and with a mysterious and menacing new wife in tow. He's been enchanted and soon the queen has the whole kingdom under her spell. Only Ryn see If you like fantasy or fairy tale retellings, this is a story you won't want to miss. Thought it started out a little slow, and I had a hard time initially keeping track of Princess Andaryn's six older brothers, once it grabbed hold of me, I couldn't put it down. The story begins with Ryn's father, the king, recently returned from being lost in the woods, and with a mysterious and menacing new wife in tow. He's been enchanted and soon the queen has the whole kingdom under her spell. Only Ryn seems immune to her charms. She is able to help some of her brothers break free from their enchantments, and eventually they all rejoin their sister's side, but by this time it's too late. The defiant Ryn must flee, having made a bargain with the witch queen - six years of silence in exchange for her brothers' lives. But surprise - they are turned into swans, only taking human form at the full moon.The courageous and resourceful Ryn doesn't endure the six years passively. She is searching for a way both to protect her swan brothers and to eventually free them from the witch's spell. She finds help along the way from an elderly hermit, her sister-in-law, a wool spinster, and eventually from the royalty of a distant kingdom where she has fled. As a chicken owner myself, I was particularly taken with her friendship with Owain the Hen, who loves Ryn as if she's her own chick.Ryn grows and matures from a child of twelve to a woman of eighteen during the course of the book. There is a bit of age appropriate romance, some violence, and some dark moments, but this book would be wonderful for ages ten and up. I stayed up late last night to finish this book, but I was truly sorry when the story ended.Thank you so much to the author for sending me an uncorrected proof to read. I love this book!
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  • Kelsey Buckley
    January 1, 1970
    Princess Andaryn's father arrives back from the woods with a new Queen who saved his life and has also put him under an enchantment. As she enchants Ryn's six older brothers, Ryn steps forward to try to save her family and kingdom. Her attempt fails, and she makes a deal with the Queen. She will give the Queen six years of silence in exchange for her six brothers' lives. Unfortunately, the Queen frees the brothers, but also turns them into black swans. Ryn must learn how to survive on her own an Princess Andaryn's father arrives back from the woods with a new Queen who saved his life and has also put him under an enchantment. As she enchants Ryn's six older brothers, Ryn steps forward to try to save her family and kingdom. Her attempt fails, and she makes a deal with the Queen. She will give the Queen six years of silence in exchange for her six brothers' lives. Unfortunately, the Queen frees the brothers, but also turns them into black swans. Ryn must learn how to survive on her own and figure out how to save her family and kingdom without the ability to speak and only with her brothers' help and companionship every full moon night. Can she save her family and kingdom?This is a fairy tale retelling of "Six Swans." I was only vaguely familiar with it, and after I looked it up, it follows most, but not all, of the fairy tale. The first one hundred pages or so were a little slow for me, but after that, I felt like I was immersed in Ryn's world. Ryn is a strong character, and I enjoyed seeing how she survived and bonded with her brothers over the six years. There's also just a touch of some romance. While I enjoyed this, I don't know how many of my readers will A. pick it up and B. finish it. I worry students would give up on this book before they become invested in the plot or characters. I'll probably recommend this to some of my avid fantasy readers and see what they think! Recommended for 5th-8th grade.
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  • Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
    January 1, 1970
    The Flight of Swans by Sarah McGuire, 437 pages. Carolrhoda (Lerner), 2018. $19.Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PGBUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS- ESSENTIALAUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGHThe princess Andaryn despises her stepmother, a beautiful enchantress. Ryn’s love for her captivated father and the kingdom propel her into high adventure as she uses all her intelligence and strength to rescue her brothers, turned into swans for six years, while she must remain mute to all or they die. She uses all he The Flight of Swans by Sarah McGuire, 437 pages. Carolrhoda (Lerner), 2018. $19.Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PGBUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS- ESSENTIALAUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGHThe princess Andaryn despises her stepmother, a beautiful enchantress. Ryn’s love for her captivated father and the kingdom propel her into high adventure as she uses all her intelligence and strength to rescue her brothers, turned into swans for six years, while she must remain mute to all or they die. She uses all her creativity to hide from those who seek her and her brothers harm while communicating with the outside world without words. As the years progress, Ryn grows into a mature woman full of wisdom. As the end of the six years draws to a close, Ryn must find the way to defeat the enchantress and return her family safely to their throne.Sarah McGuire penned a delightful narrative of the Grimm Brothers, “Six Swans”. The fantasy world created in this story is clear and the adventure absorbs the reader at every turn of the page. Ryn’s strong character creates a love for her and a desire that she succeed in her quest. While this book reads at an upper elementary level, the story captivates the imagination of all ages.MOMMAChttps://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2018...
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: as a critique partner of the author, I had the opportunity to read the first draft of this a couple of years ago. I hadn't reread it since that first draft, and just got the arc from NetGalley.Andaryn is a heroine to root for. She's strong from the beginning, but also flawed. She faces incredible obstacles, but finds courage in the face of her fears. And she has so. Many. Obstacles. The Evil Queen is truly frightening, powerful, and unpredictable. I enjoyed the quiet moments of Full disclosure: as a critique partner of the author, I had the opportunity to read the first draft of this a couple of years ago. I hadn't reread it since that first draft, and just got the arc from NetGalley.Andaryn is a heroine to root for. She's strong from the beginning, but also flawed. She faces incredible obstacles, but finds courage in the face of her fears. And she has so. Many. Obstacles. The Evil Queen is truly frightening, powerful, and unpredictable. I enjoyed the quiet moments of the book when Andaryn is spending time with her brothers and they work together as a family. But she's at her best when she's on her own, figuring things out for herself. Between the changes the author made since the first draft, and the parts I had forgotten, rereading it was a brand-new experience. Andaryn's inability to speak for much of the story only added to the tension of the plot. It kept me up late reading to find out what happened! If you're looking for an upper middle grade/younger YA fantasy with a strong heroine, tender and humorous moments, and a lot of adventure, this would be a great choice!
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  • Bekah
    January 1, 1970
    The Flight of Swans (2018)by Sarah McGuireYA NovelThe Flight of Swans is a fantastic retelling of one of Grimm's fairy tales, The Wild Swans. Ryn's father the king, gets lost in a forest while on a journey and becomes bewitched by an evil sorceress. Ryn is alarmed when her father marries this evil woman, making her queen. It even seems that Ryn's six brothers are falling under her spell. Ryn tries her best to break the spell, only to be forced into making a deal with the evil queen. In order to The Flight of Swans (2018)by Sarah McGuireYA NovelThe Flight of Swans is a fantastic retelling of one of Grimm's fairy tales, The Wild Swans. Ryn's father the king, gets lost in a forest while on a journey and becomes bewitched by an evil sorceress. Ryn is alarmed when her father marries this evil woman, making her queen. It even seems that Ryn's six brothers are falling under her spell. Ryn tries her best to break the spell, only to be forced into making a deal with the evil queen. In order to save her brothers from death, she much agree to be completely silent for six years. The story follows Ryn during those six years as she fights to save her brothers who the evil queen turned into swans, and her father. Ryn is victorious in the end, but not without great sacrifice. This book pulls you right in. Even though the story happens over six years, the pace is fast and will keep kids engaged. This book is actually placed in the middle aged reader level, but I feel that it could easily be considered a YA book as it has some dark elements and a sophisticated vocabulary. I think this book would be perfect for an advanced reader in the fourth or fifth grade.
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  • Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the author for an ARC of this book. It received a starred review in Kirkus and now I know why: it's wonderful.I have never read a fairy-tale retelling or a fantasy book, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I also know nothing about the Brothers Grimm SIX SWANS, the story on which it's based. The story takes place over a six year period and the heroine, a princess with 6 older brothers who makes a deal with a nefarious Queen, is clever and adaptable. It's told in first person, and I thi Thank you to the author for an ARC of this book. It received a starred review in Kirkus and now I know why: it's wonderful.I have never read a fairy-tale retelling or a fantasy book, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I also know nothing about the Brothers Grimm SIX SWANS, the story on which it's based. The story takes place over a six year period and the heroine, a princess with 6 older brothers who makes a deal with a nefarious Queen, is clever and adaptable. It's told in first person, and I think teens will relate to her journey (she is 12 at the start of it and 18 when it ends). The secondary characters are also well-developed, and in particular the book has a strong ending with a bit of a twist. I also liked the tone of the book; the language is somewhat poetic but doesn't alienate the reader. A must-read!
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  • Meag McKeron
    January 1, 1970
    This book clocks in at 400+ pages, and yet I managed to read most of it in just a day. It throws you into the action from the very beginning, and it's easy to feel for (and root for) Ryn and her family right from the start. I was especially impressed with how the author portrayed Ryn's relationship with each of her brothers - rather than grouping them all together, each brother had his own personality and meant different things to Ryn, which made her many efforts to save them that much more unde This book clocks in at 400+ pages, and yet I managed to read most of it in just a day. It throws you into the action from the very beginning, and it's easy to feel for (and root for) Ryn and her family right from the start. I was especially impressed with how the author portrayed Ryn's relationship with each of her brothers - rather than grouping them all together, each brother had his own personality and meant different things to Ryn, which made her many efforts to save them that much more understandable. The author has a way with words too - there were plenty beautiful turns of phrase that lent well to the fantasy/fairy tale feel of the book. Don't be daunted by the size - this one is a page turner!
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  • Jill Jemmett
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great fairy tale story.At first, I thought it was going to be a Snow White story because I’m not familiar with the Grimm tale called Six Swans. It started out like Snow White, because Ryn’s father married a woman who turned out to be an evil witch. I was immediately sympathetic toward Ryn’s situation. The way that her dad suddenly ignored her was so sad.The story progressed slowly, but it became exciting toward the end. There was a lot of time spent alone in the woods, which was monoto This is a great fairy tale story.At first, I thought it was going to be a Snow White story because I’m not familiar with the Grimm tale called Six Swans. It started out like Snow White, because Ryn’s father married a woman who turned out to be an evil witch. I was immediately sympathetic toward Ryn’s situation. The way that her dad suddenly ignored her was so sad.The story progressed slowly, but it became exciting toward the end. There was a lot of time spent alone in the woods, which was monotonous and slow. However, the story picked up with a change of scenery.I really enjoyed this story. It’s a great fairytale.I received a copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Christie Powell
    January 1, 1970
    I loved reading this book. The characters hooked me from page one. Ryn is believable and relatable from the first, and I had no trouble believing that the new queen was a formidable antagonist right from the start. The detail is extremely realistic and I loved how the story worked in all of the elements of the fairytale.The two problems I had with the story came from the source material: it took me at least half of the book to keep the six brothers straight. Also, the novel takes place over six I loved reading this book. The characters hooked me from page one. Ryn is believable and relatable from the first, and I had no trouble believing that the new queen was a formidable antagonist right from the start. The detail is extremely realistic and I loved how the story worked in all of the elements of the fairytale.The two problems I had with the story came from the source material: it took me at least half of the book to keep the six brothers straight. Also, the novel takes place over six years, which means that there is a lot of time between scenes, which gives the reader some distance from the protagonist. Overall, though, I highly recommend this one. Well done!
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  • Ryan Williams
    January 1, 1970
    This book has the weight and the potential to reinforce and give hope to anyone who has felt the fight for their lives needing to be redeemed and renewed. The women in this book left me breathless. They were some of the strongest female characters I have encountered within the world of fiction thus far. What a time in my life to stumble upon this book and feel myself encouraged because of it. This book may have been intended for those of us younger in age- but I personally believe this books sho This book has the weight and the potential to reinforce and give hope to anyone who has felt the fight for their lives needing to be redeemed and renewed. The women in this book left me breathless. They were some of the strongest female characters I have encountered within the world of fiction thus far. What a time in my life to stumble upon this book and feel myself encouraged because of it. This book may have been intended for those of us younger in age- but I personally believe this books should be recommended for children and adults alike.
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  • Chrisanne
    January 1, 1970
    I felt like this book was a puzzle and the author was putting it together in front of my eyes. The problem was: there was no framework or, to continue the metaphor, she wasn't doing the edges first. After the first 5 or so chapters I got it and it was wonderful, fascinatingly smooth sailing (I couldn't put it down for 300 pages or so). It was a lovely telling of one of my favorite tales and I heartily recommend it to ages 14 +. But push yourself through the first little bit because it will get m I felt like this book was a puzzle and the author was putting it together in front of my eyes. The problem was: there was no framework or, to continue the metaphor, she wasn't doing the edges first. After the first 5 or so chapters I got it and it was wonderful, fascinatingly smooth sailing (I couldn't put it down for 300 pages or so). It was a lovely telling of one of my favorite tales and I heartily recommend it to ages 14 +. But push yourself through the first little bit because it will get much better.
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  • Gayle
    January 1, 1970
    Truly a magical ride. I was drawn into the story and I admit to staying up until 1 am to finish it. There was no way I would sleep until I knew the outcome....and I was smiling...and cheering in the end. I would highly recommend to those who enjoy a retelling of classic tales....but with a mighty heroine who does things her way. And I would recommend Sarah's other retelling titled Valiant (a retelling of The Brave Little Tailor).
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  • Elevetha
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.I liked the retelling and especially the relationship between Ryn and her brothers and her small baby nephew. Pacing was a little slow for my liking but we were covering six years worth of events so ...I can let some of that slide. I think this was marketed as MG and the cover certainly implies so, but it reads more like a YA at times and might be too slow for a younger reader to really appreciate, depending on their preferences.
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  • Joyce Sweeney
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of my favorite fairy tale retellings of all times! Based on Grimm's The Six Swans, it remains faithful to the original story but sweeps us into a rich and beautiful world where Princess Andaryn, must learn a whole new way of life in order to rescue her brothers from a terrible curse and her father from a horrible spell. Along the way she shows her determination and grit and demonstrates you don't have to be violent to be a true warrior. A great heroine and a great story.
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  • Barbra
    January 1, 1970
    Princess Andaryn’s life takes a devastating turn when a mysterious woman saves her fathers life. The new Queen enchants her father and turns Ryn’s six brothers into Black Swans. To keep them alive Ryn must remain silent for six years. After escaping from her evil stepmother Ryn discovers the secret to restoring her brothers. As she struggles to communicate and survive she finds courage and love. The retelling of this magical fairy tale will keep readers aged nine and up captivated.
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  • Karyn
    January 1, 1970
    I had a hard time getting into this. It felt slow moving but it did pick up towards the end. I picked it up because I wanted to read more juvenile books, but found this really is more for teens. I feel like publishers are trying to appeal to younger audiences but that can be harder to do when the author rights older characters.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    A young adult novel, that like all great children's literature can be thoroughly enjoyed by older readers. This imaginative retelling of the Grimm/Anderson classic is enhanced by the author's literary skill and her careful research into ancient Welsh and Irish culture which displays, for one example, in the scene in the Brehon court.
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