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Princess of the Wild Swans Hardcover – January 31, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fans of Jessica Day George and Gail Carson Levine will enjoy Zahler’s light, lyrical prose, as well as her stalwart and true heroine and strong secondary characters, all of which make this fairly straightforward retelling of Grimm’s “The Six Swans” fun to read.” (Booklist)

“As with her other fairy-tale interpretations, Zahler shines in her ability to set an exquisite scene.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Engaging and entertaining. A pleasant magical outing.” (Kirkus Reviews)

A suspenseful climax leads to a happy conclusion. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s “Princess Tales” series who are ready for something longer and more novelistic will love this tale (School Library Journal)

From the Back Cover

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.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062004921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062004925
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up reading children's books and never wanted to do anything but write them. Now I'm the author of four fairy tale novels and the upcoming original fantasy, BAKER'S MAGIC. I live in the country with my husband in what is aptly nicknamed the Bug House, though I'm spending five months in London this fall. Visit my website at www.dianezahler.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What an enchanting read! I love a well written fairy tale re-telling and Diane has done a wonderful job with her story of Meriel and her brothers whom are all turned into swans. I really enjoyed being swept away with the classic fairytale aspect of this story. There's magic, danger, a lovely, well written innocent romance, witches and fey lore. Plus I love that it takes a Princess and good hearted towns people to bring down a wicked, evil witch.

Princess Meriel is a fabulously written, strong young female heroine who will everything she can to save her father the King, her brothers and their kingdom from the evil Queen. I loved the transformation she has through out the story. She starts off being a little spoiled, and very stubborn (which I also admired about her) and becomes a fearlessness, courageous Princess who will stop at nothing to help her family. I also admired the fact that she felt she had the right to do whatever her brothers were doing. It's that feistiness that helps Meriel accomplish a nearly impossible task to save her brothers.

Aside from Meriel, I really loved the characters in this story. Liam and Riona, the brother and sister duo who aid Meriel in her quest to save her brothers and break the evil Queen's spell were two of my favorites. I found them to be just as strong as Meriel. I also enjoyed getting to know Mistress Tuileach. I thoroughly enjoyed Diane's exciting story line which is full of surprising twists and turns that kept me guessing what was going to happen next. This is a fabulous read for middle grade readers and for fans of MG books. If you're a fan of fairy tale re-tellings I highly recommend picking up this charming read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Zahler does a magnificent job of reworking this classic tale with a strong female lead. Her language is evocative and poetic, and the story moves along at a rapid clip. I recently read this book to my three children (ages 6, 8 and 11), and received three thumbs up. Better yet, I enjoyed it myself. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
With this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans," Zahler is becoming the go-to author for middle grade fairy tale retellings. (Well, Zahler and Jessica Day George!) Her previous outings include a retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" called The Thirteenth Princess and a retelling of Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea" called A True Princess.

As in the other two books, our heroine is a tween, this time 12-year-old Meriel. She and her five older brothers are surprised when the king their father comes home from a journey with a new queen, coldhearted Lady Orianna. The lady is surprised, as well--in the course of her whirlwind (read: calculating) romance, she had not realized her new husband had five sons. This puts a cramp in her plans to have a son and put him on the throne. Orianna transforms the five princes into wild swans, and it is up to Meriel to save them. As you may recall from the original tale, this means Meriel must weave five shirts out of nettles before it's too late. (It's eleven brothers and shirts in Andersen's story, but this is a minor change.) In addition, Meriel must not speak a word while she makes the shirts.

Rather than sending the princess to a foreign land and introducing her to a prince who wants to wed her, as in the original story, the author keeps Meriel around to continue challenging the witchy queen. Fortunately, there are other, nicer witches (or half-witches) around, and they help Meriel. She'll need all the help she can get, especially since the author introduces a new threat--apparently Orianna has been wheeler-dealing with the fay. The ending may be a foregone conclusion, but it's nice to see how Meriel's struggle with the evil queen plays out.
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By tes on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Met all my expectations for a fantastical read. Loved the heroine even more when I realized she was only 12 years of age. As a mother of three children, I loved the strom and drang of sibling rivalry/love. So true-to-life. Love really does conquer all. What a lesson-in-life relationship between siblings, yet when evil enters, love always prevails!
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not really crazy about this book by DZ, compared to her A True Princess and The Thirteenth Princess this one didn't really work out that well for me. It helps that if you're familiar with the author and her taste and talent then you can be at least guaranteed if to a certain extent that any unread material made by the same author would be at least good. If I hadn't read her other two novels I would not have been her fan at all.

Princess of the Wild Swans involves weaving, which wouldn't sound too exciting for someone who doesn't find the activity interesting, especially when in almost half the book it tells you that it's all there is that's needed to patch up the plot's predicament.

Also there are the monsters and something about opening a restricted area of villain characters, I didn't really read this part anymore coz I found it just too dragging. I had my eyebrows raised on the introduction to this slight twist in the plot, and I didn't bother to enlighten myself about it, it's a totally dispensable part that the author could have just chopped down the block. However the book is just ok in that I was convinced on pursuing to read through to the end.

There is a similarity on having more than just a handful of next-to-major characters between The Thirteenth Princess and PWS. The Thirteenth Princess worked for me because the story revolved around the main character as the thirteenth child, however this PWS involves 5 or so brothers and the story revolves around rescuing them- for me the brothers were being too many a group to rescue, and in the beginning were just lukewarm to the girl-rescuer, not too affectionate but not cold either, the idea is just boring.
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