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Princess of the Wild Swans Hardcover – January 31, 2012


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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: #2,213,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

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See all 13 customer reviews
What a lesson-in-life relationship between siblings, yet when evil enters, love always prevails!
tes
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.
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews
It seemed to me that we were just continuously torturing this character for no particular reason.
Airmid

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews on March 6, 2012
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janet C. on April 8, 2014
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on February 25, 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Danielle M. Smith VINE VOICE on August 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Full Review Originally Posted at my site There's A Book:

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.
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More About the Author

I grew up reading children's books and never wanted to do anything but write them. Then HarperCollins Children's Books offered me a contract -- and now I'm the author of four fairy tale novels. Magic does happen! I live in the country with my husband in what is aptly nicknamed the Bug House. Visit my website at www.dianezahler.com.

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