Shapeshifting elite feature in this imaginative re-telling of Swan Lake.
When her father dies just before her birthday, seventeen-year-old Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles are able to transform at will into the bird that represents their family bloodline.
Aderyn’s ancestral bird is a swan. But she has not transformed for years, not since witnessing the death of her mother – ripped apart by hawks that have supposedly been extinct since the long-ago War of the Raptors. With the benevolent shelter of her mother and her father now lost, Aderyn is at the mercy of her brutal uncle, the King, and his royal court.
Oh this was a beautiful book! Easy to read and the world building was lovely! I’m used to reading books set in many different places/kingdoms etc so this was a breeze to get to grips with.
Aderyn is fortunate to come from a family of shapeshifters who can shift into Swans. However, Aderyn’s father has been keeping a secret and this secret is the reason he has sheltered his daughter from the world, she is flightless and cannot shift into a swan. She witnessed the death of her mother, was scarred herself and since that day, hasn’t transformed.
Knowing if this truth came out, she would be stripped of her titles, her father kept it a secret and now he has passed away, Aderyn has to face things on her own. She ignores advice from her advisors and as protector of Atrayts, it’s her duty to go to the court of the King (who is also her Uncle) to seek vengeance for her mother’s death and to fight for her home. She cannot fly so must travel there by coach and faces scrutiny for doing so.
There she meets her cousins for the first time including Prince Aron who is flightless himself after losing his arm and cannot take the throne. Princess Odette is therefore next in line to the throne.
I had my suspicions of the cousins which thankfully didn’t come true and I like that Aderyn managed to make some loyal friends at court. Letya her maid was with her throughout and it’s clear that Aderyn cares deeply for her and i’m glad that her love for Letya was not misplaced. She cannot touch her skin as anyone who can shift, burns anyone who can’t.
I really enjoyed Aderyn’s character, she’s relatable and is doing the best in her situation. I enjoyed the politics side of the story that you get with any hierarchical society and the divisions within that. It makes for a well-rounded and diverse story. Aderyn is a little naive and Siegfried drove me mad! He was oozing with secrets and lies and Aderyn ate that up.
The ending was perfect and while some bits were predictable, I did love the twist. It was heartbreaking and I hope we find out more of Aderyn’s story after the events in the last chapter. A brilliant and seamlessly written story from Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.