by Rafe Martin
This is a continuation of the fairy tale of the brothers who are transformed into swans and saved by their sister who weaves shirts of nettles to break the curse. One little brother’s shirt is unfinished, missing a sleeve, and that arm remains a swan’s wing.
I loved Ardwin’s character! He’s a very deep thinker, and he puzzles through many ideas about identity, instinct, belonging, love, and hate, and forgiveness. There are so many wonderful themes that he wrestles with, but he ultimately finds where he truly belongs.
The plot is wonderfully fantastical, full of wizards, enchantresses, talking animals, deep earth magic, and impossible plot twists that kept me guessing and wondering and perfectly in awe.
I did not like the plot line involving the enchantress Evron. She was too strange and mysterious, and I never quite understood her purpose in the story.
I also did not like how quickly and neatly everything was wrapped up in the end. Much too Deus ex Machina. But still… a good ending.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and it made me think deeply about some interesting issues. It’s a beautifully complex story with many shining characters. Any fantasy reader would love this one!