Sunday, July 6, 2008

Birdwing by Rafe Martin

The Wild Swans is one of my very favorite fairy tales, and this story takes off where that story ends. Only this time, we are seeing the world through the eyes of the youngest brother, in this story named Ardwin, whose knitted shirt was not finished in time and he still has the wing of a swan. The enchanted wing gives him a view into the world of animals, enabling him to hear their thoughts and to catch of glimpse of things to come.

Among his family and community, however, life for Ardwin is fraught with discontent and restlessness. Living neither fully in the human world or the animal world, he feels he doesn’t really belong anywhere and eventually leaves his castle to seek peace and belonging. The friends (and enemeies, of course) that he meets along the way help him to look deep and find out who he truly is.

I did like this book, but honestly, sometimes it left me feeling a bit blah. The romance was lackluster – I never felt that the author delved into Ardwin’s relationships very deeply. There were about ten different coincidences at the end to wrap it up nicely that felt like a bit much. That being said, if you like the story of the swan brothers as much as I do, this retelling is worth reading if only to bring that world back to life with a broader stroke.

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