I originally read this story a long time ago as a beta-reader, but I gotta say straight up, it's worth full price now. And here, I aim to tell you why.
[No actual spoilers are contained in this review]
The Enchanted Swans started slow for me, it had its moments, of course, but (for me) it wasn't until - spoilers - the four main characters got turned into swans that things really took off (pun intended). The lead up, and the build-up to the point where that all happened was not intense, and I hardly saw it coming. I had not heard of nor read the myth this novel is based upon until I read this novel. It all made for an excellent twist long before the story was over.
The map provided at the beginning of the book was a great help and a good addition! I love maps, even simple ones, and it really nailed home
the distances involved in the story.
I found the many strange - and to my English mind - hard to pronounce names were a barrier to entry. That meant bonding with the characters was more difficult than I might have liked, since most of the characters were intriguing at worst, and downright captivating at best. Even with all the confusing names of people and places, once I got past it, read a few pronunciation guides (including the one Christy Nicholas has in this book), and learned me a thing or two, I discovered characters with lives of their own, and breaths outside of the story itself.
I remember dreaming of swan-songs a few times when I was reading this book.
I think Fiachra (the main character's younger brother, and one of the twins born in the opening scene) was the one who truly stole the show by the end of The Enchanted Swans. He made me happy. Fionnuala (the actual main character) had grown on me by the end of the story as well, and I dare say I shed a tear or two when it was all finished and done and read and over.
Christy Nicholas's links: