Rowenna Winthrop has always known there’s magic within her. But though she hears voices on the wind and possesses unusual talents, her mother Mairead believes Rowenna lacks discipline, and refuses to teach her the craft that keeps their Scottish village safe. When Mairead dies a sinister death, it seems Rowenna’s one chance to grow into her power has passed. Then, on a fateful, storm-tossed night, Rowenna rescues a handsome stranger named Gawen from a shipwreck, and her mother miraculously returns from the dead. Or so it appears. This resurrected Mairead is nothing like the old one: to hide her new and monstrous nature, she turns Rowenna’s brothers and Gawen into swans and robs Rowenna of her voice. Forced to flee, Rowenna travels to the city of Inverness to find a way to break the curse. But monsters take many forms, and in Inverness Rowenna is soon caught in a web of strangers who want to use her raw magic for their own gain. If she wishes to save herself and the people she loves most, Rowenna will have to take her fate into her own hands, and unlock the power that has evaded her for so long.
After reading and thoroughly enjoying A Treason Of Thorns (and honestly thinking the author is a super cool person from social media), I was incredibly intrigued by to see what this book would be all about. A resurrected mother who is not who she seems to be, brothers and a handsome stranger cursed to be swans, and trying to navigate through the web of people who want to use power for their own gain. It sounded fascinating. Trigger warnings: graphic animal death (but not done so in a way that feels like it’s done for shock value), gore
I fell completely and utterly in love with this book. It feels like a rocky shoreline amidst a stormy sea, weathering the waves beating against it. It is so, so good.
I’m going to start off with what I loved most about this book, and that was the emotional journeys and tones that it took. Rowenna is a girl who feels like she’s too much. She’s too angry, she has too much of a temper, but all she is is simply, deeply her. She has to grapple with the fact that she does not seem to fit the molds that the world has set out for her to fill, and the fact that she has no desire to fill them. There is darkness inside her, but there is also light, a merciful ruthlessness. Good is tangled with bad, and what is truly evil is questioned. Oh, it just touched something deep inside me and I adored Rowenna Winthrop with my whole entire heart.
This book also has fantastic family dynamics. They run deep, and they run strong. Rowenna would do anything to help her brothers, even if that means hurting herself. They might not understand each other sometimes, and they might go through rough patches, but they truly, truly care for each other. I loved seeing the brother/sister relationship highlighted.
The romantic relationship was, oh my gosh, so, so good. There are the kind of pet names that made me want to scream!!! They are at each other’s throats at times, and they certainly have lots to argue about, but they also come to deeply care for each other. It’s the best kind of relationship, because they might get the other’s temper to flare, but they would also go to the ends of earth for each other.
The side relationships, and the side characters, were just as brilliant. The little, blossoming friendships, and the romances that pop up here and there. While they might be quick, they made everything all the better.
There are also monstrous creatures that fill this book, and they are so, so fascinating. It feels weird saying it, because some of them are evil, but I fell completely in love with them. And they were so freaking cool. This is where what evil truly is is brought into question, on what choices are made to make something evil, and how evilness is constructed. A question of morality, in a weird way, and what to do with power and how it is wielded. Plus, I just love reading about huge, terrifying sea dwelling monsters.
Also, I loved how this played on the original story of The Wild Swans, but also made it completely it’s own. It’s just a spectacular story.
I love this book a whole lot. It has this depth to it, that feels like the quiet thunder of waves crashing over ahead while floating in the blackness of deep water. It’s a story of love and sacrifice and terrifying creatures and girls who simply want to live and boys who have secrets tucked in their back pockets and family and so, so much. It’s so, so good.