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. Driven by revenge and love, she must venture into the malevolent heart of the Citadel in order to seek the truth about the attack that so nearly destroyed her, to fight for the only home she has ever known and for the land she has vowed to protect.
I loved everything about this book! The writing is gorgeous, the characters are memorable and the world is well-crafted. It's one of my YA fantasies of the year, if not the last few years.
It's one of those books that I tried to read slowly because I was enjoying it so much. I think a lot of that is to do with the first-person voice, which feels completely believable and full of lyrical descriptions.
I thought the plotting was great too: it kept my attention and I enjoyed trying to put the pieces together alongside Aderyn. She's an interesting character, who has agency and makes mistakes. I'm looking forward to seeing how she develops in the second part of the duology.
I also really enjoyed the world building. The history of the world is well thought out and it made me wish I knew more about Swan Lake so I could fully appreciate all of the references!
The e-book is already out and the paperback will be released on 7th January. It's available to preorder now and I highly recommend it! I can't wait for the second book and I'm sure I'll be rereading this one in the meantime.
Thanks so much to Hotkey Books for the review copy and lovely goodies that came with it!