Saturday, March 19, 2016

Swan and Shadow

Aislin is cursed. A regular college student at night and a swan during the day, Aislin can only break the curse by finding her true love. But when her beloved discovers the truth, will his fear override their love? This modern adaptation of Swan Lake will help you discover what love really means.

My thoughts: I think the author did a fabulous job of bringing the characters to life, especially the twin sisters who are both affected (though, one way more than the other) by the family curse. I like that the story flip flops back and forth between Aislin, who is dealing with being cursed, and Maeve, who is trying to help her sister figure out how to break the curse. For the most part, I felt like the story moves along nicely, though I would of liked more development, especially with the ending! Over all though, I think the author did a wonderful job of re-telling the story of Swan Lake!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Here's some trivia for you. Enjoy!

10. The author's favorite character is based on a crush she had in 10th grade. They even share a first name.
9. Because the book is set in Boston, the author tried to stay true to the demographics. She grew up knowing Iranian, Saudi, Irish, Italian, Czech, Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, Greek, Spanish-speaking and Armenian immigrants and first-generation Americans fairly well.
8. The protagonists' family lives in her cousins' house in Cambridge, MA.. Not literally, but she describes the neighborhood and house layout based on memories of that home.
7. The author and her editor had very different ideas about the ending. Neither of them actually got the ending they originally proposed, but the author came up with something completely different and her editor declared it to be her favorite of the ideas.
6. At one point, a character's introversion is hatefully mistaken for developmental delays. This conversation was inspired by the author's own experiences. She went through speech therapy as a child and was taught to speak slowly and precisely. As a result, her best friend in Boston originally thought that she had wandered off from the Special Education room at school. The speech pattern changed when she became bilingual and discovered that Spanish conversation moves at the speed of light. When she returned from 18 months of Spanish-speaking work, her mother asked why she spoke so fast in English.
5. The "Interludes" in the book are not plot-driving, just family stories that they all know. One that did not make it into the final book is about the swan maiden learning how to fly. After she tried taking flight from the roof and broke her foot, her sister taught her how to dive and adapted that to aerodynamics.
4. This book has interrupted two others. In 2012, the author was querying an urban fantasy thriller set in Philadelphia when a friend from Boston mentioned the premise to an editor. That editor read the first 50 pages and asked for the rest, but never responded to the finished product. In March 2015, the author was working on a story involving politics, fairy godmothers and a matchmaker when an acquisiions editor at Cedar Fort books approached her about publishing the book. The author is now writing the book that was interrupted in 2015 and intends to finish it this time.
3. All Boston-centric events--the Fourth of July Boston Pops concert, First Night and The Nutcracker at the Wang Center, etc. --are drawn from Olsen family pastimes. In fact, one proofreader had to point out to the author that she had no idea why a character would be carrying buttons in her pocket on New Year's Eve. This led to the explanation of First Night lapel pins and the inability of the author to think of buttons without smirking.
2. The characters spend almost all of their travel time on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority trains. This is because the author got in the habit of riding the T everywhere for high school and thinks that driving in Boston is nonsensical.
1. The author chose to send the swan maiden to Boston University because she was a Boston University Academy student for two years before transferring to her alma mater, Lexington Christian Academy. During her BUA years, she discovered that the BU libraries were open fantastically late and this helped her with research papers and Physics assignments. Like the swan maiden, she had no exact curfew, but had to let her parents know where she'd be if she stayed out late.


  1. I've not heard of this novel, but it looks interesting (plus it's a fairy tale)! Thanks for the post, Amanda. :)

    1. I liked it fairly well! The ending felt like there could of been more of a conclusion, but it could be that there will be a sequel.;)