Post by Ashley
I tried reading this one once during a really, super-busy time, and I didn't manage to get past the first few chapters, which was tragic because I really liked what I'd read. So I finally got around to picking it up again, and I loved it, start to finish.
Based on the Six Swans fairy tale, this book tells the story of seven siblings---six brothers, and the youngest, a sister, and their deep connection to each other through unimaginable trials. Their mother died not long after the heroine of the story was born (as is often the case in these fairy tales ... poor mothers!). Their father is absorbed in a senseless war that has lasted generations. And the seven siblings are left mostly to themselves to raise and care for each other. Their worlds are turned upside down when their father remarries---you guessed it, a wicked stepmother. I won't go into detail about the difficulties that ensue, but suffice it to say, that's where the typical-fairy-tale-ness ends.
The tale is beautifully spun, the mountain of problems the devoted siblings must overcome seems insurmountable, and the climax is as believably carried off as it is nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat exciting.
I'd recommend this book to older readers---maybe fifteen/sixteen and up. There is a rather intense, though not highly detailed, scene where a young woman is raped. Not something I'd personally want my young daughters reading.
The book is a thought-provoking, good read. Can't wait to read the rest of the series!