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Once upon a time a girl rescued her seven brothers from a spell that had turned them into swans But one boy Ardwin was left with the scar of the spell's last gasp one arm remained a wing And while Ardwin yearned to find a place in his father's kingdom the wing whispered to him of open sky and rushing wind Marked by difference Ardwin sets out to discover who he is bird or boy crippled or sound cursed or blessed But followed by the cold eye of a sorceress and with war rumbling at his kingdom's borders Ardwin's path may lead him not to enlightenment but into unimaginable danger

10 thoughts on “Birdwing

  1. says:

    Ardwin Birdwing is the youngest of the seven princes who were turned into swans by their evil stepmother He is the one whose coat of nettles was unfinished when time ran out and one arm remained a wingThis story begins years after the enchantment has been broken Rose the savior sister is married with children as are most of the princes They were eager to put the trauma and strangeness of their curse behind them Ardwin cannot since he is marked by physical difference and also by greater sympathy for and understanding of animals The first half of the book dragged a bit Although Ardwin has the discipline to learn the martial arts despite his handicap he lacks emotional maturity Normal for a teenager but I got a bit tired of his temper and self pity All right missing an arm is no joke and neither is feeling like you don't fit into the human world completely but considering the witch's power it was a fairy tale with a happy ending And Ardwin is still privileged compared to most people in his society he is the king's son with a comfortable and wealthy life health caring friends and family Friends and family to whom he isn't very niceFortunately Ardwin gets on the road for some adventures just at the point where I was getting sick of his whining and considering dropping the book The middle section with episodic action and introduction of new and colorful if mostly somewhat two dimensional characters was the most fun part of the book The ending was also good but weirdly fast paced so much so that it almost seemed anticlimactic because everything wrapped up so uickly But fine I liked the bit at the end that was told by The HorseVerdict nothing special but a good fun read for anyone into coming of age type fantasy or fairy tale adaptations

  2. says:

    The Wild Swans is one of my very favorite fairy tales and this story takes off where that story ends Only this time we are seeing the world through the eyes of the youngest brother in this story named Ardwin whose knitted shirt was not finished in time and he still has the wing of a swan The enchanted wing gives him a view into the world of animals enabling him to hear their thoughts and to catch of glimpse of things to comeAmong his family and community however life for Ardwin is fraught with discontent and restlessness Living neither fully in the human world or the animal world he feels he doesn’t really belong anywhere and eventually leaves his castle to seek peace and belonging The friends and enemeies of course that he meets along the way help him to look deep and find out who he truly isI did like this book but honestly sometimes it left me feeling a bit blah The romance was lackluster – I never felt that the author delved into Ardwin’s relationships very deeply There were about ten different coincidences at the end to wrap it up nicely that felt like a bit much That being said if you like the story of the swan brothers as much as I do this retelling is worth reading if only to bring that world back to life with a broader stroke

  3. says:

    this was such a frickin disappointment I was so excited for this book The cover is great the premise is great and the first chapter is great Unfortunately after that this book went downhill fast The dialogue was stilted and awkward and the characters were so boring that they annoyed me Yes They annoyed me with how boring they were I have no been so disappointing in a book in a long time Rip my expectations for this This book is proof that cover buys are dangerous

  4. says:

    When I was an aspiring playwright in my college days and came across The Seven Swans in Grimms' Fairy Tales I was haunted by image of the youngest brother who at the end of the story remained with a swan's wing I imagined a seuel to that fairy tale as a play and even drafted several scenes I never completed the darn thing for two reasons I think one is that writing was damned hard work and I was discovering my talent for improv gave me satisfaction with much less effort and two the story was going to go into some dark places that I decided were better admired from a distance than getting all up close and personal and messyIn any event storyteller Rafe Martin has with this young adult novel done a much better job imagining the post traumatic stress of the boy with the wing than I could have done uite enjoyed immersing myself in the world Martin has envisioned he thought it out carefully I liked following the twists and turns of the story yes many were predictable but I have to say the Act 2 reversal caught me by surprise although a certain animated movie franchise set in a fairy tale world has unfortunately polluted my imagination enough that a certain talking animal in this novel kept being voiced in my mind by a comedian

  5. says:

    This is without a doubt the worst retelling of this particular fairy tale that I have ever read I'm usually a fan of reimagined fairy tales but not when they are done as poorly as Birdwing This book is probably intended for a younger audience but even taking that into account this book is dreadful The dialogue is awkward and forced the pacing is inconsistent and the main character Adrwin is irritating beyond belief Fairy tales aren't supposed to be believable but this story simply cannot be taken seriously In the end everything comes together and by everything I mean absolutely every detail in this story has a part in the resolution Everything is far too convenient even for a fairy tale This reads like a really dreadful translation that has already been translated once or twice along the way The writing is clumsy at best and the word choice is often bizzare for a children's book If you're looking for a fairy tale look again because you can do a lot better

  6. says:

    This book was weird It was kind of disjointed and had all these threads that would be opened and then juggled kind of inexpertly but it still somehow kept me really interested the whole time I could pick out really clunky dialogue and prose and sometimes Martin would kind of shoot for that Ye Olde Tale kind of language and not uite hit it but yet I really enjoyed the whole thing I'd still recommend it even with tons of problems in execution That and it's like a 6th grade reading level so it's just kind of still a breeze

  7. says:

    Ardwin is the youngest in his family cursed with one arm that is a swan's wing He is feared and reviled by the world and sets out to seek an adventure that will lead him to his true home But he will never find peace until he learns to accept himself wing and all This is a continuation of the fairy tale of the brothers who are transformed into swans and saved by their sister who weaves shirts of nettles to break the curse One little brother's shirt is unfinished missing a sleeve and that arm remains a swan's wingI loved Ardwin's character He's a very deep thinker and he puzzles through many ideas about identity instinct belonging love and hate and forgiveness There are so many wonderful themes that he wrestles with but he ultimately finds where he truly belongsThe plot is wonderfully fantastical full of wizards enchantresses talking animals deep earth magic and impossible plot twists that kept me guessing and wondering and perfectly in aweI did not like the plot line involving the enchantress Evron She was too strange and mysterious and I never uite understood her purpose in the story I also did not like how uickly and neatly everything was wrapped up in the end Much too Deus ex Machina But still a good endingI really enjoyed reading this book and it made me think deeply about some interesting issues It's a beautifully complex story with many shining characters Any fantasy reader would love this one

  8. says:

    I did enjoy this definitely According to it is aimed at ages 11 to 16 I'd say the writing style is oriented toward the younger end although there are a couple unexpected mature theme moments I picked it up because it is a seuel to The Seven Swans one of my favorite fairy tales An interesting take on the youngest brother He is very skilled goes on a uest funtimes The writing is competent but whenever people had serious conversations it was really flat and awkwardThe plot is entertaining A lot of it is just traveling but that is fine by me Found Evron the most interesting and Belarius the most tedious Would have liked to see Alene get to actually use her spear that is mentioned every time there's an in text description of her

  9. says:

    Similar to Shannon Hale who wrote The Goose Girl this story revolves around the retelling of a classic fairy tale But in this case what happens AFTER the ever after We follow Ardwin on his version of a Hero Journey where life lessons are learned and accepting yourself for who you are is the theme It took me awhile to get through this book I guess it just didn't have that spark and pull for me But it is a good young middle reader book I would recommend it as such

  10. says:

    I wanted to like this a lot than I actually did I love the concept it's a really neat fairy tale and a relatively unknown one so a good choice for a re telling but I just didn't care about the main character or his journey at all and the whole thing was really slow and kind of unfocused The love interest didn't even show up until the last fourth of the book so I didn't have time to care about that either I don't know I'm sure other people will like it it just wasn't for me