ARC Review: A THRONE OF SWANS by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

I borrowed an ARC from a friend, which hasn’t affected my opinions.

Title in white on dark blue beneath a feather and above the top of a throne
Genre: Fantasy (political!)
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: Yes - first book of duology


Book cover for A THRONE OF SWANS: A dark throne with carvings around it sits behind the title, a white feather hovering.

In a world where the flightless are ruled by those who can fly…

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I find it quite funny that one of my favourite books I’ve read this year isn’t published until early next year. A friend lent it to me, convinced I’d love it. And I did.

The intrigue is brilliant, so many layers of deception and control stacked upon each other, slowly peeled back over the course of the story. I had an inkling of who would be less than trustworthy, which only made the tension stronger as I waited for my suspicions to be proved.

It’s quite a short book, but it never felt that. Of course, I’d have loved to stay in the world more, but it didn’t feel like the story was too condensed, like there should have been more.

The pacing was superb, drawing out the suspense as I tried to work out exactly who was behind it and what certain people’s plans were – not to mention how Aderyn would get caught up in it all.

I loved the world, the contrast between the nobles and the “flightless” commoners. The violence and disregard shown to the flightless made Aderyn’s situation worse, as shown by the scorn heaped upon her cousin – the former Crown Prince – after an accident rendered him unable to fly.

I liked the added dimension of nobles’ contact burning the skin of the commoners, and the gulf that put between then – even when they were close friends, like Aderyn and Letya. It really helped isolate her at Court, with the tension between Aderyn and her clerk Lucien.

Aderyn’s sheltered desire to see the world, and her black-and-white outlook, really endeared her to me. I wanted to see her succeed, but the world was stacked against her for not wanting more power, more influence. Lucien’s sharp, cynicism contrasted so well with her bright, willful hope. They sparked off each other so well, both with arguments and emotionally.

The ending isn’t the typical duology ending where everything goes horribly wrong. On one level, it goes it very very right, but it’s the choices Aderyn makes that leave the feeling of something being wrong. I want to know what happens next, and can’t believe I have to wait until 2021!

Read my reviews of other books by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr:

A Throne of Swans (this series):

The Witch’s Kiss:

House of Shadows:

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