Birdwing continues the Grimm’s fairy tale “The Six Swans”, telling the heartbreaking story of the one brother who remained part swan.

Prince Ardwin “Birdwing” wrestles with memories of his past life as a swan and his present life as a human. He is angry and often bitter, and when he finds out he may be asked to sacrifice his wing to keep peace in his father’s kingdom, he runs away.

This Fairy tale does contain some mild language, consumption of alcohol (but not by the main character), violent scenes (including the murder of a snake-lord, the killing of other animals, and the burning of a bad witch), and some implied sexuality.

It’s hard to know exactly to whom this book will appeal to. Because it shows the natural tendency to mock or exclude someone who is different, I can see this book being used to help adolescents learn more compassion and empathy for others. Unfortunately, the story of Ardwin’s struggle dragged on for way too long. Though they will enjoy the setting, and the idea of the story, I would predict most readers would succumb midway (like I did) to boredom.

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