The Silent Swan

Lex KeThe Silent Swanating’s riff on the lesser-known fairy tale “The Seven Swans” sets the characters in today’s high school scene and gives them tempers and hormones worthy of the youthful athletes they are. I enjoyed the story for both character development and the satisfying resolution, even though I found it hard to identify with both the setting and the tempers most characters display.

Keating’s writing pops and fizzes to match the characters and kept me reading well past my bedtime. I enjoyed not being told everything, but after staring at the screen for hours (I read a PDF ARC, free, no strings attached), elliptical references to past events sometimes were a little much. Not getting it doesn’t hurt the plot, though, and I’m sure I’d do better on a second reading and enjoy discovering the added depth that gives the novel.

The plot doesn’t quite follow the fairy tale, but closely enough to make it clear where the tale’s heading. Keating throws her characters more than a few curve balls, and generally (after they’ve said “Gah!” and called a close relative a moron) even the minor characters develop and grow through the course of events. Food lovers get lots of cooking, romance lovers get romantic tension (with tissues), and sports lovers get baseball – what’s not to like? Why only 4 stars?

Ratings are personal, and that’s true in my case. The characters were a bit too agitated for me to identify, my high school experience was vastly different, and baseball’s really not my thing (it speaks to Keating’s ability that I still burned midnight oil on this book with those three strikes against it). I have some minor detractions: I would have wished for more sounds and smells of the Low Country, for one calmer, less awkward character (some respite for my poor phlegmatic heart), and for a more sparing use of “Gah!”

But would I recommend it? Gah! Moron.  Of. Course. I. Would.

P.S. For typo fiends: I’d estimate no more than a dozen in the ARC, which will still see editing before the print run. Read without worries.

P.P.S. Lex Keating is an old friend of mine.  Please buy her book!

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