Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Enchanted Swans by Christy Nicholas (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT


The Enchanted Swans
by Christy Nicholas


GENRE: Fantasy



In pre-Celtic Ireland, Fionnuala was a fae princess, born to a life of luxury. She knew her duty and loved her family. She missed her mother, who died in childbirth when Fionnuala was but ten years old. Still, she had hopes and dreams of love and a full life.

All her dreams were stolen from her, ripped away in a torrent of envy and magic.

Now she must care for her three brothers while learning to live under an evil curse. Will she find a way to break the spell, or would they remain swans, tethered to three places for nine hundred years?



It was a good training session. It left me sweaty and tired, and I hadn’t thought of Mother for a full hour. Mistress Scuida was gentle at first, but soon realized I needed to vent my fury, so she increased her efforts. At one point, I snarled and roared at the weapons mistress, while she parried my attacks with grim determination. Aed still practiced on the pells, but I heard several good whacks from his direction.

I could never get inside Scuida’s guard unless she let me, of course. She was Father’s best warrior, a student of the Morrigan herself. She allowed my frustrations free reign with no damage to either me or her. I thanked her when I was exhausted and panting.

The thick bronze sword was not my favorite weapon. I did better with the bow. The bow, however, didn’t allow one to push their anger through blows as the sword did. I wanted to learn the spear, but Scuida didn’t believe I was ready yet for the large weapon. I occasionally practiced in the woods with my father’s fosterling, Tadhg. Just a few times, mind, but enough to enjoy it.

Aed, however, had great skill at the bow. He could hit a mark from twice the distance I could, despite being two winters younger. His skill ranked as high as many young adult warriors. Not the older ones, those with several hundred winters’ worth of experience and the physical strength needed to pull the great bows, but still, not bad for his mere eight winters. Maybe that’s why he didn’t argue as much with Scuida as he did with everyone else.

My people, the Tuatha Dè, the People of the Gods, lived much longer than the recent Milesian invaders. The humans lived a mayfly’s life, a mere fifty winters or so. We, however, might live a thousand winters, though we may still die through violence or disease. Mother had been barely thirty winters old.

After I wiped the betraying tears from my cheeks and choked down the knot in my throat, I changed from my practice breeches back into my simple dress. With a splash of clean water on my face, I took a deep breath and cleared my head. I must get control over this. My duty lay in being presentable at all times. As the eldest, I must be a credit to my mother.

It became easier this time to push the tears away. A good swallow, and they retreated. Could I dismiss grief so simply, then? I didn’t think so.

I headed toward the great hall. A quick meal and my afternoon lessons awaited me.

Aed grabbed two apples from the kitchen and scampered by me.

“Aed, where are you going?”

“I can’t enter the great hall now. You must think me a great fool.”

“I think you are the son of a king. Am I mistaken?”

He shrugged and ran to his room

Father sat silent on his chair. He stared into the middle distance. No one sat nearby or spoke to him, though at least twenty of the guards ate their midday meal in the hall. What conversation there was remained muted and strained.

I now wished I’d done the same as Aed.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

My name is Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon. I do many things, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing and photography. In real life I'm a CPA, but having grown up with art and around me (my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected me, as it were.  I love to draw and to create things. It's more of an obsession than a hobby. I like looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or a fragrant blossom, a dramatic seaside. I then wish to take a picture or create a piece of jewelry to share this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others.  Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus I write.  Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. I do local art and craft shows, as well as sending my art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.

Author's links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tour dates can be found here


My review:


3.75 out of 5 stars

The Enchanted Swans by Christy Nicholas is a fairy tale that harkens back to those of the Brothers Grimm, with its dark aspects and lyrical descriptions. The detailed descriptions of the changes wrought upon both the fae society and one particular royal household are both unsettling and intriguing, but definitely lean toward the style of the Mabinogion. There are intriguing elements such as the ravens who are bound to the royal children and teach them, and the powers that are common among these people but gradually become lost to the land as the fae are forced to retreat to the underworld. The complex loyalties and almost ritualized interactions between royal households are briefly touched upon through descriptions of sporadic meetings but I am afraid the uplifting moments are much more rare than the tragedies that mount.

I think this story represents detailed research into myths and legends and brings to life many of the conventions described, but I’m afraid that it is too somber for my tastes. It is fantastical and imaginative and explores the events that lead up to the curse and then demonstrates the impact of being transformed into a swan for 900 years and the effect on relationships. Somehow I felt cheated by the end because I am an incurable optimist, but those who like traditional fairy tales will appreciate the verisimilitude.

A copy of this title was provided to me for review 


  1. Thank you so much for reviewing and hosting!!

    1. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your story and good luck on the tour!

  2. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Sounds like an interesting story, thanks for sharing your review!

    1. Great to see you, Victoria, thanks for visiting!

  4. I can recall a story I read as a child. More swans as I remember.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Mary! I agree, I think you're thinking of the HCA tale.

  5. That could have been the one by Hans Christian Andersen. There were 7 swans in that one, and she had to knit them nettle shirts to transform them back. Juliet Marillier writes a great treatment of that in Daughter of the Forest. That's actually what inspired me to write this one!

  6. Replies
    1. I hope you get a chance to read it, Rita. Thanks for dropping by!