To Curse a Black Swan

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To Curse a Black Swan: A Retelling of Swan Lake by Leialoha Humphreys (Shattered Tales book 8)

Many years ago, Ayane and her father fled their home land after being shunned for something her mother did. Just when she starts to feel at home in the newly formed Aurora kingdom, Lady Cordelia glides in and makes her life miserable. With rumors spreading that she’s a witch like her mother, Ayane can find no other employment besides being Cordelia’s handmaiden. Despite it being a rather privileged and well-paying job, Ayane hates it. Hates it more when Cordelia tells the entire village about her long-hidden crush on the young prince Bo.

With her life in ruins and certain that Bo would never choose her, Ayane decides it’s time for Cordelia to pay for her years of meanness. Will Cordelia finally learn humility? Or will Ayane discover that revenge doesn’t pay?

“We’re all broken in our own way. It’s how we respond to our brokenness that makes the difference.”

This was such a cute story about how gossip can hurt, disappointment, the negative effects of revenge, and being an outsider. The characters grow and learn that results in the perfect ending.

A lot of the story relies on the miscommunication trope — or characters just flat out refusing to talk to each other. There’s also repeated mention of how Ayane “wasn’t like other girls.” At first I thought this was just based on appearances: she’s the only one who doesn’t have blond hair and blue eyes and she wears only black. But then we’re told she likes hanging out with boys or riding horses. 

My biggest dislike of the book is that only one other woman in the story was nice. All of the women are mean, catty, or self centered. I don’t think that’s a fair representation of how women treat each other in society.

I adore Swan Lake retellings, and this one is especially good because of the flip on the story. I loved how Leialoha twisted things and showed us the story from a different point of view. As always, Leialoha has created a stunning world in her island kingdoms. 

4 Roses
A couple sweet kisses
No swearing
Minor injuries