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Zoë Marriott

Autor(a) de The Swan Kingdom

11+ Works 1,259 Membros 81 Críticas 5 Favorited

About the Author

Séries

Obras por Zoë Marriott

The Swan Kingdom (2007) 405 exemplares
Shadows on the Moon (2011) 298 exemplares
Daughter of the Flames (2008) 219 exemplares
The Night Itself (2013) 156 exemplares
The Hand, the Eye and the Heart (2019) 46 exemplares
FrostFire (2012) 44 exemplares
Barefoot on the Wind (2016) 37 exemplares
Darkness Hidden (2014) 32 exemplares
Frail Human Heart (2015) 18 exemplares

Associated Works

Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves (2015) — Contribuidor — 25 exemplares

Etiquetado

Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
Marriott, Zoë
Data de nascimento
1982
Sexo
female
Nacionalidade
UK
Agente
The Standen Literary Agency

Membros

Críticas

Marriott has, to date, not let me down as far as the enjoyment level, attention to detail and kick-ass heroines are concerned. The fact her books tend to feature non-Caucasian centric story lines just adds to the wonderfulness.

In this re-imagining of the Cinderella Fairy Tale (its not really a retelling, Suzume's journey is much darker than Cinderella's I think, and emotionally more painful) Suzume finds herself at the center of a decades long cat-and-mouse game. Unable to let go of the past, but also unable to forgive those who directly (or indirectly) had a hand in her misfortune, Suzume's path of vengeance treads a dark and dangerous road.

Marriott doesn't mince words in her books; her heroines suffer and suffer terribly. They're almost reborn like the Phoenix by the time the novel is over in fact. Suzume is no different. She begins the book as a cheerful, curious child and ends the novel experienced, sophisticated and with a clear idea of who (and what) she is...but only after so much hardship that I was truly fretful that she would recoup.


I liked the parallels to the Cinderella fairy tale--Suzume has not one fairy godmother, but several throughout the story as what she needs and wants changes. People who see the girl beneath everything and the potential therein.

Otieno...Otieno, I wasn't sure what to make of him at first. I liked his persistence, the way he insisted he knew his mind and that Suzume's society's preconceptions mean little to his people. Each time he appeared I was as surprised as Suzume and probably just as delighted.

I want to touch upon the darker aspects for a moment. Not just the betrayal and vengeance she seeks, but the more personal dark moments. After her father and cousin's deaths, Suzume is...empty. Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, as well as a healthy dose of survivor's guilt, in a society that demands you forget pain and live as if it doesn't exist, she can't find an outlet.

Her mother grows ever more distant leaving Suzume literally with no one to speak with. Until one day she accidentally finds a release. A simple prick of her finger, the smallest of pains, and the emptiness seems to go away. But then the small pain isn't enough and more is needed to make the screaming inside her stop.

I almost didn't see what was going on. Marriott doesn't make a big deal of Suzume's growing need to harm herself, its a piece of the puzzle just like when Suzume learns to dance or how to work in the kitchen. Its handled well and with care.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
lexilewords | 24 outras críticas | Dec 28, 2023 |
The Swan Kingdomis based upon the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Wild Swans,” but depending on your views and opinion could be based upon several other related fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. In all versions of the story, the daughter is the youngest and the only one able to defeat the Evil Queen and save her brothers. Another author to previously use this fairy tale as the framework for an original tale was Juliet Marillier in her first Sevenwaters book, Daughter of the Forest, though that book is a darker, more adult, and ultimately bittersweet retelling.

Make no mistake, this isn’t quite the happy, sun is shining fantasy with neatly wrapped up obstacles, as the fairy tale might lead you to believe. Our narrator and protagonist, Alexandra, begins the story by first explaining that she was the most useless member of her family. Her father, the King, barely acknowledged her existence because she was such a disappointment, her Mother was a wise and powerful Wise Woman, and her three elder brothers each had a quality about them that made them stand out. Alexandra, by comparison, was plain, difficult, and could only manage the smallest of “workings” (magic). She didn’t mire herself down with bitterness or depression, however; she looked forward to the day when she could be “just Alexandra” and not have to worry about the courtly protocol thrust upon her by her status as a princess.

Slowly we see the changes in Alexandra’s life as she comes of age and adulthood looms. The tenseness between her parents, the sadness she sees in her Mother’s eyes, and her own knowledge that she couldn’t stay a child forever all begin to take root just as her world is turned upside down. They say bad luck comes in threes and so it did–her mother’s death, her father’s impending remarriage, and her brothers’ banishment could all be squarely blamed on one woman: Zella.

Beautiful, powerful, wicked, and rotten Zella. She murdered the Queen, bewitched the King and his people, and attempted to murder Alexandra and her brothers. Zella radiates decay and rankness, the loathing and disgust that Alexandra feels for her translated perfectly in her narrative. Through Alexandra’s eyes there are no redeeming values to Zella at all.

The book is broken into two parts; the first deals with setting the stage and introducing the players, as well as the first confrontation with Zella and the aftermath. The second part begins with Alexandra accepting the path her life has taken, but a sudden upset spirals her once again out of her element. Determined to save her family and Kingdom, she undertakes a quest that will hopefully break the hold Zella has over her father and Kingdom.

The first part moves at a much slower pace while Alexandra is still upset, hesitant and reeling from all the changes wrought in a short amount of time. A lot of the narrative is filled with mundane things that filled her day or thoughts that are repeated often. The arrival of Gabriel is the only bright spot, but his time in her life is short-lived and leaves her feeling even worse. By the end of the chapter the hope she clings to is threadbare and worn.

The second part is where things begin to pick up speed. Revelations and events happen one after the other in quick succession as Alexandra realizes the gravity of the problem at hand and takes steps to take care of it. Not surprisingly, she comes into her own and starts to build herself separate from the image she has always held of the useless, powerless girl. She has new determination, new strength of resolve, and a new goal.

As much as I enjoyed the second part, much seemed to draw directly from Marillier’s book and is then abandoned as the tides of the plot changed. Alexandra is reunited with someone, and it’s during this reunion that I was most at odds with the book. Time, such as it was in the book, seemed to pass quickly, but the task she set herself to at the beginning of the second part is all but abandoned except when it is a plot convenience. And the actual climatic battle between herself and Zella is completely out of the blue.

The ending is a happy one, so that differs from several of the variants of the fairy tale itself, but is a little too pat. Despite breaking one of the cardinal rules of the spell, Alexandra achieves the results she wanted. The allusion to who Zella really was is clumsy and added without much explanation, and the epilogue takes the bulk of what happens after.

Regardless of its inconsistencies of pacing and plot, I enjoyed this retelling of a lesser-known fairy tale and look forward to reading Marriott’s other book, Daughter of the Flames.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
lexilewords | 17 outras críticas | Dec 28, 2023 |
In some ways Daughter of the Flames was a much more enjoyable read than Marriott’s previous (unrelated) novel The Swan Kingdom. I identified more with Zira’s journey than I did with Alexandra’s and felt the plot was better laid out in Daughter than in Swan.

The day before Zira is to take her vows and become a full fledged warrior priest in service of the Fire Goddess, calamity strikes, and everything she knows and loves is ripped away with one shocking revelation–her entire life, her memories, and even her name, were a lie. Why the memories were taken from her is almost inconsequential next to the changes those memories invoke in Zira.
Suddenly she is making decisions that are heartless, but necessary. Her old friends and teachers aren’t sure what to do and follow her reluctantly. Zira herself is uncertain and doubtful about her decisions, internally waging a war with every action she makes, wondering if it was too much too soon and whether she was the best choice.

Like Swan, this novel is also split into several parts. Part one is the set up before the attack. We learn about the religion, the political atmosphere and about who Zira is. It’s not quite appropriate to say that Zira is a pushover before the attack; she is brave and seeks to right wrongs even at the expense of her own life. Used to ridicule and jeers because of the scar on her face, Zira isn’t comfortable in crowds or leaving the temple walls. Several times Zira knows things, or figures things out, that are wholly outside her normal thinking, but a justified reason crops up to explain things.

Zira is given only the smallest of hints as to who she is before the attack begins and we are thrown into part two. Part two is very much about Zira learning who she is and what the cost of her memories are. Forced into a position where she has to find shelter for her people, she finds herself making hard decisions with little to no remorse. And that terrifies her. The Zira in part one would have leapt to defense of the child being smacked by the Sedorne guard–however the new Zira, who’s name is really Zahira, understands that sometimes the risks are just not justifiable. She places her trust in a Sedorne lord she met previously, who owed her his life, and this in turn leads to even harder choices.

When is an enemy more of a friend than an enemy? When should you stop being prejudiced and see someone for their actions, not their heritage? It takes Zira the better half of the second part to understand how she would answer these questions. Sorin Mesago is unlike any Sedorne she had ever met–he defies his people’s casual cruelty and treats Zira’s people, the Ruan, with dignity and respect. Why he does this is never fully explained, however. In fact Sorin’s initial appearance smacks of the “too good to be true” sort and made me wary to trust him myself.

I appreciated the solution that Sorin proposed to Zira, as a way to get rid of their mutual enemy King Abheron, and Zira’s response to it. Sorin stated his case logically, and Zira argued her points just as maturely. It was a major step for their relationship, and I felt it was handled well. Also it made the most sense, even if it meant putting trust in someone she barely knew.

The third part is wholly devoted to two things: Zira’s acceptance of who she has become and the plot to get rid of King Abheron. While I wasn’t surprised about Zira’s family connections, I was wholly shocked by Abheron’s backstory. It’s the case of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The King was “cursed” at birth, the priests saying he would be the death of everyone he loved, so his father set out to eliminate that threat by sequestering Abheron away from everyone. This led to a man who had no true idea of what love meant or what great lengths people in love would go to for each other. When confronted with love, he reacted the wrong way and caused the death of the one who loved.

My only real criticisms of the book are these: Marriott glosses over a lot of character development in favor of adding a new layer to the book. Ordinarily I would be fine with that, but character motivations are brought into question without the necessary development behind their actions.
There is also the matter Zira’s memories–the Fire Goddess took Zira’s memories for a reason, to keep her safe, but why would the return of those memories lead to drastic changes in her personality? She was five years old when the memories were taken, hardly enough time for her to develop the characteristics that occurred after Zira regained those lost years.

In the end the book did a better job of resolving the conflict and introducing new elements into it than Marriott’s last. It did not, however, match those improvements with character development, and that ruined some of the enjoyment I had in reading.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
lexilewords | 18 outras críticas | Dec 28, 2023 |
The lead is continuously learning about life and herself. She's been wronged by people close to her and lost people she loved in unnatural ways. She has to cope with her feelings of anger at herself and others throughout. She also has to learn to control newfound powers. I wasn't crazy about the story right from the start, but I continued to get more into it as it went along.
 
Assinalado
ToniFGMAMTC | 24 outras críticas | Feb 17, 2021 |

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Estatísticas

Obras
11
Also by
1
Membros
1,259
Popularidade
#20,384
Avaliação
½ 3.7
Críticas
81
ISBN
56
Línguas
1
Marcado como favorito
5

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