It’s every child’s worst nightmare to wake up and find that their parents have vanished without a trace. Unfortunately for Bo, Jack, and Brianna, it’s not just a nightmare, it’s real. With the siblings struggling to find out what could have happened, they’re unaware that the worst is yet to come.
Little do they know that their parents were secretly the prince and princess of a faraway planet known as Cygnore, in the land of Taron, having eloped twelve years ago to Earth to start a family together. Now returned, they must find a way to look after their children stranded on Earth, and to protect them. When Bo is kidnapped, it’s up to teenaged Jack and Brianna to solve the mystery and reunite their family, no matter where it takes them. Adventure waits for those who dare in Children of Swan: The Land of Taron, Volume 1 by Coral Walker.
The book is utterly gorgeous, beautifully written and presented, evocative and moving with a fast pace that nudges you along a neverending ride of wonder. It’s almost easy to be a bit starstruck and dazzled by how quickly you find yourself in such a grandiose plot involving space politics and disappearing family members that stretches light years apart. It’s fast, yet quite fluid, and draws you in quite naturally even if at times it really does feel a bit like a flume ride, whizzing past bits here and there only to have to pick up on them later.
The prose sometimes waxes on the purple side at times and the simplistic dialogue between the children clashes with the complex vocabulary that surrounds it. There’s a lot of little errors with the grammar and editing here and there, especially mixed tenses. Although it doesn’t affect the read too much, it does give the read as a whole this alien feel as you struggle to understand exactly what’s being said at times. Although it’s a whimsical tale, it dabbles with some heavy subjects of parental abandonment and some twisted, terrifying consequences as a result – even including some quite horrifying images with slave fights and some slightly grisly ends. While this isn’t anything too unusual for children’s fiction (Harry Potter starts out on the same foot) it’s worth noting for younger readers who might scare easily.
It’s easy to recommend Children of Swan for adventurous younger readers, although with a few caveats attached that definitely place it towards the double-digit age range rather than the single digits. The book really shines as a beautiful read when given the chance, even if it could have used just a little extra time working out all the kinks in the delivery. It’s sure to set a reader’s imagination on fire without pushing less experienced readers too harshly, striking an unusual middle ground.
Children of Swan: The Land of Taron Vol 1. is the first part of the series, with parts two and three already available, which readers will more than likely want to pick up after reading this first part.