Middle Grade Monday is an original weekly meme to spotlight a middle grade book!
BIRDWING by Rafe Martin is a continuation of the Grimm Fairytale ‘The Six Swans’. In the original fairytale, six brothers are turned into swans by their evil stepmother. In order to break the spell, their sister must make each brother a shirt out of nettles and keep a vow of complete silence for six years. She completes this task but unfortunately does not finish the sixth shirt, leaving her youngest brother disfigured with a wing for an arm.
This book picks up after the fairytale and follows Ardwin, the youngest brother through his journey as he struggles to find his place and either accept himself and his wing or allow his father to cut his wing off and replace it with a golden arm.
I picked this up on a whim at the used bookstore and have put off reading it for several months because while I am a fan of fairytale retellings and continuations, I was put off a little by the medieval time frame it was set in- princes and castles just really aren’t my thing. This was surprisingly good and while the storyline did drag at times, the story and Ardwin’s journey were uplifting and his final acceptance of himself was triumphant.
The cast of characters was great. There was a good mix of characters to love, hate, and pity. Alene is with us but for a short time in the book, but her characterization was probably the strongest and most honest of all besides Ardwin himself… prepare to fall in love.
Would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fairytales, adventure, and self-discovery!