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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Swan Song is a young adult adventure novel featuring animals as central characters by award-winning film producer and bestselling author Lynn Santer. Inspired by the swans and other animals living on Santer's subtropical property on Australia's Gold Coast, the book follows the animals on the fictional Hen Swamp Island, where Queen Swan Serena and her beloved King Hugh reside. Serena and Hugh rule over a peaceful kingdom, but trouble arises when their daughter, Isis, moved by revenge, brings back the tyrant Hannibal as her mate to challenge Hugh. After a draining battle, Hugh loses his life and kingdom to Hannibal, whose atrocities force Serena and her newborn Prince to flee and the other animals to rise in revolt. Will the white duck Lord Quacksalot find Serena and the Prince in time? Can Isis find her redemption?
Some real-world parallels in Lynn Santer's story shed light on the issue of immigrants and the problems they face while acclimating to their new environments. Swan Song, at its heart, is a coming-of-age story about two sibling heirs to the Swan kingdom who choose two very different paths to react to life's challenges. Lynn Santer draws inspiration from watching the swans on her own property to weave a fascinating tale of love, sacrifice, and redemption. There are some delightful shoutouts to movies and other pop culture references sprinkled throughout the book, which adds another fun engagement factor to the narrative. Animal lovers will find the book particularly heartwarming as Santer captures animal behavior and social interactions flawlessly on the page. Highly recommended.