Book Review: A Throne of Swans by Katherine & Elizabeth Corr

Publishers Hot Keys

Pages 352

Book birthday 9.1.2020

Came to me direct from the publishers for an honest review

About When her father dies just before her birthday, seventeen-year-old Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles are able to transform at will into the bird that represents their family bloodline. Aderyn’s ancestral bird is a swan. But she has not transformed for years, not since witnessing the death of her mother – ripped apart by hawks that have supposedly been extinct since the long-ago War of the Raptors.

With the benevolent shelter of her mother and her father now lost, Aderyn is at the mercy of her brutal uncle, the King, and his royal court. Driven by revenge and love, she must venture into the malevolent heart of the Citadel in order to seek the truth about the attack that so nearly destroyed her, to fight for the only home she has ever known and for the land she has vowed to protect.

Written in rich detail and evocative language, this is the start of an irresistible, soaring duology about courage, broken loyalties and fighting for your place in the world.


  • There isn’t a single character I don’t love in this book. There’s other feelings, obviously, but each one feels so necessary to the plot that you will love them as ensemble. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before. I’ve either forgotten characters, or felt they were there simply to fulfil a need in the plot.
  • There is of course two I love beyond anything else and those are Aderyn, our protagonist, and Lucien, her clerk. Aderyn is someone I identify with and I feel many will do the same. Her relationship with her parents and the society she’s been protect from might be grander than we may experience, but the emotions are certainly something a reader will empathise with. She’s everything you want in a protagonist. What I love most is how flawed she is and how much she grows throughout the book.
  • Lucien! Oh, beautiful Lucien. I really did love how the Corr sisters managed to get across his feelings while Aderyn seems to not acknowledge them.


  • It’s a retelling of the classic Swan Lake. Something I had known but completely forgotten by the time I came to read this beautiful book. I am unable to comment upon its comparative narrative, however I will say that as someone with no knowledge of the original source I found this to be a compelling story of fear, trust and politics. I was hooked from the first page and never lost me the way some reworking do. If anything, I feel this book will bring a new generation of fans to the classic story and the ballet that is its most famous platform to explore.
  • There are many plot threads at work and it almost has that episodic charm that I’ve come to associate with Harry Potter. Only here, the threads are a little more interwoven and by no means contained to one chapter; ensuring any reader will be whispering ‘just one more chapter’ until they reach the back cover.
  • Please have your book grieving routine at the read, this is the first in what I believe is a duology and believe me, you’re going to be left on tenterhooks until that second instalment comes out. It’s a perfect way to end as it will prompt conversation between readers and will have those inclined, heading to fan fiction for predictions in the months we’ll all be waiting.


  • I love reading in first person for this sort of book. The atmosphere is built on the distrust and fear and you most definitely feel it here as it restricts your view of the social standing within the castle Aderyn spends much of the book.
  • I sometimes struggle with fantasy books. Not to do with the content, but the language and perspective used almost slows my reading down and I lose the flow. It’s simply not the case here. The Corr sisters have built not only a world but a complex politically charged society that a reader will fall into and fall in love with.

Final Thoughts

I loved this book, I’m grateful for the book arriving when it did and charming me like a feisty fairytale I have always wanted.

Distortion by @VictorDixen @HotKeyBooks


After a speed-dating show that is literally out of this world, twelve young astronauts are set to become the first humans to colonise Mars. They are also the victims of the cruellest of plots.

Léonor thought she was a pioneer on an extraordinary mission. She thought she had left all regrets behind her on Earth. But when memories are this painful, there can be no forgetting . . .


Leonor is as wonderful as ever. Her relationship with the rest of the crew is a little more open. It gives the story scope and allows her to become the leader, whether she wants it or not. She is the consistent within a world of chaos and you’ll want to stay by her side from start to finish.

Returning characters Harmony and Andrew are thrown further into the fray in Distortion and they are a welcome addition to the narrative. Now Andrew is not trying to put pieces together on his own, the tension has changed somewhat. Allowing him to spend time with Harmony gives the reader more scope into his character and he’s someone I want to spend even more time with.


Not going to lie, I wasn’t sure where the sequel was going. By the mid way point I was convinced there wasn’t a sequel. I assumed that perhaps the trilogy was condensed, and it was leaving me a little sad. It’s on of the reasons why the final act pulled the rug from under me and yet again had me begging for the sequel. 

Collision cannot come quick enough for me. The writing is engaging and the story is compulsive. You can’t put it down and it certainly would make the perfect TV show for all ages.

 Pick up Distortion and Ascension now. Collision is due April 2019

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks
Release date: 5.9.17


From Goodreads: A funny, moving love story about facing fears hand in hand – one snake/spider/potentially unstable fourth-floor balcony at a time. From acclaimed author of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS, Krystal Sutherland.

Esther Solar’s family is . . . unusual. Her father hasn’t left the basement in six years. Her brother is terrified of darkness.

Esther isn’t afraid of anything – because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators are off limits, as are open spaces, crowds, family pets, birds, needles, haircuts, dolls and mirrors.

But when Esther is pickpocketed by her cocky old classmate Jonah Walker, Esther and Jonah become surprising friends. Jonah sets a challenge: every week they must work their way through the world’s fifty most common phobias. Skydiving, horse riding, beekeeping, public speaking, reptile houses – they plan to do it all.

Soon their weekly foray into fear becomes the only thing that keeps them tethered to reality, and to each other. But each is keeping a secret from the other, a secret that threatens to rip them apart.

Buy it here

My first thoughts

I loved this book. It struck such a chord with me it ways I never expected it to. I hated that I started it while I was still working, which meant it became my commuter read, instead of devouring read that it should have been.

The Characters

Esther Solar is a unique and beautiful character who belongs in the wonderful world of Tim Burton. She is charming and delight to have on this journey. As a reader, I feel her pain and her triumphs.

Jonah is a mysterious addition to the narrative. He brings Esther out of her shell and helps her to come to terms with her life. He has his own personal challenge to face too. While it appears to be journeyed without the reader, the bulk of it is felt regardless.

The Plot

Its story is simple in terms of its outset, but is complex in its completion. Esther must complete each one of her fears in order to get her notebook back off Jonah. Having 50 items to be checked off could have become a little tiresome had Krystal chosen to depict every single conquest. Happily, we skip through them in order to progress to the deeper meaning of fears.

By the time the reader gets to the final act, we’re giving some heart wrenching twists that will tear up even the driest of eyes.

The Writing

The book is written in a fresh quirky style that pulls you in from the first sentence and doesn’t let you go, long after you finish reading.