Review: A Captive of Wing and Feather (Beyond the Four Kingdoms #5) by Melanie Cellier

Adelaide ran away from her home in Palinar when the threat of her family falling apart became too dangerous to her life. Thirteen years old, she sought out a haven in Talinos, the bordering kingdom. She found more than she bargained for though when she stumbled across the local lord, a man named Leander. Devious, ambitious, and obsessed with magic Leander cast a curse on the young girl that stripped her of her voice during the day and her freedom during the night. With only a wedge of swans to protect her, and her friends in dire straits themselves, Addie or Lady as she’s known in Brylee suddenly finds an ally in a childhood friend and becomes hopeful that Leander can be overcome.


What is A Captive of Wing and Feather about?

This series installment is about a princess not present at the princess tourney. Instead, it’s about Adelaide who fled Palinar when the darkness in her family threatened her life. She hasn’t heard anything about her kingdom in years, not even to know that the Old Kingdoms have reached out and made contact and her brother Dominic has married. All this news is brought to her by the unexpected arrival of her childhood friend, Crown Prince Gabriel of Talinos where she is currently hiding out. With a curse tying Addie, or Lady as the town of Brylee knows her, to the forest, she cannot help Gabe unravel the mystery of the timidity creeping through his kingdom nor return to her searching brother, Dominic. At least, not until the curse is defeated…

Genre: YA Fairy Tale Retelling

Just like its predecessors, this book is a YA book through and through and retells the story of Swan Lake albeit with a happier ending.

Tropes: Learning to Love

While many of these fairy tale retellings lend themselves to a lot of love based themes, this one always crops up eventually in a series. Addie has closed her heart off to love and trust, and must learn to accept help from others despite her desire to protect them from the many forces working against her (or so she thinks). Addie’s struggle to trust and love others despite her misgivings is a major focus for her character development.

Plot: Swan Lake meets political ramifications

While the other books have touched on the apparent growing “darkness” spreading over the fairytale lands, this one really sank its claws into the idea with a more politically minded antagonist. Previous antagonists in the series have mostly been single minded, or motivated by personal gain. Leander wanted control and to slowly tear down the kingdom of Talinos, playing into what will likely become an overarching plot about the kingdoms.

The Good

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of this book, which really lacks a lot of the courtly politics of the others, with one that was so heavily politics related. Though there was some dealing with the overarching plot of the curses, darkness, and High King this book was primarily focused on Addie as a separate entity.

The Okay

I don’t know why but this story was a little bland for me. I’m usually all for these cheesy retellings, and enjoy them very much. Perhaps it was that Gabe and Addie’s relationship was only fraught with conflict because Addie said it was, or that most of the threats in the story were simply told about and never really shown. The ending was climactic, but also felt out of place compared to the slow build up.

The Bad

Beyond being bland, parts of this story didn’t make a whole lot of sense considering the attempts to tie in to the rest of the world. It almost felt as if once it reached this far into the series, the author suddenly remembered she was supposed to be relating these books to one another beyond just monarchical friendships. Leader’s ambition didn’t wholly explain everything he was attempting, nor why he even thought Addie’s fate would matter in the long run. He had her cursed for three years on a whim, but suddenly it was a political game that would bring down two kingdoms? I don’t buy it.

Final Thoughts

I’ll be honest, this book wasn’t as good to me as the beginning of the series. Maybe I just need a break from the series, or I just didn’t connect with Addie, I’m not sure. Gabe didn’t seem all that impressive to me as a love interest, and most of the characters seemed so underdeveloped. There was also a lot of “telling” not “showing” from Addie’s supposed character development (she announces one thing and later announces a different thing), to the dark doings of Leander. I think there’s just a lot of missed potential here for the story to be more creative, or more interesting, and really changing Odette to Addie wasn’t a mark of true creativity.

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By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

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