After the deaths of her parents, Kendika's fears of being alone are not alleviated when she wakes up in an unfamiliar mansion. Even worse, the ancient clothing and strange people put her on edge. Nothing seems quite right in this odd new place. when Kendika looks for a way out, a way back to her home in Italy, she discovers even more secrets and bizarre occurrences. The threats leveled against her if she tries to leave again only make her desire to escape worsen, but Kendika soon realizes her disobedience has a price.
White Swans is a short story that drops a pampered teen girl into a regency era nightmare. Kendika is completely lost and frightened, having no earthly idea what is going on. Kendika's character portrayed a scared and confused teenage girl very well. Her reactions are dramatic and a little impulsive at times, but that made her more realistic. She wanted answers,and at first doesn't care what it will cost. Her slightly self-centered view of this new place is what any young girl dropped in a situation that was scary and unfamiliar would be. Even in such a short span of pages, Kendika exhibits growth as she begins to realize that her decisions will not just affect her, but the others trapped in this strange world with her. She was a very well written and engaging character. I felt myself being drawn to her plight and I am very interested in reading more of her story.
The overall story was quite interesting. Bazzi did a good job of dropping readers into a situation and then slowly giving bits and pieces to the readers as Kendika learned more about what was going on. I was engaged in the story early on, and when I reached the end I was interested in reading more. I liked the rather abrupt starting, and I thought the pacing throughout was very even. Bazzi provided enough startling events to keep reader interested, but also allowed time for readers to become more familiar with Kendika's thoughts and personality. The villain was creepy and disturbing without being too over the top, particularly for younger readers. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, and I am interesting to see how Lord Deverow's character develops throughout this series.
I think my only complaint is that there were a few areas where the story seemed to jump ahead rather spend a little more time fleshing out the surroundings and side characters. I would have liked to have seen smoother transitions in a few places and I would have preferred to get a little more background on the abigail and other servants. Other than a few nicknames Kendika came up with, they were not as full as they could have been.
I'll be excited to read the second installment of this short story series. This will be a great story for teens, especially reluctant readers, who are interested in fantasy and urban fantasy situations.
White Swans is available now from Amazon.
Stay up to date on the White Swans series at Annamaria Bazzi's blog, Facebook, and Twitter.