The Midnight Swan

Catherine Fisher

Firefly Press – Published 1st October 2020

The Midnight Swan is the third (and possibly the final) instalment in the Clockwork Crow series. Click on the covers below to read my reviews of The Clockwork Crow and The Midnight Fox.

Think Tom’s Midnight Garden blended with The Chronicles of Narnia a dash of Alice in Wonderland and a sprinkle of a well-known fairy-tale and you will only be close to imagining the enchantment you about to be delighted with. Full of faery magic and folk-lore, The Midnight Swan is every bit as good as the previous two books and then some.

I was thrilled to be reunited with the much-loved characters of Seren, Denzil, Mrs Villiers and of course, the cantankerous crow who is on form once again and is as irritable, demanding and bad-tempered as ever!

Returning to Plas-Y Fran felt like coming home. All is calm in the Welsh countryside and there has been no sign of ‘Them’ the infamous faery folk, the Tylworth Teg since our last visit. Summer has arrived and Seren Rhys is enjoying long, hot days spent playing in the sprawling gardens of the Victorian mansion with Master Tomos. It seems that orphan Seren has really become part of the family and Lady Mair treats the children to a trip to the Summer Fair. An afternoon of sherbert dabs, toffee apples and coconut stalls awaits, but just a few pages into the book, this idylic setting becomes the scene of a mysterious discovery.

Seren finds an exquisitely crafted box, and beautifully painted on the lid is the face of a black swan wearing a collar of diamonds; The box of the Midnight Swan. Catherine Fisher’s clever rhyming couplets at the opening of each chapter make a return and the box is inscribed with the words:

“If you can open My closed lid
Your heart’s desire Inside is hid”

Could this be what the crow has been looking for all this time? We finally get to hear the much-awaited tale of how the crow really came to be in his current state and Seren and Thomas must accompany him on his quest to solve the riddle and lift the spell. But somehow, someone or something invites ‘Them’ back into Plas-Y Fran. The treacherous Tylworth Teg are at large once more. in search of a human child and bargains are made at a serious cost. It would seem that the faery folk aren’t the only threat to Seren’s charming new life, Captain Jones is acting strangely, a letter arrives from her Aunt’s solicitor and whispered conversations are happening all around her. Seren fears the family have grown tired of her and she is about to be sent away.

Wishes, curses, a secret garden, enchanted objects and talking animals are the perfect ingredients for a deliciously spell-binding fairy-tale adventure. The plot comes to comes to a nail-biting climax on Midsummer Night when our protagonist Seren is tested to the limit when faced with an impossible choice.

But it would seem all good things must come to an end and what can I say,.. although I felt bereft that this was possibly the last time I would get to step into the world of Seren Rhys and her crow, it’s the perfect end to the perfect trilogy.

I read each book in The Clockwork Crow series, back to back and in one sitting, completely and utterly enchanted by Catherine Fisher’s magic. The three stories really lend themselves to being adapted for television and each would make a fantastic children’s mini-series.

I absolutely adore this trilogy and each book’s shorter length and ease of reading make it perfect for pupils to enjoy in Lower Key Stage 2.

One thought on “The Midnight Swan

  1. I love this series too. I have a girl in my class who read The Clockwork Crow and is now reading The Velvet Fox. She was very happy to be told I have pre-ordered The Midnight Swan!

    Like

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