The Savage and The Swan by Ella Fields is loosely inspired by Hades and Persephone, Rumpelstiltskin, and The Swan Princess. There are elements of each tale woven throughout the book while telling its own unique tale of the King of Wolves, Dade, and the Swan, Opal. This is a standalone romantic fantasy novel, and the first book by Ella Fields I have ever read. I didn’t know too many details before going into this book, other than seeing a mention of it on BookTok that it fell into the enemies to lovers trope.
The king of wolves was more beast than man, more tyrant than king, and so much more than he seemed. Raised to avenge his murdered parents, he’d been trained and conditioned until nothing but violence and hatred lined the walls of his dead heart.
For nearly four years, I’d done all I could to help my kingdom as we faced the wolf king’s unconquerable evil—hardly anything at all. As the only heir to the Gracewood line, I’d been relegated to menial tasks that would keep me and my secrets safe.
A chance to do more than fret behind our castle walls arrived when I breached them after overhearing my parents’ plans for my future. Fleeing, I unknowingly raced into a fate we’d all desperately hoped to avoid.
By the time I saw him coming, it was far too late. For my family. For my kingdom. For my heart.
Before I could staunch the bleeding, the king had me under his giant paw, and one wrong move after another caused those razor-sharp claws to sink deeper and deeper beneath my bruised skin.
I might have been trapped, naïve, and furious, but I still had a kingdom to save—and a plan.
Yet when we collided, the bloodshed, the fear, his atrocities… all of it dissolved like stardust upon the night sea.
The stars had mapped out our destiny, but it didn’t matter what they or my heart wanted.
I refused to see the enigmatic male, the heartless lost boy with a soul beneath the flesh of a monster.
The savage king who’d destroyed everything I loved would fall—even if my heart fell with him.
- Published: July 12, 2021
- Page Count: 348 pages
- Genre: Fantasy Romance
Thoughts on The Savage and The Swan
The book starts out with the single first-person perspective of Opal. We experience her living as a secluded princess with the sole purpose of producing a gold Fae heir to take over the throne to save their kingdom. As their kingdom has been in non-stop war for decades with the blood Fae ruled by the king of the wolves named Dade. Opal hates not being able to do anything or use her powers in case it alerts anyone of her presence. However, the Princess doesn’t stay in her tower. She goes off to the border between the warring kingdoms where she meets our other main character. She doesn’t realize he’s Dade until a few weeks later when he kills her father in a battle. Before that happens though, the two kiss and it’s revealed that they are mates. Though both deny this fact. But it’s kind of obvious, though it’s not outright said until later in the book.
Following the death of her father, Opal flees to the human kingdom in the south as a black swan, where she is locked up. The only way she can earn freedom and escape is by turning the thread of clothing into gold. Something she accidentally did once in front of their prince. This is where the Rumpelstiltskin part comes in, only instead of another being playing that role, Opal is Rumpelstiltskin. She manages to accomplish the task with Dade’s help as he visits her every night. And gets upset whenever he discovers the human prince touched her. Eventually, the human prince attempts to force himself on her. Dade interrupts and takes her back to his kingdom.
This is where the book starts to alternate being Dade’s POV and Opal’s POV. And it’s revealed officially that the two are mates. Something Dade isn’t sure what to do with, since he’s hell-bent on getting revenge for the death of his parents when he was a week old. Death caused by Opal’s family. And of course, she’s pissed that Dade killed her father and has been destroying villages in her kingdom. But regardless, of their mutual anger, they can’t avoid the mating bond between them and often seek the other out.
Their relationship isn’t smooth or resolved by any means. They betray each other in favor of their kingdoms. But in the end, they fell in love and would do anything for the other. Dade learns how to be merciful to some degree, and works on repairing the divide between the two kingdoms. And Opal forgives him for what he did during the war. Won’t spoil everything that happened, but I really enjoyed this book.
It does contain mature content.
The Swan Princess comes from the fact that Opal is a black swan, and gets imprisoned often needing Dade to rescue her. While the Hades and Persephone piece comes in from gold Fae being known for growing nature (flowers, vines, etc.), healing, and mending. While blood or red Fae being known for darkness, death, and shifting abilities. Gold being Persephone (Opal), and red/blood being Hades (Dade). Even though Opal’s animal form is a black swan, while Dade is a massive, white winged wolf with horns. I thought it was interesting that the coloring of the two is reversed. Since Opal comes from the “light” side while Dade comes from the “dark” side. Granted, neither side is light or dark. They just have different abilities.
Overall, I would give The Savage and The Swan a 3.75 out of 5-star rating. As I mentioned, I enjoyed this book a lot and will probably read it again. I couldn’t put it down. Though I swore like four different times when I was reading it, I was coming to the end of the book. I read it on Kindle Unlimited (ordered the physical book in the event I want to go back to re-read) so I didn’t realize there were still a lot of pages left. And even though I thought it was coming to closures multiple times, I didn’t feel like it dragged on as things continued. There was a new twist to or angle to make things interesting, or something new that needed to be resolved. Each element flowed together and tied every aspect that was brought up. The human kingdom, the mate bond, the divided Fae kingdoms, and more. Every element came to a conclusion while still leaving it a little open-ended on a few pieces in case Ella Fields ever wanted to write a sequel to the book. Honestly, a sequel could be interesting for this book but if it stays standalone then wrapped up nicely as well.
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