Saturday, 4 December 2010

Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll (dark urban fantasy, 10/10E)

November 2010, Bantam Press
400 pages, Paperback 
Review copy

Themes: Magic, king of the fairies, elemental guardians, magical forces affecting the modern world, New York, friendship, family relations and family secrets, theft,

Content: occasional moderate adult relations, some violence, gruesome creatures, lots of tense moments, a few tissue moments

Summary from Transworld

Jeweller Garet James isn't the same as everyone else. 
She just doesn't know it yet.

With her fair share of problems – money (lack of), an elderly father, a struggling business – Garet should be just like any other young, feisty, single New Yorker. If only it was that simple...

It begins with the old silver box that had been soldered shut. All Garet has to do is open it. A favour for the frail owner of the antiques shop. Who wouldn’t help?

Only it’s then that things start to change. Garet doesn't notice at first, the shifts barely perceptible. But the city in which she grew up is beginning to reveal a long-hidden side – darker, and altogether more dangerous: parallel world of chaos, smoke and blood.

And now it’s out of the box...and it has no intention of going back in.

Nayuleska's thoughts
I loved the premise of this book. I enjoy protagonists who have a passion for creating things. When I saw the cover (both front and back which is different), I hoped would be amazing. It was. I had forgotten what a joy it is to read about a character who is a similar age to me, who has suffered tragedy in her life and yet has a great deal of strength left in her. Garet is at a difficult stage in her life. Having her father accused of instigating the burglary and shooting himself is a hard pill to swallow. What she doesn't know is that John Dee, who wanted the box and who gave it to her, has played a part in her life much earlier on. John Dee is a villain who gives me the shivers. The power he holds within in had me wondering how Garet would defeat him. Well, not defeat him exactly. For this is the first book in a trilogy. 

From the first to the last word I was so happy with the images that appeared in my head. I could see everything Garet saw. Every new power that she receives costs her dearly, but she gains strength from the trails, as well as new abilities. She meets mystical people who live alongside  humans, making people happier in their lives. There's the use of auras, whose colours can be seen by those with enough power (and also affected by anyone). There's the evil mist and fog, which now will make me a little wary when I see mist/fog in real life. My favourite character was Garet, but equally I loved the little fairy named Lol. She's spunky and I hope to see her in the other books. Garet sides with both the good and the bad, who don't always show their true colours until the end. 

Final conclusion 
If you love books with a strong female lead, secondary characters whose loyalty is debatable, great plot twists and scenes of magic that take your breath away, Black Swan Rising is the book for you. 

Suggested reads are Sixty One Nails by Mike Shevdon, which is a dark fantasy incorporating magic in the modern world, and for something a little cuter, with as much danger, Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev


Allison said...

great review! I hadn't heard of this one, and you've definitely made me want to read it :)

Nayuleska said...

Heehee - I'm glad!