Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll

Just finished reading Black Swan Rising and what a lovely enjoyable read this is.  The writing is beautiful and lyrical.  There is really good world building, quite a bit of action good description and yet not overly so, no information dumps and although there are lots of different creatures, even dragons, the story is also grounded quite heavily in the normal and the setting of New York is excellent.

This story has a great mythology behind it, I loved the swan concept and it reminded me of my earlier years reading some fantastic and atmospheric fairy tales.

So, to give a little outline, in fairytale fashion… once upon a time there was a young woman called Garet.  Garet’s mother died a few years ago and her father was becoming weak and vulnerable.  The family business was in decline and Garet worried about what would become of her and her father.  One day, after receiving particularly bad news Garet, and walking aimlessly in the rain, came upon a little jewellery store, hidden deep within the city.  The store’s owner, a wizened old man, set Garet a challenge, to open a silver box, for which she would be richly rewarded.  Garet couldn’t overlook the opportunity she was being offered and accepted the offer readily, besides, how could she refuse to help this kindly(?) old man.  So, returning home, she set about the task of opening the box.  At first, it looked as though the challenge would prove too difficult, but Garet was special, more so than she realised, and in a blinding flash the box lid sprang open and for one brief moment everything was brilliant… but now Garet starts to see the world in a new way, shadows are not always what they seem, people are not always what they seem, there is menace within the fog and like Pandora’s box Garet will come to regret releasing that which was once sealed!!!  Time is ticking for Garet to learn what she must in order to restore things to normality.  Will she live happily ever after?

Okay, this is not a fairy story and actually it’s a sort of cross over novel – not totally YA.  Garet is 26 and as such is more experienced than some of the protagonists in YA stories.  I did like her.  She’s an artist and has been raised in a very artistic environment.  Her father has not always made the best decisions and some of those are going to come back to haunt them both when things start spiralling downwards after the box is opened.

I also liked her friends and family who play quite a large part in her life.  But, the overall winning element for this story is the writing – which I love!  And the setting – which is just great!

Along the way we have a lot of interesting characters and although normally I don’t live the idea of novels bringing in fictional characters from other novels it totally works in this novel – Oberon, Puck – I probably would have hated this anywhere else but not here.  And LOL is definitely my favourite – so little and feisty and also all wrapped up with historical characters like Shakespere.  Also, action virtually all the way.  And, fey, vampires – and dragons (yay)!!  I did really like the way that the alternative world is living along ours – the idea of Ignatius (did I spell that right?) with people queuing up to receive their punishments for misdemeanours – so good.

Now, criticisms, I thought it was a bit of a shame that such a tight timescale was set for the ‘putting back to rights’ of things.  I just thought this left the story with this desperate feel where everything had to happen at breakneck speed.  Okay, I see the reasoning behind the breakneck speed to give the story pace but it makes things a tad annoying. Learning fantastic abilities in the blink of an eye for example.  Okay, I’m not expecting 6 months intensive training in a gym (or fey reservation) but come on, one day for each element.  And then we have the romance with Will – we’re looking at a very short timescale here so it really is literally love at first sight, 24 hours later in actual fact.  I don’t know, call it me, but I would like these things to take a little longer – I know that’s old fashioned but there you go.  I’m a stickler for these thing.  Also, I’m not feeling the passion in this romance at the moment – it’s just like I’m being told it’s there so I’ll believe it but there isn’t a spark for me.  The thing is, when you make a romance so quick you miss out on the ‘will they won’t they?’ element which actually makes it more exciting to read or watch.  But, I don’t mind to an extent, I’m interested in the story not just the romance.

All that being said, I will definitely read the next book, soon.  In fact I’ve already read the first few chapters (because they were at the back of this book!) and they were pretty bloody good (sorry about the cursing).

so,

Rating: -A (Only got a minus because of speedy bits)

Black Swan Rising

Black Swan Rising

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