Author: Lee Carroll
Series: Black Swan Rising #1
Published: 3rd August 2010 by Tor Books
Length: 400 pages
Warnings: one non-graphic two paragraph sex scene, vampires, fairies.
Other info: Lee Carroll is actually two people-Carol Goodman and her husband Lee Slonimsky. Book 2, the Watchtower, was published earlier in the year
Summary : New York jeweller Garet James has her fair share of problems: money, an elderly father, a struggling business. One day she comes across an antiques shop she’d never noticed before. The owner possesses an old silver box that’s been sealed shut. Would she help an old man and open it, perhaps? She does...and that night strange things begin to happen. It’s as if her world – our world – has shifted slightly, revealing another, parallel place that co-exists without our knowledge: the world of the Fey…
Garet learns that one of her ancestors was 'the Watchtower': an immortal chosen to stand guard over the human and the fey worlds – a role that she has, it seems, inherited from her mother. But the equilibrium between these two existences is under threat. The 16th-century magician and necromancer Dr John Dee has returned, the box has been opened and the demons of Despair and Discord released. In a race against time and impending apocalypse, it is Garet who must find Dee...and close the box.
Review: Garet James opens a box that had been soldered shut for an old man. She doesn't think anything of it. Why should she? But then her gallery is broken into, her father is shot, she meets Oberon, King of the fairies, and is told that that old man is John Dee, opening the box in order to summon Despair and Discord to the world. As well as this, she meets vampire Will Hughes, and falls in love with him.
It all starts very quickly. We don't get much introduction to Garet-we learn more about her and her history as we progress through the story.
I like the many twists and turns throughout the story. The action doesn't seem to slow down, it kept going on and on.
I liked the huge range of characters in this-vampires, fairies, dragons, demons, mermaids and gnomes. I especially liked the little fire fairy Lol. However I didn't like the fact that after some of the characters had been introduced, they didn't seem to come up again. Hopefully the things they did will be relevant and they themselves will crop up again in the sequel.
The romance in itwas your typical vampire human relatoinship with the added bonus that quite a bit of blood was shared (it's annoying when a vampire falls in love with a human but doesn't drink his/her blood.) It got a bit confusing though when towards the end Madame Dufray was brought in. It was suggested that, in a past life, Garet wasMadame Dufray. However this wasn't properly explored or explained, and I'd like to read more about Will and his past interactions inthe sequel, The Watchtower.
It's in first person, Garet's POV, and we got a good idea of how she feels.
My favourite thing about this is how everything cleverly fits together regarding the relationships, even if it wasn't very well explained.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a book that mixes up various different fantasy elements in an interesting way.