Book Review: Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll

Black Swan Rising by Lee CarrollThis was the third book I read for the Transworld Group Reading Challenge. I was particularly attracted by the beautiful cover (I often base my decision to read a book on its cover, and it often works!).

It does look a little YA (nothing wrong with that, but I only read dystopian YA, normally), but the protagonist is well in her twenties, so that sounded “safe”.

Black Swan Rising: What it is about

Garet James, a jewellery maker runs an art gallery with her elderly father. One day, when she’s stuck in bad weather, she shelters in an antiques shop, where the kind owner shows her a silver box. Knowing that she is a jewellery maker, he asks her whether she could try and open it for him, as it’s been sealed shut.

Garet takes the box home and manages to open it. She find some odd moving shapes inside. Unknown to her, she has released demons from the other world, who, together with the antiques shop owner, try to take over the world.

Soon, she meets a vampire and other otherworldly creatures who teach her skills so she can deal with the demons because it turns out she is an essential part of the events. Will she be able to close the box again so peace returns to the world?

Black Swan Rising: What I thought

Oh, what a beautiful beginning! There was mist, an old antiques shop, a mysterious box… this was all very promising.

And the book wasn’t bad. But I’m not normally an urban fantasy reader and I found it a bit hard to get my head round all that happened. All those different creatures that came to life (or people that turned out to be not what they seemed)!

After a while, I didn’t find the book very believable anymore. I’m not above accepting a vampire here or there or statues that come to life, but I found that Garet was rather accepting of what was happening around her. I would have like to see some more disbelief and bewilderment from her.

Garet is sent to see several different creatures to be taught superhuman skills. Again, it was rather unbelievable how quickly she mastered these. In some cases it was a matter of trying once or twice and that was it.

And finally, I wasn’t too concerned with New York being burned down. Although I live far, far, away, I would have been more concerned if the book had built up to a big disaster. Maybe it did, but not strongly enough for me.

It did have a bit of a YA feel to it, as I thought it might have. This was probably because Garet was very young in the eyes of the immortal creatures and the fact that she was a novice in supernatural powers. I think this definitely is a good book for YA readers as well as adults.

I think urban fantasy fans will love this book. I liked it and was keen to read until the end. But I didn’t believe it.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I got this book: from Transworld Publishers (Black Swan) in their Group Reading Challenge

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 448

First published: 2010

Genre: urban fantasy

Extras: There is a sequel, The Watchtower, that came out last month

I'm Part of the Transworld Book Group!

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

23 Responses to Book Review: Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll

  1. JannyAn says:

    I do agree, the cover is beautiful. This title was one of my choices in the Transworld Book Challenge as well. And, also three stars. Enjoyed reading the book though.

  2. Louise says:

    This was my 3rd book in the challenge, I chose it because of the cover and the blurb did catch me. I liked it but there was something missing, at times it felt a little put together and I think that was due to the two writers. I didn’t believe it, but it was good to escape for a while 😉

    • Leeswammes says:

      I didn’t believe it either, Louise, but yes, a good escape. I didn’t notice that it was put together like you did, I didn’t feel I was reading two writers although I didn’t always think the storyline was very strong.

  3. Cindy says:

    Nope, I prefer reality to fantasy 🙂

  4. I read the book too and actually, I didn’t enjoy it. In the beginning, I tought, this is going to be a nice read, but when the first strange creature appeared, it was enough for me. It’ unbelievable, like you say! 😉 But I konw urban fantasy fans an other YA would love this story!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Such a pity you didn’t like it Katrien! It was OK for me, but I can understand why some people wouldn’t like it. Maybe urban fantasy is not your thing, it’s not really mine, I think.

  5. Nikki-ann says:

    I really enjoyed Black Swan Rising, but then I’m an urban fantasy fan, so it’s more up my street. The cover does look a little YA, doesn’t it?

    I’m just about to start my 3rd book for the Transworld Challenge – Death Sentence by Mikkel Birkegaard.

    • Leeswammes says:

      My final book with Transworld is also a crime novel, Nikki-ann. A book by Lisa Marklund.

      Did you not choose Black Swan Rising? Or is that your final book? Given that you like urban fantasy.

  6. I have probably already mentioned that I am also taking part in the Transworld Challenge, in fact I finished my first title today so rather behind you, but postage to Italy was rather slow.

    I had thought about picking this title but am rather relieved that I did not do so having read your review, as neither urban fantasy or YA are my scene.

    • Leeswammes says:

      LindyLou, glad you have at least received the first book – a pity it’s so slow for you. This time it’s OK for me, just over a week, but last year I had a book that took over 3 weeks to swim Channel!

  7. Amy says:

    I like the cover of this book and loved the main character’s unique name, how she hid out in an antiques store (love them), loved the silver box Garet took home but once she opened the box and released demons that was it for me! I don’t care for urban fantasy, paranormal etc. That’s just me.

    I’m glad this book wasn’t a waste for you. I did enjoy your review, too :o)
    Thanks Judith.

  8. shelleyrae@ Book'd Out says:

    Hmm I enjoy urban fantasy but prefer more mature characters so given your review I am not too sure about this one. Thanks for sharing though


  9. Marg says:

    I didn’t realise that there was a sequel out. I generally enjoy Carol Goodman’s books but I am not sure I want to read this one!

  10. Tes says:

    I grew to love fantasy novels for the past few years. I have never read this book yet, but I am not sure I am going to be interested to read it after reading your review 🙂

  11. Nadine Nys says:

    The cover of this book is misleading, I think, Judith. I would have thought it would have been a dreamy romance story, but apparently, that is not the case. I am not sure I want to read this.

  12. Pingback: The Watchtower by Lee Carroll « Book Monkey

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