Book Review: Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll
September 16, 2011 23 Comments
This 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