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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll

Black Swan Rising (Black Swan Rising #1)Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: Received from the publishers via netgalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

26 year old Garet James is a young jewelry designer, moderately successful, who is coming home from a devastating meeting with the family lawyer regarding her father, their financial status, their gallery and home, when it starts to rain and she ducks into an alcove of an antiques shop. She steps inside for a look and is offered a commission of an exorbitant sum simply to open a lovely antique silver box that matches her family's signet ring, handed down to her from her mother. Given her current financial straits, she takes the odd request and takes the box home with her. When she opens it, a whole world previously unbeknownst to her awakens and with it, a threat to world.

Faeries. Brownies. Sylphs. Vampires. True friendship. Loss. A woman coming into her own powers. Romance. Beautiful imagery. It's all here.

This was a fun read for me. The pace was fluid. I could not tell that this was an author team, the narrative voice was that even. I was so happy early on in the book to have Garet's friends, Becky & Jay, immediately show concern over what happened to her and her father, to listen to Garet's story and believe her immediately without any doubt. It is tedious to read in novel after novel that the protagonist's best bosom buddy in the whole world thinks he/she is crazy.

The book moves from allusions to the fae, to a medieval alchemist (John Dee), to a vampire, to the fae and the facets of the fairy world (elementals, fairies, brownies, tricksters, goblins, etc.). Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" come to life...and yes the vampire was there for that. The description of the dark night and its facets of colors (deep indigos, purples, greys, blues, etc) was vivid and gorgeous. The claim that the fae have been inspiring artists for all time, plausible. The sympathy for Van Gogh (Starry Night is how he sees the night thanks to Otherworldly influence) I found touching. You have all these artists and writers throughout the ages that show the symbiotic nature of humans and the otherworld.

It seems like a lot all tossed in together, but it feels natural. Garet isn't your typical modern-day, leather wearing, kick ass female lead. She's...normal. And she takes her awakening to this other world bit by bit, piece by piece, and embraces it.

This is the first in a trilogy and I need to get the second book now.