Monday, 5 September 2011

Black Swan Rising Review

Black Swan Rising
- Lee Carroll
Publisher: UK - Bantam
When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is about to be turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, commissions her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to her by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe her luck and this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. . .
On the surface this book has many things to like about it - set in New York, Garet is a jewellery designer who's father runs an art gallery. Slowly, Garet becomes aware that things are not what they seem in Manhattan with Alchemist shops randomly appearing, and mysterious mists descending on the city driving people to despair. Only Garet can stop it as she discovers a hidden heritage that her mother was trying to shield her from. I don't want reveal spoilers as the creepy atmosphere at the start of the book was one of favourite elements. Firmly grounded in the real world at the start, this Urban Fantasy slowly introduces you to the differences between worlds while references to the recession and it's impact on luxury markets, like art & fashion makes Garet's reality as realistic as possible.

It is only as some of the more fantastical elements arrive that I noticed something didn't quite gel. For me the major part that didn't sit right was the love interest, Will Hughes. I never felt the attraction between him and Garet and I never understood why she trusted him so much so quickly considering his actions. This spoilt some of the story for me as the relationship is a big element in the plot and provides some conflict with other characters. This was a shame as so many of the other characters were great - I loved Garet's friends who were there for her and again grounded the action in the real world. Added to which the selection of people Garet meets in her quest were colourful and memorable - I loved Oberon, Lol and the others!

The writing was good and drew me in quickly creating a character out of New York with fog, buildings, Central Park and other elements all adding to the personality of the city. There is a a great mix of history as well as old world charm that makes the book feel quite timeless. I loved the references to famous historical characters which gave Black Swan Rising a real sense of history. However, I keep coming back to my lack of connection to Will Hughes and how much this interrupted the flow of the story for me. It's frustrating as otherwise I really would have loved this book! Overall, though this is a great introductory novel to a new series - and I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Watchtower soon. Hopefully, I connect with Will more - or there's less of him in it! :-)

Recommended for fans of Charlaine Harris and Lauren Kate. 7 out of 10


  1. I am looking forward to this one. I bought it ages ago. I love that it is set in New York.

  2. Perhaps perhaps, I did see a book at the library, I guess it was this one so that is good

  3. Great review- I love the sound of this! Added to the TBR!

  4. Well, the cover is gorgeous, but yeah, I'm not feeling that love interest. Sounds poorly developed and I need a guy I can swoon over or else what's the point. LOL

    But I am reading a Lauren Kate novel right now and loving it. :)

  5. I think with your review i will not read this one for now. But I really like the cover, thanks for your review !

  6. @Vivienne - I love books set in New York too - it's one of the few places in the US I've visited and I feel I can place where everything is happening!

    @Bloedeuedd - if you get it from the library, at least you can trial it! :)

    @Sally - I think you'll enjoy it! I loved the fae magic!

    @Missie - the cover is what made me buy it in the first place (I'm so easily persuaded by a pretty cover!). Which Lauren Kate are you reading...?

    @Melliane - sorry, it's not for you. Maybe the next one...? :)

  7. Getting the love interest wrong can really mess up a good book.

  8. Another new book to me. Sorry you didn't feel the love between the characters. And thank you for the great review. :)