Monday, 3 October 2011

Guest Review: Black Swan Rising

Today I have Sarah stopping by to review her second book from Transworld's Book Group - and a book I reviewed last month. If you're curious about my review check it out here and then compare against Sarah's thoughts! :-)

Black Swan Rising - Lee Carroll
Publisher: Bantam Books

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. . .

So, my second Transworld review, and a book much more in keeping with mine and Mel's usual genre - Urban Fantasy.  Eagle-eyed viewers may remember that Mel has herself reviewed this book already (in early September) so this is kind of a long-distance dual review!  To remind you, Black Swan Rising stars Garet (I never worked out how you were supposed to pronounce her name - GAR-et, GA-ret, Gar-REET etc), a New York jeweller who discovers the supernatural side to the world she lives in, and her very significant part in it.

Like Mel, I loved the beginning of this book - the supernatural side to Manhattan is only slowly and tantalisingly revealed with a genuine sense of other-world-ness.  The creatures you meet may appear human, but human they are not, and whilst they may be on Garet's side, that does not mean they do not have their own agenda, or are not capable of frightening her (and us!).

Having only very recently been to New York I loved the set-pieces throughout the novel, and the historical tie-ins are both very clever and very engaging (what's not to love about a supposedly senial man saying he's been visited by a long-dead famous painter, only for that painter's particular blend of colours to end up on the man's hospital bed sheets?!). However, I am very much in agreement with Mel about the love-interest, Will Hughes.  How Garet had can trust him so implicity, so quickly, I do not know.  And when she almost loses her humanity to him no mention is ever made of it again, let alone repurcusions for Will who really should have known better!

That aside there is plenty of scope for further novels (especially if they feature Lol, my favourite character by a country mile), and like Mel I will definitely pick up the sequel at some point, 7 out of 10.


  1. I have this one on my shelf. It sounds interesting, but yet something is definitely missing by reading both your reviews. Hmm, one day I'll get to this and see for myself.

  2. Isn't it great when historical tie-ins work at engaging the reader rather than boring them?! This one certainly seems to have hit the mark. Thanks for the review. :)

  3. My friend read this one recently and she's been raving about it. It's one that I really need to read, great review!

  4. How did I miss Mel's review. I fail bad. :(

    However, I read it now and both of you really have me thinking on this one. Love the descriptions of the costumes. I really need to check out more of their books. You both have found some gems!

  5. I think I saw it at the library, or was it another by the author? Anyway, I'd give it a go

  6. Very nice review! :) And sounds like an interesting read. Hope you enjoy the next book, and look forward to the reviews on it. :)