Monday, 20 December 2010

Review: Black Swan Rising - Lee Carroll

Jeweller Garet James isn't the same as everyone else.  She just doesn't know it yet.

With her fair share of problems - money (lack of), an elderly father, a struggling business - Garet should be just like any other young, feisty, single New Yorker.  If only it was that simple...

It begins with the old silver box that had been soldered shut.  All Garet has to do is open it.  A favour for the frail owner of the antiques shop.  Who wouldn't help?

Only it's then that things start to change.  Garet doesn't notice at first, the shifts barely perceptible.  But the city in which she grew up is beginning to reveal a long-hidden side - darker, and altogether more dangerous; a parallel world of chaos, smoke and blood.

Now it's out of the box...and it has no intention of going back in.

Black Swan Trilogy:
Black Swan Rising
The Watchtower (4th August 2011)
I don't have any information on the 3rd book in the trilogy at this time

Lee Carroll is a pseudonym for novelist Carol Goodman and her husband poet Lee Slonimsky.  I couldn't find a separate website for the name Lee Carroll but you can find out more about Black Swan Rising on Carol Goodman's website.

Garet is a jewellery designer who helps her father run an art gallery in New York.  Due to some bad decisions her father has made they are in a lot of financial trouble and when there is a robbery at the gallery her father is top of the police suspect list.  Garet is sure her father is innocent but the question is can she prove it?  At the same time Garet is asked by the owner of an antiques store if she will open a silver box for him, thinking it is an easy way to earn some extra cash Garet agrees but little does she know that opening the box will have major consequences for her.

Black Swan Rising is the first book in a new urban fantasy trilogy that has the potential to become one of my favorites.  Garet is a smart & feisty character and one I found very likable but I did find myself getting frustrated with the way she was so easy to trust people she has only just met.  After doing a favour for someone and opening an antique silver box Garet discovers a whole new world that most of us have no idea exists alongside our own.  The parallel world is complex and Lee Carroll has done a wonderful job of infusing old and new along with fantasy and reality.  I loved the way some of the characters are ones we can recognise from history and the way the author has woven Shakespeare and famous artists into the story.

As the first book in a planned trilogy there is a lot of detailed world building going on, I loved the descriptions of both New York and the parallel fantasy world.  We are introduced to a host of interesting mythological characters and it is difficult to tell who is good and who is evil which made things interesting.  I found myself swinging backwards and forwards about some of the characters just as much as Garet was.  You could never be quite sure who or what Garet would be introduced to next and I loved some of the side characters we got to meet.

Although there is romance between Garet and Will this wasn't the main focus of the story and to be honest it felt a little rushed in places.  I liked Will but I was never sure whether he could be trusted or not and I wasn't particularly invested in their relationship.  I am curious to see what happens to them both in the future though & hope we get to see the romance develop more throughout the series.

My main complaint was that I found the amount of information given could be overwhelming at times.  Everything was described in great detail which was interesting and worked well most of the time but started to distract from the main storyline in places making me start to lose interest.  I also felt that things came a little too easy for Garet - she had to learn a lot about her abilities and it would have been more realistic if she had found it harder to get to grips with things.  In spite of that I still felt Black Swan Rising was a promising start to a new series and I'm looking forward to reading more of this world.

Source: Received for review from Transworld Publishers in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. Sounds good! added it to my TBR pile! Thanks for the review.


  2. I really enjoyed this one too and can't wait to see what happens in the next book! Great review :)

  3. @ Selfcentered - I'm glad you like the sound of this one, I'd definitely recommend it :o)

    @ Chrissie - I'm so glad you like this one too :o) Have you posted a review? I'll have to add your link if you did. I can't wait to get my hands on The Watchtower!!

  4. This one sounds really good, one for this wishlist! Thanks for the great review :)

  5. Hi Clover, I'd definitely recommend this one. The world building & descriptions were fab & I'm looking forward to reading the next installment!



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