Black Swan Rising
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Bantam Press
UK Release date: November 2010
Genre: Urban paranormal
Garet and her elderly father are in serious money trouble. When she is given a silver box with the same swan on it as the ring given to her by her mother, things worsen and her father ends up in hospital. Garet soon realises she is part of a world she never knew existed.
Review: Garet is a pretty normal young woman, struggling to make ends meet running the art gallery and selling her jewellery designs in the midst of a recession. She's someone I easily related to, as she knows nothing of the Faerie and elemental world that she has been born to watch over. Although I feel like I shouldn't, I like the fact that she falls for the mysterious vampire Will Hughes. She knows she can't trust him but Garet still can't help wanting him, and think at some point we all do it and for me it makes her more human and real.
I love the New York setting for this book, as Garet travels around the city meeting elementals and picking up food. (For some reason, I love food in books). The setting becomes even more atmospheric when the mysterious fog rolls in, covering the streets and hiding Dee's summoned demons.
The cast of characters encompasses a number of different elementals and faerie characters, and it almost feels like A Midsummer's Night Dream has popped up in the middle of New York. Lol, the little fire fairy, is one of my favourite secondary characters as she is so sweet even without understanding what she says. The one character that needed expanding is the evil alchemist Dee. He has been behind atrocities for hundreds of years, but I still don’t feel I know enough about him or what motivates him.
There were lots of plot twists and plenty of secondary characters tying into Garet’s story and history. Sometimes this got confusing and I didn’t fully understand the bigger picture of the watchtowers, guardians and the black swans. Where as the first half of the book was really strong, intriguing and atmospheric, the second half was overfilled with plot and background details. Despite this niggle, I would still be interested in reading the rest of the series as I really enjoyed Lee Carroll’s [novelist Carol Goodman and husband poet Lee Slonimsky] writing style which flowed well.
Beautifully written, Black Swan Rising is the start of a promising urban fantasy trilogy.