Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll | Urban Fantasy Fey Story set in New York City

Black Swan Rising
(Black Swan Rising #1)
Lee Carroll
Genres: Supernatural, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Publication Date: 25th November 2010
Number of Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley

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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: parallel world of chaos, smoke and blood.
And now it's out of the box...and it has no intention of going back in.

Garet James thinks she’s a normal 20 year old but she’s really a Watchtower, one of the four fey protectors of the universe! When Garet enters a watchmakers shop one day and acquires a silver box matching her mother’s swan engraved ring, events begin to happen which turn her life upside down: A group of suspicious burglars shoot her father, putting him in the hospital, and steal some of the expensive paintings from his gallery; a mysterious mist covers New York causing everyone to go a little ‘mad’; and Garet starts to see people for what they really are… the fey. With the help of Oberon, her father’s nurse and the King of the Fairies, aiding her to discover her true identity, ancestral heritage and powers, Garet soon learns about the evil alchemist John Dee who is set on releasing the demons Despair and Discord on NYC.

I’d been reading a lot of Young Adult books before reading Black Swan Rising and this was one of the reasons I picked it up as I knew it was more of an adult read. The beginning of the book felt slow but I related this to the adult and descriptive writing style which I had not experienced for such a long time. However, elements of the vast world-building of the fey and the villain, John Dee, also contributed to this ‘slow feeling’ because aspects of the history, the explanations of alchemy and the New York setting went over my head. I even had to google some of the history of alchemy to understand some of the world-building. Some elements of the story I did like however were the references to England and William Shakespeare which I was able to relate to and grasp a little better. However I also struggled to fully understand some of these references but I’m not an English Literature graduate or classical reader - Maybe this was a sign I need to increase my knowledge :-)

Overall, Black Swan Rising was more enjoyable the further I got into the story however my feelings are it had all the ‘right elements’ but never quite excelled. I enjoyed the introduction of Will Hughes’ character and, although the romance element was all a bit ‘blah’, I do hope to learn more about Will and his family’s heritage as well as how he and Garet develop their friendship/family connection/romance relationship. Certainly from the ending, it looks like this may be a major plot within book 2 which I will be picking up and continuing with shortly.

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