Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll

Black Swan Rising is the first book in a dark urban fantasy series. It’s written by a husband and wife team, which seems to work in its favour. Carol is the novelist, and Lee is a poet, and his influence shows in the writing.

The main character, Garet Jones, is in her 20s, and dealing with problems – she has an elderly father, and they are struggling with debts in a failing economy. When she discovers an unusual silver box to which she seems to have connections, she agrees to try to open it. From this point on, she starts to find her world shifting. She’s introduced to the world of fey, meets goblins, a dragon and a vampire, and comes face to face with the demons of Dispair and Discord.

As a keen YA reader, I expected this to be similar to most other paranormal romance books out there, but it has a more adult feel to it. There is a lot of fantasy, and yet at the same time it seems to remain grounded in the real world. Garet takes time to come to terms with her discoveries, and she takes the reader with her. In addition, the characters aren’t black and white – there’s always that sense that some may not be what they seem, and should not be trusted.

Of course some of the ideas and characters have been done before, I think a totally unique book in this crowded genre is impossible. However, the overall story line is something I haven’t come across before, and there are some great character creations.

It’s a fast paced book, with plenty of details, story threads and characters throughout. Whilst I needed to know what would happen, I was sad to finish and leave the world. Thankfully the 2nd book is already published, so I will be returning soon.

For fans of urban fantasy, this is highly recommended.

Black Swan Rising is published by Bantam, and was sent to me as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge.

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