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Troubled Waters (Elemental Blessings #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  4,652 ratings  ·  488 reviews
National bestselling author Sharon Shinn introduces a rich new fantasy world, one in which people believe that five essential elements rule all things and guide their lives.
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Ace Books (first published May 10th 2010)
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Anna I think the whole book is a romance, right from the start. In a way, fairly traditionally, they meet and don't hit it off. They keep meeting and don't…moreI think the whole book is a romance, right from the start. In a way, fairly traditionally, they meet and don't hit it off. They keep meeting and don't trust each other, then eventually (inevitably?) they realize how much they mean to each other and how well suited they are for each other despite their differing natures.

Having said all that, (which seems kind of insulting as I re-read it) I really enjoy this book and have re-read it a number of times. I really enjoy Zoe's journey, love the world building and the whole idea of the random blessings in the temple.

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
It's always risky for me to reread a book. As I grow older, I find that my tastes have changed, and even more so, I find myself becoming increasingly more critical of certain elements in books. I usually do not reread books, but recently, a friend asked me for YA high fantasy recommendations, and I remember enjoying this book when I first read it, 3 years ago. Thus, I decided to revisit this book, to see if it was as good as I remembered, because if I'm going to recommend it to my friend, I bett ...more
Tadiana ♕Part-Time Dictator♕
This is a really lovely high fantasy novel; I liked it almost as much as my favorite (so far) Sharon Shinn book, Summers at Castle Auburn. Zoe is the daughter of a once-powerful man in the kingdom of Wence, who has been in hiding in a small village for ten years after falling from the king's favor. As the story begins, Zoe's father has just died, and the king's closest advisor, Darien Serlast, arrives in town with the announcement that Zoe has been chosen as the king's fifth wife. Zoe, numb with ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Although I liked Archangel, I believe Troubled Waters has been the last Sharon Shinn novel for me. At the moment new authors sprout out of the ground like grass - or nettles - so it relieves me a great deal to cross one off my observation list. I know that this decision is probably a harsh one after just one and a half tries, especially since Troubled Waters is not a bad story.

There is nothing blatantly wrong with the writing or the characters or the setting. Really. It is rather the other way
Olga Godim
I love Sharon Shinn. She has done it again. She created a new world, a new highway to multiple sagas, and a new unforgettable heroine.
Numb with grief, Zoe just lost her father, a former adviser to royalty, banished from court ten years ago. When a young nobleman Darien arrives in Zoe’s village to take her back to the capital, the girl doesn’t resist, even when she learns that she is to become the fifth bride of the king.
At first, she seems passive and docile, an unlikely protagonist. She follo
It takes only one line of a Sharon Shinn novel to hook me. Ever since reading Archangel earlier last year, I've known that Shinn was an author I'd be re-visiting; an author whose backlog I'd be pouring through dutifully and savoring as the years pased by. While I enjoyed Archangel immensely, the distasteful covers of the entire Samaria Series prevented me from picking them off the shelves of my library. A shameful excuse, I know. Shinn, and the genre of Adult Fantasy, in fact, had dropped off my ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2010 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shinn Fans
Shelves: fantasy
Zoe Ardelay was born to an affluent family, but her mother died and her father was banished from court for some undefined offense. Just after reaching adulthood, her father dies and Darien Serlast comes from the capitol, to take her to court to be the king's fifth wife. Complications ensue, magic abilities are discovered, and Zoe learns more about her family than she ever thought.

I approached this book with some trepidation. For the most part, I enjoy Shinn's novels, but every once in a while, s
Rachel Neumeier
My top three Sharon Shinn books? At the moment, that would be THE SHAPECHANGER'S WIFE, THE TRUTH TELLER'S TALE, and now TROUBLED WATERS.

If you love Patricia McKillip, then you should definitely read THE SHAPECHANGER'S WIFE. If you love YA fantasy, you should definitely read THE TRUTH-TELLER'S TALE. And if you love peaceful, flowing, beautifully written fantasy that doesn't rush you along too fast and lets you enjoy your stay in a charming non-gritty world? Well, then, hey, TROUBLED WATERS.

I was
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Indeed, in ancient days, when people first identified themselves by their five intrinsic traits, it was believed that men and women were blessed with distinct and complementary strenghts. Men were known by the elementals - air, water, wood, earth and fire. Women claimed the corporeal - soul, blood, bone, flesh, mind.

An easy-reading book, perfect for the beach. GR recommended Sharon Shinn's books if you are a fan of Juliet Marilier, and although I can see why, it's not quite in the same league. T
Anne Osterlund
Zoe’s father is dead. She is left alone, in exile, with no real idea of why.
Then Darian Serlast, the king’s adviser, arrives at her door.
With knowledge.
And a directive to return Zoe to the capital so that she can marry the king.
But Zoe has more to learn and accomplish than how to negotiate the role of the king’s fifth wife.

Loved this! Reminiscent of Sharon Shinn’s earlier novels, Troubled Waters is a fairy tale fantasy full of royal secrets, betrayal, romance, and one very headstrong—and powerfu
Sonja Arlow
Having just finished a novel about a wife beating sociopath I was in desperate need of some light reading and this book was perfect for that purpose.

The City of Chialto was described in wonderful detail, as was the belief that people's lives are based around the five elements and random blessings.

The main character, Zoe Ardelay, raised by her father in exile and growing up in a small village far from court intrigues, needs to overcome a lot of obstacles to find her place as the head of one of th
I was finished with this novel hours ago, but it took me some time to gather my thoughts and recover from the major disappointment that this book was for me.
Don't get me wrong, for the first half, I thought I had hit jackpot. This book had all the makings of an epic tale; a versatile, sympathetic heroine, interesting characters and powers, mystery, intrigue, a fascinating journey and political system, strange rituals and an amazing potential love interest. The whole deal about blessings was so f
Zoe is a coru woman, which means she has an affinity to water and blood, and the traits associated with it. But Zoe is different: water comes when she calls.

Zoe's father was the king's closest advisor, but ten years ago was exiled from court, and took his young daughter with him to live in a small village. At the opening of TROUBLED WATERS, Zoe finds herself an orphan; the day after the funeral, the king's advisor, Darien Serlast, comes to collect her to become the king's fifth wife.

With nothing
Celise Winters
Please click here to read my full review!

This was the perfect book! Lately, most of the books I've been reading have a bad case of insta-love. Basically where it's love at first sight. So, awhile ago I went book hunting through the web, and found Troubled Waters, a book that claimed to be not insta-love. But, it was so much more than that.

I've always loved books where the heroines are able to control a certain element. I don't know why. Maybe it's because when I was little, I was obsessed with S
I generally like reading the kind of escapist fairy tale type setting books that Sharon Shinn writes, wheres she creates whole new worlds and belief systems. I was quite intrigued at the beginning of the book, with Zoe's solitary existence coming to an end and the possibility of her being thrust into an exciting new world. I also liked the world building of the novel with the concept of each person belonging to one of the elements, and the traits associated with each.

However the novel lags too m
I really liked Shinn's angels series, and this appears to be a good follow up. It's a fairly traditional fantasy with some elements of romance fiction. The heroine is interesting and likable, and the story is enjoyable. Recommended for a fast, entertaining read that isn't too demanding.

Now that I've finished it (like I said, fast read) I have to say that I am a little disappointed with the ending, and with the last third or so of the book. The ending isn't really an ending at all. I have no ide
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Proffitt
I think I waited too long to review this, because while I remember it well enough, I can't remember some of what I thought about it. So--I liked the characters, I was very interested in the elemental magic system, and the story was engaging. I wished there could have been more about the magic--this is not the fault of the book, there wasn't any way to do that without killing the story. The main flaw, as I see it, is that there's not a lot of conflict. I kept waiting for something to happen, and ...more
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
LIKES: the elemental religious system -- with the blessings at birth, and the 'random' blessings -- very cool; i liked both the freedom and the societal strictures

DISLIKES: well, the fact that this isn't a full-blown series (yet??); i'd have liked a little more meat; the cover

this is about halfway between pop lit and hard-cord fantasy fiction, with a dollop of romance and glob of intrigue; it's similar to shinn's Mystic and Rider ( the 12 houses series)

cleanreads -- this one's a solid, unobject
I tried really hard to enjoy this book, and it failed to be compelling enough to do so. My biggest annoyance by far was its utter refusal to explain anything at all. The author made a half-hearted attempt to remove some confusion in an appendix after the book finished, but that was too little, too late. The story made some very surprising turns, and I seriously doubt I will read the next in the series.
Re-read January 2015

Still love this a lot, although this time I think the rest of the book worked better for me than the ending!

And I got my sequel! (That I just started last night.) Oooh, and GoodReads is listing a third book. Yes!

Original review

Ahhhhh. This one of those books where it took me forever to get through the first half and then I didn't want to put it down! Zoe's an awesome character. And the romance ends up being lovely and wonderful! The world is really interesting and refreshing.
This book is so hard to rate! For now, 3.5 stars for a slow beginning, wonderful middle, and a somewhat contrived end. The romance was sweet, though the characters were a bit wooden after some time. More detailed review coming.
I really enjoyed this one. Shinn's created an interesting world based on balance and harmony using different elements and spiritual components. I could potentially see where it might become tedious for some readers to subscribe to the constant reference of being a coru (water) woman or sweela (fire) man, etc. but I found it utterly enchanting. Zoe is a heroine to root for and I loved following her story. Although the plot became a bit weak toward the end, I absolutely loved the ending itself, ah ...more
10.5.2015 - 4,5*
Tahle kniha si ode mě zaslouží vysoké hodnocení z jednoho prostého důvodu - je zatraceně dobře napsaná. Je to chytrá, "dospělá" fantasy, která se netočí kolem zaláskovaného srdíčka ani vztahů ani "nečekané" záchrany světa pomocí nově nalezených super-nečekaných nadčlověk-schopností. Ani ničeho podobného. Je to prostě příběh. Troubled Waters není žádná fantasy romance. Není to však ani klasická fantasy, kde je magie další zbraní a válčí se bojuje a intrikuje. I když, intriky tam b
Shinn is a very good writer, creating convincing worlds and likeable characters. I liked how the story focused more on the main character's arc of self-discovery than on the developing romance. I also liked how the romance was respectful and mature. However...the repetition of what it means to be "blessed" with one of the four elements, and what that does to form one's character got a bit irksome. I think if I lived in that world I would have had raging fits every time anyone presumed to know me ...more
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
View the full review here:

Perhaps the most important part of an epic fantasy novel is the complexity and thoroughness of the world-building. Troubled Waters is the type of novel that completely excels in that department, giving readers a world that is accessible, tangible and powerful. Every element within the novel is thought out, well-crafted and offers us more than just the basics. From class divisions, to magic, to alternate realities, Troubled Waters
Danielle Ste. Just
A Charming World With Surprising Details

This might be my favorite world-building by Sharon Shinn. Although I enjoyed the Twelve Houses series more as a series, this one held my attention just as much by Shinn's meticulous world-building and ability to harness those details to inform her plot and character motivation.

Many chapters--one may almost describe them as interludes--had a dreamy, watery quality well suited to the characters and plot. However, Shinn maintains interest by keeping the ultim
Blodeuedd Finland
I did expect more, oh expectations, you be evil. It's just that, I had heard Shinn was good, and yes she was good. It was a fun, silly, cheesy book, but it never became more than that. I expected fantasy, I did not feel I got fantasy, maybe fantasy romance then? Nope, not even that, instead I got Shopaholic in a fantasy land.

It's about Zoe, the girl who like the stream just moves along. Hey, dad is dead, marry the king! Ok...

Look an open door, run away..

See, the stream. Her personality comes
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 25, 2015 08:35AM  
What's The Name o...: Character called The Prime controls water [s] 4 122 Sep 30, 2013 07:38PM  
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I’ve been writing stories and poems since I was eight years old. My first poem was about Halloween: "What is tonight? What is tonight?/Try to guess and you’ll guess right." Perhaps this inauspicious beginning explains why it took me till I was in my thirties to sell a novel. It occurred to me early on that it might take some time and a lot of tries before I was able to publish any of my creative w ...more
More about Sharon Shinn...

Other Books in the Series

Elemental Blessings (3 books)
  • Royal Airs (Elemental Blessings, #2)
  • Jeweled Fire (Elemental Blessings, #3)
Summers at Castle Auburn Archangel (Samaria, #1) Mystic and Rider (Twelve Houses, #1) Jovah's Angel (Samaria, #2) Reader and Raelynx (Twelve Houses, #4)

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“it was as if that long-healed wound was raw again; all the complex memories crowded once more to the forefront of her mind. An old despair should not feel so new, but a new despair could haul an old one out of hiding.” 0 likes
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