When we first meet Garet James at the beginning of Black Swan Rising, she has just been given the bad news that her father has managed to drum up a veWhen we first meet Garet James at the beginning of Black Swan Rising, she has just been given the bad news that her father has managed to drum up a very large debt and that if they are not able to pay it back then they will lose their home and business to the bank. She is obviously distraught by this information and knows that it will be up to her to try to make the payments. Whilst she is wondering around on the streets of New York thinking about her problems, it suddenly starts raining and she has to take shelter in the doorway of an antiques shop. It is at this shop that she meets John Dee, a frail old man who asks for her help in opening a silver box that has been soldered shut. She manages to open the box, but that night her home is broken into and several valuable paintings are stolen, along with the silver box.
Garet starts to investigate who is behind the break in, but she also manages to find out more than she bargained for about her family heritage and the person that she is meant to become. She comes from a line of Guardians that must protect humans from all kinds of evil that before now she never even knew existed. Garet then goes on a journey to discover what sort of powers she possesses to help her with the task she must carry out and the types of evil that she must stand against.
I really enjoyed reading this novel which is actually written by husband and wife writing duo, Carol Goodman and Lee Slonimsky. Garet is a great main character who is instantly likeable and relatable. At the start of the novel she is overwhelmed by so many problems and it is a testament to her strength that she does not allow these setbacks to bring her down. Also, the problems that she does face (eg, financial problems in the face of an economic downturn) is something that I think most people would be able to identify with to a certain degree in this day and age.
There is a cast of great supporting characters, including Jay and Becky (her best friends) and her father, Roman. They are all there to offer Garet support when she needs it, especially Jay who has been friends with Garet since childhood but who is secretly in love with her. I would have liked to have seen more of Jay in the story. I felt like he was pretty much ignored by Garet, even after she found out that he has been head over heels in love with her for many years and I felt very sorry for him.
But as much as I loved these human characters, my favourites were definitely the more supernatural characters of the bunch. In particular I loved Lol, a small fey who takes to following Garet around, helping her when she gets into trouble and guiding her when she is unsure of what to do. Oberon, the King of the Fairies also has a fairly major role and Garet embarks on a love affair with Will who is a vampire. John Dee, the apparently frail antique shop owner, just happens to be a powerful magician who needs the box to be opened so that he can use its powers for his own evil agenda. In fact, what held me in suspense for most of the novel is that most of the supernatural creatures need this box for one reason or another and it is difficult for Garet (and the reader) to know who is genuinely trying to help Garet and who is using her just to get hold of this box. Just as I thought I knew who could be trusted, the authors would throw in a conversation that had me doubting myself, and this helps to produce some very good twists and turns throughout the novel.
The storyline moves along at a good pace, with a nice introduction at the beginning to set the scene before launching the reader headlong into the action. This is a novel that has romance, suspense, mystery and paranormal creatures galore and I really can’t wait until the next book in the series is released....more