Marlene's Reviews > Carousel Tides

Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee
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Mar 01, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: ebook
Read from October 17 to 25, 2010 — I own a copy

I've been a fan of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller ever since I picked up my first Liaden novel, fifteen years ago. So I was happy to see Sharon Lee's solo novel, Carousel Tides.

Sharon Lee is deft at giving us lively, enjoyable characters, and this novel is no exception. From the first page, the cynical, self-deprecating heroine is a treat to read. She's funny, astute, torn, and full of foibles, just the way a good protagonist should be. Oh, and quite capable of kicking ass. Having a dose of fey blood always helps with fast healing.

The other characters don't shirk their duties, either. Each one is fully alive, with quirks and personality. Fortunately, I don't have to pick a favorite, but if I did, it just might be Bob, the café owner who makes lousy coffee. Nobody's perfect.

From the first time I heard about this book, I was fascinated. A carousel? In a tiny amusement park in an equally tiny town on the Maine coast? What a setting! And the idea that a carousel would be used by the fey (called Trenvay) as a prison for six of their most notorious criminals... let's just say I'm choosing my animal carefully the next time I get on a merry-go-round.

One of the best things about the book is the interwoven worlds – many of the crusty Maine villagers are really Trenvay – selkies, tree sprites, etc., (and let's not leave out the snallygasters, Black Dogs, and willie wisps), all a natural part of our world, but with the ability to interact with other worlds. We see all this through the eyes of Kate Archer, daughter of a tree sprite and a prince from the Land of Flowers. Not a full Trenvay, Kate is nevertheless Guardian of the Land in this little village, and she has an important job: keeping the wards in place so those six criminals don't escape to destroy the world.

Oh, and running the carousel during the summer season.

Kate has demons of her own to fight, and they rear up constantly to beat her down, along with the minions of a local drug runner, who is killing the land with his poison. Her grandmother has disappeared, and Kate soon learns that the evil mage who killed her father's family has come to our world, determined to take it over. With the help of the town's Trenvay population, Kate must gain enough power to destroy the mage, capture the drug runners, keep the prisoners in place, and heal the damaged land.

And get the carousel cleaned up for opening day.

Don't skip over this book. I highly recommend it.


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