Black Swan Rising
by Lee Carroll
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765325976
Date: 03 August 2010 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
New York City jewelry designer Garet James walks into a ye olde curio shop and the owner John Dee notices the swan design on her ring is identical to that on an antique silver box that he cannot open. He commissions her to open the box.
Shortly after she does, three males with no whites in their eyes enter her apartment. They take the box and shot her father. Her father tells her they are demons who tried to take him over. Garet returns to the store, but it is locked and looks like it has been unused for years.
Garet sees a picture of billionaire Will Hughes who has the same swan design on the arch of his house as that of the ring and box. When they meet, he explains she is a watchtower, a guardian against evil; she stands between two worlds of the seen and the mystic. He tells her he is tracking the demons Despair and Discord. Will wants to prevent them from spreading their malevolence worldwide. He asks her to meet King Oberon of the fairies and some elementals who give Garet some additional power so she can track down Dee and the box.
Black Swan Rising is at its best due to the heroine as she goes from mundane designer to seeing (and through her the readers do too) the fey walking the streets of Manhattan and the Bronx. Garet adapts easily, perhaps too fast, to her change in outlook as she meets demons, elementals and others. The key is the support cast of characters that Garet encounters like an air sprite, a mermaid, a dragon, and a gnome; as they all seem real while living amidst yet separately from the humans of New York City.
Garet and Will fall in love as they have done in past lives when they are on the mortal plane; yet something always interferes with them being together (affirming Einstein's theory of insanity). Although in some ways there are too many paranormal elements, Lee Carroll blends them together as the story crosses High Noon with "The Gift of the Magi" updated to the twenty-first century with a lot of lot of Margie sprinkled slowly into the mix. This is urban fantasy at its very best.