Saturday, March 12, 2011

Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee

Urban Fantasy…
Hummm, This is the first book of this genre that I have read.
Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
Carousel Tides pulls you into the chill foggy reality of peeling-paint sand-grit coastal Maine outside of tourist season and then hands you something else — the hidden world lurking in shadows or under the land’s surface or just offshore, where Black Dogs hunt the night and selkies toss unpleasant truths over their shoulders before diving into the next wave.  In the center of this, Kate Archer tends and guards one of the spookiest carousels this side of Ray Bradbury and wonders what has happened to her grandmother.  The old woman sent her a letter, left papers deeding over the carousel and old house and the Land (meaning much more than property), and vanished, telling the spirits of the land and sea that she expected to be back before the turning of the year.
“Now March has come and gone and Kate must return from self-exile to take up powers and responsibilities she has renounced, or dying will be the least of her problems . . .
“Sharon Lee weaves fantasy into reality so deftly that you scarcely notice when you slip across the edge.  And once you’re there, the story’s own magic won’t let you turn back from the strong characters, deep mysteries, and even deeper danger.”
James A. Hetley, author of Dragon’s Eye, Dragon’s Teeth, and Dragon’s Bones.
As the book begins you find that Kate is ill or dying and she has left home for some unknown reason.  Her Grandmother is missing.  She is responsible for a carousel in an amusement park and also some land, that is more than land…
A great beginning with tons of mystery.  It captured my imagination, especially the carousel.  Borgan a new man in Kate’s hometown is an interesting character and I would have liked to know more about him. (Maybe in a sequel??)
There is some sexual chemistry between Kate and Borgan and I would have liked to have seen that explored more.  As the story progresses you find that Kate has been the victim of sexual abuse.  The abuse is described in a subtle manner and I felt it was handled quite tastefully (if that is possible).  I had difficulty with Kate accepting Borgan’s advances without considering her history of abuse.  Her character didn’t appear to be affected by the abuse.  Other reviews have criticized the character development of Kate and I have to agree.  She just didn’t have much dimension.  I wanted to care about her more than I did.
I did love the idea and fantasy of the carousel characters, especially the Batwing horse!   The descriptions of Maine made me want to visit the area.
The plot was interesting and overall I liked this book.  I would give it to a friend to read.  I think I will continue to investigate the “urban fantasy” books in the future.
My other complaint, which I find happens all to often with books I have read recently, is that the climax and ending seemed to rush to the conclusion.  I wanted more.  More Borgan, more about her Mother and Grandmother and Mr. Ignat.
Maybe that is a call for a sequel!?

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