Black Swan Rising

Black Swan Rising - Lee  Carroll, Carol Goodman Garret James is an ordinary New Yorker, with a very complicated lineage. On a day out, Garret stumbles upon Lee, the proprietor of a weird store. Lee is not interested in her ability to make jewelery but he does request that she open a silver box for him. Like Pandora's box, when Garret opens it, despair enters the word putting everyone she loves at risk.Garret quickly learns that as the Watchtower, it is her responsibility to stand guard between the world the humans inhabit and the summer country (the world of the fae). With four days left to save the world, Garret must learn fae magic, deal with the legacy of her ancestors and decide where exactly a billionaire vampire fits into the equation.I struggled to get through the first eighty pages of this book and thought very hard about rating it a DNF (did not finish). The writing is overly descriptive at times, to the point of downright annoying. Do we really need to know the last detail of what Garret is wearing, or the people around her for that matter? At times I just wanted to scream, "tell the damn story already." The story did pick up briefly but unfortunately returned to it's meandering pace for a time again. In it's best moments, Black Swan Rising was epic, but it was hard to bulldoze thorough the extraneous information to get to the good parts.I truly like Garret the protagonist. Unlike far too many protagonist in this genre, she didn't run around kicking ass and taking names. Garret was simply an ordinary human thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Her power came from the elementals she met along the way, which really fit with the theme of a woman on a journey of self discovery. To survive, Garret had to learn to trust her instincts because everyone around her seemed to have some sort of agenda. I did however find it troubling once again that Carroll employed the dead parent trope in order to build character for Garrett. Why is it so hard to write an urban fantasy novel in which the protagonist doesn't have a tortured past?Garret's love interest is a vampire. I was quite pleasantly surprised that he sought consent before feeding from her and consent in their love making. Rather than having the usual perverted ancient vampire crushing on a teenage girl, Black Swan Rising suggested that the relationship between Garret and Will Hughes is based on an attraction he has to the descendants of Margarette. This explains Will's emotions but it doesn't really explain Garret being caught up with a person she has just met. This also means it's far more likely that Will has feeling for Garret only because of her resemblance to her ancestor. It's clear that the authors did historical and mythological research to write this book; however, the attribution of human evil to magic is problematic. I don't think that you will want to live in the world that Dee will create with the power the box gives him. Even without the ability to open the box Dee has wreaked havoc over the centuries - he was with Cromwell in 1649 and he blighted the Irish Potatoes in the 1840's. It was one of his henchmen who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and he sat beside Hitler whispering in his ear. (page 101) I suppose I should just suspend reality but I find this passage extremely offensive. Carroll appropriated historic events in which people died to tell their story and thus did an injustice to the victims People died in the potato famine because Irish landlords wanted to take the land back from the renters. It wasn't just the famine that caused the deaths but outright class warfare. Hitler was the archetype of the death of millions across Europe, not because of magic, but because of Anti-Semitism and a failure on the part of world leaders to act. These events should never be shifted for the sake of a plot point.