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Troubled Waters Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 5, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
While fans of the Twelve Houses series will find echoes of the same courtly intrigue and politicking, and while the world Zoe lives in reminded me quite a bit of the world of the Safekeepers Secret series (Shinn's lovely Young Adult trilogy), and even while Zoe herself brings to mind the contrariness of Tamar in "The Alleluia Files," the book is entirely separate from all of these. Rather than reading as a rehash of earlier work, it comes off as the best of Shinn's repertoire; she has really hit her stride.
One of my favorite parts of her novels has always been the background culture on which she structures her
storylines (the Gloria in the Samaria series, the solstice gatherings in the Safekeepers Secret series) and the in-depth background of this world is particularly charming--there are 'blessings' by which people guide their lives. Each child receives three blessings at birth that remain with them, while at any time one can visit a temple to pick a random blessing that is thought to give them divine guidance pertaining to thier lives at the moment. This is utilized in the novel both by showing how Zoe's life is shaped by her birth blessing of Power, and by her consultations periodically of the random temple blessings, but her blood/water trait (called Coru in the novel) leaves plenty of room for subsequent books pursuing other characters with different primary traits.
Bottom line: while some previous work has felt a little rushed ("Reader and Raelynx" struck me that way), this is a great stand-alone novel that also gives the reader hope for several new novels in this fascinating world.
Filled with vivid characters, beautiful scenery, sweet friendships, surprising destinies, political intrigue, mystery, a slow satisfying romance, and an interesting take on personality types, Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn is a book that just feels good. I listened to the audio version produced by Audible Frontiers and read by Jennifer Van Dyck. It was 14 hours long, but I enjoyed it so much that I finished it over a weekend, which kind of annoyed my family. I even considered trying to extract myself from a couple of social engagements so I could spend time with Zoe instead.
Troubled Waters is definitely a romance -- and some of the verbal sparring felt a bit contrived, as if set up just to create that tension -- yet mostly the romance brews in the background as Zoe navigates her way through her changed world. Some readers won't believe in the romance, and others might feel that things work out too easily for Zoe, but I enjoyed this low-stress novel. It features a strong and likable heroine, a love-interest who's my kind of guy, a diverse supporting cast, a leisurely pace, and it focuses on a variety of human relationships. It is likely to appeal mostly to women.
Troubled Waters can be read as a satisfying stand-alone story, but there may be more books to come. If so, I'll definitely be picking them up. Meanwhile, I'll be trying out some more novels by Sharon Shinn.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Our heroine has lived most of her youth and young adult life in a small town far away from the politics surrounding the king, who banished her father years ago.