Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Troubled Waters . . .

. . . actually came out last year, but I only just now got around to reading it. Actually, a year on my TBR pile is not that long. I should figure out the proportion of books I read within days of getting them, but it’s not that high.

Sometimes even I’m sure I’ll love a book, I’ll put off reading it just because I like the anticipation. Plus I want to be in a guilt-free place in my own writing schedule. With chocolate!

So, TROUBLED WATERS.

Loved it!

My top three Sharon Shinn books? At the moment, that would be THE SHAPECHANGER’S WIFE, THE TRUTH TELLER’S TALE, and now TROUBLED WATERS.

If you love Patricia McKillip, then you should definitely read THE SHAPECHANGER’S WIFE. If you love YA fantasy, you should definitely read THE TRUTH-TELLER’S TALE. And if you love peaceful, flowing, beautifully written fantasy that doesn’t rush you along too fast and lets you enjoy your stay in a charming non-gritty world? Well, then, hey, TROUBLED WATERS.

I was so going to use a river metaphor for talking about this book, it’s hard not to, in fact, only a commenter on Goodreads , Laura, beat me to it:

Reading this book is like taking a relaxing boat ride down a smooth, wide river, where the current is just fast enough to continuously present new scenes of wonder and delight yet slow enough to allow you to take in all the details of each vista. Any unpleasantness in the story is like a small rock in that river, rising just high enough to cause a small ripple without creating any dangerous rapids or exposing any sharp surfaces which might damage the boat. (And I have officially run this metaphor to ground.)

And what can I say? I hope I would have put that as well, because that’s exactly how I felt.

The “blessings” were a charming idea and I loved how Sharon Shinn used them in the story, and I loved the way they are all, like, blessings, and not EVER in an awful monkey’s paw kind of way, either, but actually positive. I loved the understated divination thing Shinn did with them. And the elemental associations and powers? Very cool.

And of course the characters are well-drawn. I mean, Sharon Shinn, right? Of course the romance is obvious from the start, but it’s obviously not supposed to come as a surprise and it’s fun to see how it works out. The twist at the end, you can really see why he might not be sure how she’d take that, right? So he really would be tense about that.

TROUBLED WATERS was exactly what I was in the mood for. I know Sharon wrote this as a stand-along because I asked her, but I hope she eventually finds time to write a sequel or two for it, because there’s obviously more she could do with this world. I’d especially like to know a little more about those odd non-elemental blessings . . . lots of room for cool stuff with those.

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1 Comment Troubled Waters . . .

  1. Elaine T

    My daughter and I quite enjoyed it. I thought she would, especially as she claims she’s part fish. We’re both hoping for more set in this world.

    I haven’t liked all of Shinn’s work. But I do like Truth-Teller and its companion novels, and this one, and her very first SHAPE-CHANGER’S WIFE.

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