Review: Troubled Waters

This is a review of Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn. The trade paperback was published by Ace in October 2010. Amazon Canada has it listed for $19.53. This review is based on an early ARC of the book.

I plunged right into  Troubled Waters and when I finished it, I started all over again and re-read it once more. I often re-read a book for reviews, but seldom back to back.  Troubled Waters was just that good.

Sharon Shinn's books are  always very enjoyable, readable romantic fantasies. But I think that Troubled Waters marks a new development for her.  There have always been moral questions present in Ms Shinn’s work, but Troubled Waters features a single question very starkly put:

How far would you go to save a child from harm?  Would you hurt other people who stood in your way?

By beefing up the moral dilemma at the heart of the story, Ms Shinn has created one of her most memorable books so far.

lf you are fond of Sharon Shinn -- you've probably already bought this book.  If you haven't read her before, this is a great place to start.

This is a stand-alone story set in the mythical country of WELCE. Which, as an aside I can only hope is just across the mountains from Gillengaria - the setting of her TWELVE Houses series.

In WELCE it is believed that everyone has an affinity for one of the four elements. Mostly, this is a way of explaining people's personality traits. However, for a few people it is more than this.

The belief in the four elements as indicators of personal traits and behaviours is closely woven into the society. People use their beliefs to decide on courses of action,  moral behaviours and for spiritual comfort.  Shinn makes that belief system, well, believable.  She totally sells it, so that when it comes time for our heroine who identifies as coru (the element of water) to change from being malleable water to being an irresistible force, we believe it too.

Since this is a romantic fantasy, there is indeed a hero. But one of the many enjoyable things about this book is that the hero is not the destination of the story. The romance arrives as a natural consequence of the heroine's personal growth.

But still the climactic scene and the questions it raises, remain with me.

So, please check out Troubled Waters, recommended to you by WebGenii.

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
# Hardcover: 400 pages
# Publisher: Ace Hardcover (October 5, 2010)
# ISBN-10: 0441019234
# ISBN-13: 978-0441019236

About WebGenii

WebGenii is a SF book nerd and all-round geek.

Speak Your Mind