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Zoe Ardelay and her father, once the king???s closest advisor, have been in exile for ten years. After her father dies, the king???s new advisor, Darien Serlast, shows up in Zoe???s village to escort her back to court because she???s been chosen to be the king???s fifth wife. At first Zoe is numb with grief and shock, but by the time they reach the capital city her ???water??? personality asserts itself and she begins to flow around the obstacles in her way ??? obstacles such as Darien himself, a man of ???wood??? who???s strong, stubborn, and immovable.
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.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful
This book is a coming of the age story of a woman who lost her father and finds her that she inherited family magic. I really liked the story and the voice/style of the narrator.
The story flows from a humble beginning of Zoe to her becoming a formidable power fairly smoothly. I really liked the main character Zoe, although she seemed too good and straight-laced some time. So it was a surprise when she got so upset at the end she causes such havoc. She just didn't seem the "type." I think that was too sudden, though I do understand her surprise and panic.
I find the premise of this kingdom interesting and I hope there is a next book. It seems to me that Zoe's adventure and her self discovery just got started. Looking forward to reading more.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
So very underwhelmed and disappointed with this. It's like Shinn created this beautiful world with a different and interesting magic system and forgot to add interesting characters and a plot. Without giving too much away, it starts off as a "discover yourself" YA kind of plot, then moves into a poorly excited political intrigue (*I* spotted the "twists") with some blatant power abuse. Urgh. I almost believed the romance until the last chapter - really, he "fell in love" with the girly then?
2 stars for the potential.
Audio comments: the narrator didn't really do the book any favours either. The accents of the Cobbler family in particular were jaring and irritating
Plenty of action, full of intrigue and a little slow building romance, what more could you ask for?
As a non American I found it a little weird that Zoe was pronounced Zoh instead of Zoey and Darien pronounced Derien but I learned to ignore it:)