Today’s review of Sharon Shinn’s Troubled Waters was written by Marie Enud, a new contributor to this blog.
Readers of historical fiction and lovers of Royal family sagas who want to venture into the world of Science Fiction will enjoy this crossover novel. Within the first few chapters, it is immediately evident that a woman is telling this tale, and I mean that as compliment. Shinn’s writing style allows her main character to blossom as a result of circumstances and reflection. Many male writers of this Science Fiction prefer to ascribe leadership traits to women without explaining how they arrived at that particular perspective. As a reader, I trust a character more when I know how they’ve evolved into the person they are when I first meet them in the narrative. Shinn does this wonderfully. Zoe is believable, first as the reluctant heir to a legacy she believed long abandoned, and then as a woman who embraces her future, learning as she goes.
Earth elements and Random Blessings play a critical role in the beliefs of these characters. Bestowed as horoscopes of guidance and good will, these traits shape both personality and circumstance within the story. This helps the novel to embrace the magical/fantasy side of science fiction, and allows Zoe to experiment with her own special powers.
And then, of course, there is Darien. Steadfast and loyal, a Hunti man to the core, he provides the perfect balance to Zoe’s Coru tendencies of impetuous decisions and emotional responses. As two characters whose fates intertwine because of a promise, these companions, first burdened with responsibility, eventually evolve into equitable partners for each other. Along the way, there are Royal lineage betrayals, a flood of epic proportions, and interweaving storylines with townspeople who both befriend and betray the main characters.
This is a novel that moves quickly, explains things well, and leaves the reader wondering what happens next in the lives of Darien and Zoe.
Thanks for reading. Leave your questions and comments below.