Carousel Seas (Archers Beach)
by Sharon Lee
Cover Artist: Eric Williams
Review by Gayle Surrette
Baen Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476736969
Date: 06 January 2015 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Carousel Seas takes place just days after the events of Carousel Sun, but don't worry if you haven't read that one yet there's enough information in the dialogue and narrative to bring new readers up to speed. However, you'll miss out on just how the past is influencing what's happening in this novel if you haven't read the previous books.
Kate Archer runs the Fantasy Carousel at Archers Beach. She's also the Guardian of the Land in and around Archers Beach. The carousel animals had also been prisons up until all the prisoners were freed in a break out. Kate is trying to magic the carousel animals so that they look as if they're still holding prisoners in order to keep the breakout a secret as long as possible. Kate's grandfather is trying to train her in the use of her magic while her grandmother is unavailable -- recovering from the injuries she took rescuing Kate's mother from her captivity.
There's a lot going on in this story. Kate is learning more about her powers and is trying to balance her life against the need to protect the land and those who live on or in it. Meanwhile, Bogran, who is the Guardian of the sea along Archers Beach, has become her lover and has been helping her deal with the responsibilities she's taken on. However, he's having a problem with his domain, a problem which could become a problem for all those who depend on tourists dollars.
There's also rumors that the company that runs the amusement park may shut down the park. Another rumor says they may have already sold the land to developers. If any of these rumors are true, this could spell problems for Kate, for the land, and for everyone who lives and works in Archers Beach.
As usual, there's several threads to the story. At times these story lines seems unrelated until they begin to weave together to form a more complex and multi-layered plot that pulls you in and keeps you reading just one more chapter until you reach the final page. The characters are well-developed and real enough to step off the page and join you for a chat over coffee and muffins. This is present day fantasy at its best.