Book Review: Troubled Waters (Elemental Blessings #1) by Sharon Shinn

Title: Troubled Waters

Author: Sharon Shinn

Publication Date: October 5th, 2010

Format: E-Book

The author of the Twelve Hours series welcomes readers to a new fantasy world, where the elements rule.

Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king’s fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river.

It’s there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right. But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood—and the secrets of the royal family—she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.



First things first. That cover. I didn’t like it. The color scheme, how the name of the author is in a larger font than the name of the book, the font style, all these are things that made me really dislike it. I’m not someone who judges a book by its cover, thank god for that or I wouldn’t have picked this one up, but come on I’m only human and we humans like to see pretty things. Like book covers. Especially if the cover is for a great book like this one.

One of the best things in this book is the world itself. It’s one of the best out there. It’s rich with details and so well built that for the amount of time you are reading this book, you feel like you are there with Zoe and Darien and all the others. The idea of the blessings, how you draw them from containers in temples, how they actually impact your life, was brilliant. I felt a thrill reading those parts, and lucky me, there was a lot of them. The elemental magic aspect was also spectacular. I’m a huge fan of elemental magic in general, but it was extremely well done here.

I loooved the writing style. I’ve said this once before and I’ll say it again. One of the most important things in a book for me is the writing style. I like books with flowery writing. I like metaphors and similes and run on sentences and sentences without punctuation marks and lines that make me think.

Now this book didn’t really have flowery sentences and such things, but the way it’s written is so beautiful and thought provoking. I had to stop reading more than once to turn a sentence around in my head in order to make sure I fully appreciated it.

“Until my life ends I will not forget the sight of the river refusing to flow because Zoe Lalindar ordered it to pause.”

and here’s another one (Actually, I think this might be my fav line in the book)

But Zoe leaned into Darien Serlast’s heartbeat and felt as if she had found the source of the engine that powered the world.

Another super bonus point is that there was no information dumping. Usually there is a large amount of that in the first book of a series to get the reader acquainted with the world. Shinn managed to get me fully informed without dumping 10000 years of information on me in one go. I was really grateful for that as I tend to sleep during History lessons.

In addition to all that, this book was actually the first book that I’ve read not to whitewash what the life at court is. The poisonous atmosphere between the king’s wives is exactly how I imagine it would be like in real life. It showed exactly how cruel humans can be when they become so spoiled.

Character Analysis


I loved Zoe’s spirit and how she never gave up. She had one hell of a will and didn’t back down or bow her head to anyone. She always did what she thought was right. She never cared about what people thought of her. She is whom I aspire to be.

I really loved seeing her feelings for Darien develop. I knew from the very beginning that he was going to be the love interest because, God, they had that zing since they first met. Even after she escaped, she kept on thinking about him. And when they met again, their dialogue was witty and snarky and all the great things a conversation between two people who are trying to hide their feelings for each other should be.


I loved Darien since the beginning. I love how he’s always so sure of himself. I love how he was always willing to bend for Zoe even though he was Hunti (those who are stubborn and stoic). I loved how he shared his secrets with her and how she probably doesn’t realize this but him telling her his secrets means he trusts her so much. I loved the depth of his feelings for her. How he told her he was never going to abandon her. How he told her that if she ran away he would go searching for her.

“If you did simply walk out the doors and stroll down the mountain, leaving behind no word of where you were going or why, I would come looking for you. I would never stop looking for you. I would find you, too.”

Bottom Line

I loved this book. I loved it so much. Zoe was an amazing MC and I wouldn’t mind reading 10 more books with her POV. I also loved Darien a lot and wanted to see more moments between him and Zoe. Yes, I know that they aren’t that type of people, but come onnnn, my poor fangirl heart wasn’t satisfied.

Recommended to: Fantasy lovers who want a great world with tons of details and a great, great cast.


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