Sharon Shinn starts a new series with Troubled Waters. It's a book based in a world where nearly everything is defined by the elements. People tend to have personalities based either upon Water, Fire, Wood, Air, or Earth. These personalities also have an affinity with Blood, Mind, Bone, Soul, or Flesh respectively. In this world, people look to temples to give them random blessings to help guide their lives.
The main character, Zoe Ardelay, is a coru (Water/Blood) woman whose father has just passed away. He and Zoe had been exiled from the capital of the Kingdom (Chialto) for many years and only had each other. His loss affected her greatly, and it left her unsure where to go with her life after him. A few days after his death, a royal official from Chialto, Darien Serlast, comes to collect her. She is to become the King's fifth wife.
An opportunity presents itself randomly to Zoe to escape this fate and she takes it. Her life then takes many twists and turns as she tries to discover who she is. Turns out she is quite a lot more than she ever imagined. Throughout her adventures and discoveries, she tries to stay hidden from Darien, but she cannot help wondering about him and looking for him.
Sharon Shinn really understands politics. I for one usually don't like reading anything resembling politics as it bores me, but Shinn writes about them like an art. The few action packed scenes are separated by all of these conversations that should be quite boring, but they're not. I had a hard time putting the book down to get proper sleep! The only thing I would have liked to see in this book was some of Darien's perspective. This is just personal preference, and honestly with how many secrets he held, it would have been difficult to do. I am excited to pick up the next book, Royal Airs!