The heroine here is Eugenie, a shaman who can cross over into the world of the spirits, as well as into Faerie, and she acts as a sort of enforcer, protecting humans and the human realm. Her stepfather has trained her, and she's become even more powerful than he, and she is confident that she knows what she's doing and where her life is taking her.
But then things start to change. For no reason she can ascertain she has suddenly attracted all kinds of unworldly attention, and to complicate matters she has agreed to travel - physically, not in her usual spirit form - into the world of the fey to rescue a kidnapped teenager. When she is there, she learns some unwelcome truths about herself and her origins that lead her to rethink all things she's ever believed in.
This is a promising beginning to a series, and Eugenie is a likeable character. The fictional world is interesting, but there wasn't anything that made it particularly stand out when compared to other novels of this genre. The characters are nicely complex, though, as are Eugenie's relationships with them - particularly as the book progresses. There is the usual love triangle - do these urban fantasies ever not have a love triangle? - but it is handled well and with a nice dash of humor, and I find myself undecided between the two hotties, which is where, I suppose, I am intended to be. I did find myself thinking - and this is in no way directed solely at Eugenie, but at the characters in general - that these kick-ass urban fantasy heroines are so often just too unbelievably, well, everything. Beautiful. Tough. Vulnerable. Powerful. Intelligent. Sexy. Great martial artists. Expert at wielding all sorts of weapons. Etc. I think they come across as more complex and sympathetic characters when they either become tougher or more proficient through the course of several novels (Kitty Norville from Carrie Vaughn's series comes to mind), or when they don't possess all of those characteristics. Just a thought.
At any rate, this one was fun and interesting with characters that held my attention, and I definitely intend to continue with the second book of this series.
Books in the Dark Swan series:
1. Storm Born
2. Thorn Queen
3. Iron Crowned
4. Shadow Heir