The image on the cover of Sharon Lee’s* Carousel Sun, sequel to the oddball contemporary fantasy Carousel Tides (2010), is unusual even from a publisher famed for its peculiar choices in cover art. A giant cockerel looms behind a shaggy-haired man and a woman whose hands trail sparks and who looks like she’s twisting her head away from a vile smell. A rooster! Prospective readers may be excused a raised eyebrow or a momentary double-take: what do male chickens have to do with a fantasy set in a small town on the seaboard of Maine?
It’s not fowl after all, though: it turns out that the cock is actually a plastic carousel mount, a replacement for the batwing-demon beast that transformed and departed during the climax of Carousel Tides. For Kate Archer, our protagonist, runs the carousel at Archer’s Beach, and she can’t open for the summer season one mount short.