Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mystic & Rider by Sharon Shinn

“Clouds of unrest are darkening the land of Gillengaria. In the southern region, ill feeling toward magic and those who use it has risen to a dangerous level, though King Baryn has ordered that such men and women are to be tolerated. Whispers abound that he issued the decree because his new young wife is herself a mystic, who has used her powers to ensnare him. The king knows this—and he knows that he now sits uneasy on the throne. There are those barons of the Twelve Houses, who, out of their own ambition, might well use this growing dissent to overthrow him. So he dispatches the mystic woman Senneth on a journey to see firsthand how dire the situation might be. Accompanying her are Justin, a young Rider who distrusts the magical arts; Kirra, a healer and shape-changer born of the Twelve Houses; her servant, and lowborn Donnal, also a shape-shifter; and Tayse, the first among the King’s Riders. He too, holds a hard view of mystic in general—and Senneth in particular.”

If you enjoy a good fantasy novel, then this book is for you. It is the first in the Twelve Houses series and so there is a lot of background information and set-up for the rest of the series. It was distracting having to keep track of twelve different houses, and all the names of people that went along with them. It was a bit much, but luckily there are only a few of the houses that were the focus of the story.

Senneth is a wonderful character, she is super powerful and yet relies on her friends to help her get through her trials. I loved the scene when Senneth has to confront Coralinda (one of the villains in the novel). I also really loved Kirra’s character. She was also strong, yet carefree and playful. She played her role well and I look forward to having her as our main heroin in the next novel (although I will really miss hearing from Senneth and Tayse). Tayse is a great character, who is truly conflicted between his growing feelings for Senneth and his duty to the King. It isn’t a main part of the story, but it is nice to watch their relationship slowly grow. The rest of the cast was equally fun, I love all six of the main characters and seeing how they all interact together.

It’s a great book, and I really look forward to learning more about this wonderful world of Gillengaria. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys Fantasy novels. I do warn you to not judge it by its cover; I really hated the cover and put off reading it for a long time because of that.

Book One: Mystic & Rider
Book Two: Thirteenth House
Book Three: Dark Moon Defender
Book Four: Reader & Raelynx
Book Five: Fortune & Fate
Queen in Winter

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