Series: One Dozen Daughters #1
Published by Tor on August 5, 2014
Reviewed by: Kate
Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Valdemar series and romantic fantasies like Beauty and the Werewolf and The Fairy Godmother. James Mallory and Lackey have collaborated on six novels. Now, these New York Times and USA Today bestselling collaborators bring romance to the fore with The House of Four Winds.
The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.
Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.
Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.
Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.
While fun, THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS was an action packed smorgasbord of a novel, full of random plot arcs and frequently undeveloped characters. It was as if the authors didn't know what they wanted to write - fantasy, romance, adventure - and tried to smash everything into one book. Though fast paced and never boring, THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS nevertheless suffered for it.
My biggest issue with THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS was that a lot of time was spent discussing the problems, and how to resolve them. When it came down to it though, most issues were not resolved by action on Clarice's part, but instead by action by an outside character. They were also generally resolved fairly quickly in proportion to how much page time they got. My other issue was that Clarice's character didn't grow much throughout the story. This would have been fine if the romance arc was more pronounced (in my opinion) but that was glossed over as well.
THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS had a generally upbeat, fun feel to it, and was an enjoyable read, it was just a little scattered. Though not as large a part of the plot as the description makes it out to be, the romance was sweet and fun to watch, and I did enjoy Clarice's few sword fights. The fantasy aspect of the world was interesting, as it was very similar to our own, but with magic and different geography. It was therefore easy to build images in my head as I was reading, and that added to my enjoyment.
Overall, THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS wasn't everything it was sold as, but it wasn't a bad book, either. It reminded me of adventure books I read when I was younger, with magic, pirate ships and girls dressing up as boys, and that nostalgia factor probably kept me more interested than I may have been otherwise. However, depending on what the next book in the One Dozen Daughters series sounds like, I may give this series another try.
- The House of the Four Winds