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
The House of the Four Winds (A Dozen Daughters, #1) is the first book in a new series by veteran authors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. Reading new books by Mercedes Lackey is always a difficult thing for me do, not because I dislike her books — she is without a doubt my favorite author, but because her Valdemar books have set such a high standard that any of her other books do not compare. James Mallory on the other hand has only a few books that I have read, all written with Mercedes Lackey, and each one better than the book written before it. I am more than happy to say the House of the Four Winds stands up very well when compared to anything else either author has written. With swashbuckling pirates, strange magic, and hidden treasures this story has a bit of everything it needs to grab your attention and never let you go.
With her family unable to provide the support and dowries of her and her eleven sisters, Princess Clarice of Swansgaarde sets off into the world in attempt to make a living for herself in her chosen career, a master swordsman, but to be considered a master requires the experience and reputation she does not have. To get both of these things Clarice disguises herself as the well-off traveler Mr. Clarence Swann and signs on with the first merchant ship that will take her on as a passenger. When the crew of the ship she has chosen finds itself forced to mutiny Clarice and the rest of the crew are quickly labeled pirates. She soon finds herself sailing in search of hidden treasure and a way to clear the names of the crew, all while attempting to keep anyone from discovering her secret.
There were only a few minor issues that irked me with this book, one of which was Clarice being a princess. It is made very clear she is from a duchy, part of a larger kingdom, so would she not be merely a lady until she married into the peerage? The only other issue I had is that this book was supposed to take place in an alternate version of earth, one with additional countries and a strange magic, but other than a few similar names there was not much to suggest that we shared a common world in any way, which disappointed me to a small degree.
That being said, this is definitely a book I think everyone should pick up and read. While it seems to be more romance than anything else, it has a great plot with an interesting magic system. The characters are very believable and enjoyable that you can connect with on many levels. Not to mention it’s written in part by Mercedes Lackey, and I don’t think I would be able to live with myself if I didn’t do what I could to convince everyone to pick it up and read it. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Already I find myself obsessively checking to see if the sequel has been announced yet, and if so, when it will be published.
The House of the Four Winds is set to be released August 5th by Tor Books.
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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