Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory

The House of the Four Winds


The tiny nation of Swansgaard is a lovely place with abundant natural resources, including the royal family, which has been blessed with twelve daughters and a son. As this boisterous baker's dozen approaches adulthood, the king and queen lovingly tell their daughters, "You must make your own fortune, for we cannot enrich you without impoverishing our people or leaving our lands defenseless, and that we will not do."

Happily, the princesses of Swansgaard are eager to meet this challenge, for they yearn for adventures both near and far from home.

Clarice, an expert swordswoman, is the first to depart. Disguising herself as Clarence, she signs on for a voyage to the New World. The captain is vile and blackhearted, and the crew soon mutinies. Clarice becomes first mate - and finds her heart captured by the new captain, Dominick, who is, to his own surprise, increasingly attracted to Clarence.

Now outlaws, Dominick and his crew turn to piracy - though their hearts are not entirely in it. They soon run afoul of the Pirate Council, who orders them to retrieve the Heart of Light. All who have searched for this great treasure have vanished, with neither ships nor crews ever seen again and no sign of their fates ever discovered.

But none before have carried with them the sorceress Shamal, who stakes a claim of her own on Dominick's heart.

Adventure, romance, magic, swashbuckling and pirates....this book has it all!  I am a huge Mercedes Lackey fan and have been since I was an awkward, friendless teen who spent all of my free time with a nose in a book.  Mercedes Lackey has never let me down. 

The House Of The Four Winds begins like a traditional fairy tale but turns aside to become a pure adventure story.  Clarice is an intelligent woman who uses her wits and her skill to make her way in the world.  She ends up as a passenger on a ship where nothing is as it seems and it's hard to know who to trust.  
Like most of Mercedes Lackey's books, there are many interesting characters and they are all very likeable.  Well...the ones who are meant to be! 
I have always loved the trope of a woman disguising herself as a man to gain the same opportunities and respect that men have.  Something about it gets my imagination going.  I thought that it was very well-written and believable in this case.  This is the beginning of a new series that I am very excited to continue.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, adventure, and kick-ass heroines. 

I was sent a free copy in exchange for an honest review

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