Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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.
Anyway, today's featured tome is Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory's THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS. The first book of their fantasy series, One Dozen Daughters, which is like a modern fairy-tale. A little backstory, with 12 daughters, the tiny duchy of Swansgaard can't afford to marry their princesses off like your typical royalty lest they bankrupt their estate. So the sisters with their parents, the Duke and Duchess of Swansgaard, made an agreement that when the girls turn 18, they are to look for their own fortune or trade in the big bad world. First to leave the nest is eldest daughter, Princess Clarice, who wants to sail off into the New World and be a swordmistress. Instead of a peaceful Pacific voyage, Clarice found herself on board a pirate ship with a sorceress who is in search of riches and treasures that can buy kingdoms.
- I love the fairytale-like backstory of THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS with kingdoms and princesses with a modern twist as said princesses are empowered and not herded off for marriage as soon as they're eligible.
- I'm not a big naval story reader so I love the Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest feel of THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS with magic, riches, pirates, serpents, and a sorceress which made it somewhat easy for me to read and imagine the events that happened here. The actual House of the Four Wind is a council of some sort and reminded me of the Nine Pirate Lords in that Johnny Depp movie. Not only that, Clarice Swann is a dead ringer for Elizabeth Swann in the movie, played by Kiera Knightly, and Dominick is very much like Orlando Bloom's character. Ha!
- I love the pirate theme and Clarice pretending to be a boy to secure safe travels only to get the handsome guy in the end. It's a little bit confusing and borderline dysfunctional especially for Dominick, poor dude must think he's gay but it all worked out in the end. I think this is also the reason why MLackey and JMallory didn't highlight the romance too much. Too complicated and can open up for a lot of drama which won't fit well with the lighthearted story.
- THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS is "clean" and the romance wasn't the focal point of the story. It's very plot driven which had me glazing over a few times because I prefer my books to be character driven and with much dialogue instead of heavy narrations, descriptions, and internal musings. It took me 4 days to finish reading this and it's a comparatively short fantasy book running at 300 pages only so go figure.
- There's not a lot of magic that happened here, the first half of THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS dealt with the obvious world building, plot-setting, character introductions, the mutiny in Asesino, and Dominick's rise as Captain. There were talks of magic and amulets but nothing in your face up until the last quarter when Shamal entered the picture and ensorcelled Dominick.
- From the sound of things, it seems like Clarice's siblings will provide better entertainment than she did. The next sister is a magician, so I think the next book will have lots of magic, and her younger sister, Damaris, is a firecracker! Her book is the one I'm most excited about.
- THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS is good series introduction, I love its fantasy aspect and the fact that it's not romance driven is very refreshing to me. My displeasure over its plot-driven beat and naval theme is subjective so if that's not a deal breaker for you then I'm sure you'll enjoy this better than I did.
And yes, I look forward to reading the next book because it looks like each volume will have a different plot, MC's, themes, and settings. Right now it doesn't seem like there's a series plot, THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS provided a closed conclusion so I'm guessing each book could probably be read as stand-alone.