I recently finished reading the House of the Four Winds and it was quite the interesting book. I happened across it while browsing in a bookstore and was curious about the storyline. It was also co-written by James Mallory which I found interesting but wasn’t sure about picking it up at the time so instead decided to read up on it a bit. It seemed to be in the middle of a series but in fact its the first of its kind and was just published last year. Having heard great things about Mercedes Lackey, I was excited to read this book.
It’s a fascinating tale full of adventure, mystery, a touch of magic, true love and the power of friendship.
Princess Clarice is the eldest of eleven sisters and one brother whose birth has allowed her and her sisters to seek their own way in the world. Her parents are the Duke and Duchess of Swansgarde, which is a small principality in the mountains. They do all they can to help teach their girls from a young age the importance of being royalty, survival and being a commoner. From the age of twelve, each girl starts to figure out what she wants to do and both royals help them along the way. Clarice decides to become a swordswoman and go on adventures. With a special charm from her parents to always find her way home and a bit of money to help, she sets out on an adventure.
Clarice becomes Clarence Swann who is looking for adventure and seeing what the world has to offer. Finding herself bored after several months, she decides to pay passage onto a ship that seems reputable enough and is looking forward to some excitement. Little does she realize just how much excitement she’s about to have.
She makes friends in particular with Dominick, the cartographer and several other people including the Doctor. When the captain mistreats most of his crew to the point of causing mutiny, Clarice finds herself pulled into the mix, killing the Captain and sending most of his lackeys into a rowboat.
To make a long story short, Clarice has now become a member of the crew and after confiscating a mysterious necklace with a map from an untrustworthy man of the cloth, she’s about to be in way over her head. After some deliberation with some of the crew and Dominick who has become the captain, it’s decided to find out where the map may lead and hopefully get provisions before they run out.
The necklace leads the crew to a hidden island that’s run by pirates and known as the House of the Four Winds. Clarice can sense there’s something sinister about the area though she can’t quite put a name to things. She encounters the mysterious Shamal who is a sorceress with her own hidden agenda and appears to be in charge. She manages to magically ensnare Dominick’s heart and forces him to search with his crew for the Heart of Light. Those in the past who have searched for it have become lost, never to be seen again. Tension soon becomes quite thick among the crew and Clarice is desperate to figure out a way to break Shamal’s spell, realizing that she’s in love with Dominick and worries where this quest will take them to.
Eventually Clarice does figure out a way to put a stop to Shamal and it’s in the form of an unlikely ally. Dominick learns who Clarice really is though I won’t spoil his reaction nor what happens to Shamal because that would involve spoilers. I will say that it’s very fast paced towards the end of the book and several surprising things happen.
I very much enjoyed this book and loved the fact that the love wasn’t the center focus on this book. I do love reading romance books but it was refreshing to have the theme focus mainly on the mystery of the House of the Four Winds, along with adding in the traces of magic and the swashbuckling days.
Clarise is such a smart, creative and canny woman who can hold her own in a fight. Her parents were very smart to ensure their daughters be able to handle just about anything that may appear. There were some instances where Clarise could have chosen a different path and yet without that hardship, she may not have met Dominick who quickly becomes her closest friend. She was very underestimated even acting as a guy and many of those times helped save her life and those she cared for. If she was a real person, I’d like to think that we’d get along great.
Dominick was also a great character. He had a business stolen from him and vowed to get it back but soon realized that it would involve a lot of money he didn’t have and wasn’t as easy as it may have been years ago. He was very reluctant to become Captain after the first one was killed but he stepped up to the plate and did the best he could. Even under thrall with Shamal, he tried to put his crew’s needs above his own. There were times that he was too stubborn for his own good but he really seemed to have a big heart and very protective of those under his care.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. There were a lot of interesting concepts and it was a refreshing read about sailors turned pirate. A princess who can hold her own is always fun to read about particularly when it involves adventures. I love characters who are smart, strong willed and not afraid to get their hands dirty and Clarice certainly lived up to those qualities. I anxiously look forward to reading about the next daughter whenever it may be released.
In other bookish news, I have recently decided to concentrate more on my reviews and less going into too much detail about what I’m reading. I still plan to mention what books I’m reading as well as providing links but I seem to be giving most of the information about the books I’m reading away without putting it into a review depending on how fast I am reading a book.
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Well that concludes my bookworm news for the time being. Thank you so much for tuning into my ramblings and I hope that you will visit again soon. It’s amazing how easily time can slip past especially when it comes to reading books that draw you right in. Stay tuned for more bookish ramblings soon.