Ahoy! Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day, and in honor of it, I picked a piratey tale to tell. This week, I picked The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. This is the first book in their One Dozen Daughters series, and I won’t lie, I am very interested to see if they tell every one of the girls’ stories. The basic premise is that a small country has twelve princesses and not enough finances for dowries, so each must make her own fortune in the world. Strong women who are also princesses? Definitely an interest for me. Plus, I really liked Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms Series, and this story sure does look similar.
This story tells the tale of the eldest, Clarice, who’s skilled with the sword. What starts out as a simple wanting to see the world, so she can make a name for herself and become a sword instructor turns into a mega adventure with pirates! (herself unwittingly becoming one of them) To add to that, she spends the majority of the book as ‘Clarence’, to make travels easier for her. Well, it’s not so easy when she meets Dominick, a shy but intelligent man with a big heart and an innate ability to lead, and falls for him. Hard. I loved the relationship between these two, focusing on their friendship, how close they become and how much they know each other before even contemplating romance. The rest of the ‘crew’ seemed to feel like simple characters, though. There is a lot of tension, but not a lot of depth to anyone outside Dominick and Clarice.
The storyline was interesting, but seemed to both be too fast and lag. There was a lot that happened in this book, but each main encounter felt like it was over too quickly, and Clarice spent quite a bit of time internally reflecting over everything. But, while parts of the book lagged a bit, there were still a lot of good story line. The action, now, that was something! The fights were well written, the tension palpable. I love the fantastical elements, the new ideas that these authors bring. There are a few questions left unanswered at the end, but that just makes me excited about what’s coming next. As this is just the first daughter’s tale!