A departure from her Angels of Samarra world, this book started slow but ended on a promising note. Raises interesting questions about the responsibilities that come with great power but unfortunately does not answer them in any satisfactory way. The usual Shinn romantic twist was to me unconvincing and I was very dissappointed that the radical feminist trajectory that has overtaken much of fantasy literature these days seems to have infected this series. Shinn writes here like someone with an agenda -- which is not something I have ever noticed in her previous works. In the main, the problem is that the magical group of people -- mystics -- are feared and reviled by some segments of the population because they have powers that seem uncontrollable. But then, all the mystics in the book act in ways that lead me to believe that the general population was right to fear them -- the mystics seem to consider themselves a law unto themselves and I was never convinced that they would acknowledge any moral standards or authority beyond their own wills and their own beliefs of right and wrong. Very problematic. Luckily, the next book in the series (The Thirtheenth House) gains a little moral complexity and was more palatable.
Great writing, tight plot & pacing...as EXPECTED from the fabulous Sharon Shinn. I love Shinn because, unlike many MANY writers, I'm never distracted from the story by poor pace or bad writing. When I pick up her books I know that, even if its not what I'm expecting, or its a genre that's isn't usually a favorite - it will still be terrific! She never lets me down! Now, how many authors can you say that about??
I look forward to the next books in this series. Senneth is a strong female protagonist who doesn't need saving, but also has vulnerabilities and "real" characteristics...complemented by a strong but not overbearing male protagonist. A fully realized and fascinating world. This is not a romance - more a fantasy adventure - but there is a romantic subplot that is unforced and genuine. Its a real pet peeve with me when you can't imagine what compelled two characters to suddenly find themselves in rapturous love.
Also, there always seems to be a bit of a twist or unexpected depth to her stories...they are always an easy read, but never light or "fluffy".
If you like the Marion Zimmer Bradley books (my fave the Women of Isis) as well as her Anthologies (Sword and Sorceress), or you've enjoyed authors like Anne Bishop (Dark Jewels series, Pillars of the World series) and Jennifer Roberson (Sword Dancer series, Chronicles of the Cheysuli/Shapechangers series)...Sharon Shinn will be a new favorite.
I highly recommend anything by this author...and if you don't like one book by her - try another in a different series. She's an unusual writer in that all of her books don't contain the same stories or themes (for example, all the vamp/werewolf/fairy subculture novels our right now...where the author has one series in each subcategory, but they're really all pretty similar)...and there are a few unique stand-alone titles that don't fit well into any one particular genre.
I don't want to compare this series with the Samaria series.
"Mystic and Rider" is the first of The Twelve houses series by Sharon Shinn.
I'm never disappointed by the prose of Miss Shinn.
I found this series more of a classic fantasy with more romance than other Shinn's book. To me the main theme seemed to be acceptance and trust.
I liked it but not my favorite by this author.
What a wonderful fun engrossing adventure into kingdoms, mystics, relationships, and intrigue!! Loving the series!! Characters develop fully with witty dialogue!
It took me a little bit of time to get into this book but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the last 200 pages. Romance always keeps me going. I love how Sharon Shinn develops her characters. I feel like I know them but I still want to get to know them better and I want to keep reading about them.
Sennet, Kirra and Connal - mystics of varying degrees - are joined by riders, Tayse and Justin. Their mission is to travel the country for the King in order to determine the degree of dissent between the twelve houses and why. The adventures begin immediately when Sennet rescues a young mystic, Cammon, from slavery. They intended to ride incognito but everywhere they stop Sennet senses trouble of some kind - usually nothing to do with the reason for their travels - and jumps in to rescue the underdog. At times, her magic both gets them in trouble and saves them.
There is a romantic interest between Sennet and Tayce but like all Urban Fantasy novels (though this isn't one of them), the relationship carries forward under the radar. It is very subtle but there. It'll be interesting to see if and how this develops. I particularly liked the raelynx - a wild cat-like animal caught by Sennet's magic and transported as part of the group across the countryside. Now that the Queen has commandeered him, it will be interesting to see if he returns to the group of travelers at some point.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The group of six travelers was varied and yet they managed to become great friends that didn't want to part when the adventure was done. I look forward to future travels with these guys and gals, riders and mystics. So far, there are five books, and I can't wait to pickup Kirra's book: The Thirteenth House.
book #2 - The Thirteenth House
book #3 - Dark Moon Defender
book #4 - Reader and Raelynx
book #5 - Fortune and Fate
Loved this book. I read the fifth book in the series before I read this one, which is the first. Didn't matter, still enjoyed learning the background of the characters. Well written, great characters and plot.
I think I've found a new favorite fantasy author. Shinn develops a great central character and combines prejudice with magic as the figure head for trouble. I loved the tension created as a civil war brews under the guise of good vs. evil. The evil is anyone with magic. It reminds me a lot of the Deryni books by Katherine Kurtz. I recommend this book for anyone that loves magic in their fantasy realms.
This is a lighter tone for Shinn, it reads more like Tamora Pierce than the higher-brow Archangel series. Still a very good read, relatable and well-written characters and dynamics.
One of my favorite romantic fantasy novels.