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Publisher's Summary

The fire mystic Senneth crosses the country of Gillengaria on a mission for the king, trying to discover if noble marlords from the Twelve Houses are planning an uprising.

She is accompanied by the soldiers Justin and Tayse, two King's Riders who are unswervingly loyal to the crown. Also on the journey are the shape-changers Kirra and Donnal, and a young mystic named Cammon who can practically read minds.

It's soon clear that not only are marlords planning a rebellion, but that they are being aided by Daughters of the Pale Mother, a fanatical religious sect that hates mystics. While Senneth can clearly take care of herself, Tayse finds himself unable to stop watching her - determined both to protect her and to uncover her secrets.

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by author Sharon Shinn.

House hunting? Download more in The Twelve Houses series.
©2006 Sharon Shinn; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Tailor-made for the growing audience of fantasy fans who like a good juicy romance." (Publishers Weekly)
"Never tripping over the plot twists and complications, Shinn gives us an easy, absorbing, high-quality read sans gratuitous bloodshed and violence." (Booklist)
"Shinn's most successful book." (SF Revue)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    335
  • 4 Stars
    217
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    234
  • 4 Stars
    121
  • 3 Stars
    40
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    223
  • 4 Stars
    115
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    2
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  • Overall

Light fantasy, heavy romance

I recommend this series, though you should not enter into the series looking for an in-depth fantasy read. The book is much more about romance than fantasy, the overall story is good, but very slow. I purchased all 5 books at once (thanks Audible for the great sale), and was shocked to end the story arc on book 4! Book 5 was after the arc with different main characters and it ended up being a good read as well, so no worries there. Two big caveats:

1) Do not listen the the authors introduction until after you have read the book. Ms. Shinn actually shares with you a lot of what happens in the book, I do not want to know ANYTHING about the story until I start listening to it!

2) Beware the narrator changes: Books 1 & 2 I thought were narrated very well, books 3 & 4 changed gender on the narrator, and while the narrator from books 3&4 is a bit boring, there was not a huge impact. The narrator in book 5 mis-pronounces a couple of main characters names, which is disruptive and she is not as good as the first narrator. Fortunately, book 5 deals primarily with different characters from different points of view.

37 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Racheal
  • Cypress, TX, United States
  • 01-28-09

Loved It

Loved it! I finished reading my favorites: david eddings, george r r martin, lois mcmaster bujold, robert jordan...and now i just finished this collection. The first book was definately my favorite but I loved the characters soo much I had to read them all- and loved them all. Action packed, lots of fighting and magic ... fantastic characters with all different personalities, funny dialog and romance . Perfect.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • karen
  • Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 10-24-11

A faboulous start to the series

This book is awesome and Sharon Shinn is very talented.The story captured my interest from the very beginning and held it to the end. The Narrator Jennifer Van Dyck suits the story with a very soothing but enthusiastic voice. Most enjoyable all round.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful version of the written book...

I got sucked into this series by a friend a few years ago and its been a go to / read a second or third time series for me since then. The reader does a great job bringing you into the world of Gillangaria and bringing the characters to life. I've got the second book ready to 'read' again when I am done with this one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • William
  • Lindale, TX, United States
  • 03-26-11

Absolutely Loved This Book!

After finishing Elizabeth Moon's DOP series and Oath of Fealty, narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck, I looked for other works narrated by Van Dyck. She is the most amazing narrator I have ever listened to. Saw this and decided to try it. WOW. The story was very original. Shape shifters, sensitives, healers, etc. The characters were so much fun to get to know. Like Moon, Sharon Shinn is expert at creating interesting characters that seem so real. Jennifer Van Dyck as always delivers a 5-star performance. I am amazed at how she is able to create such a variety of character voices that make it so easy to differentiate each character. I absolutely loved this book and jumped right on the second in this series. Recommend highly!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elna
  • East Carbon City, UT, USA
  • 01-11-10

Excellent!

This review is for all the books in the Twelve Houses Series. The Author provided a roller coaster ride of emotions. and I grew to love all the characters. Would recommend these books to any lover of adventure and romance. Extremely good story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I loved this series!

Audio books are expensive, at least the way i buy them. So it's a bit of a gamble when you take on a new author. You read the reviews and you weigh the good ones against the bad, looking for the key words, or comparisons to other authors you like, and hope that you've picked a winner. I'd just finished the Chalion books and didn't think I'd ever find anything as good again, but Sharon Shinn surprised me. This series is great, full of interesting twists and original characters, and the reader is superb (and old word, but an apt one). I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves LMB. You won't be disappointed, and you will make some new and very engaging friends along the way.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good start to series.

I liked this one, but didn't feel thoroughly engrossed. Didn't bond deeply to the characters, but I liked them quite well, and bonding may occur in the sequel. My favorite characters are the wild cat (a ralynx?) and the young empathic "sensitive" Cammon. (Spelling may be off.)

The fantasy elements are somewhat interesting. The plot to overthrow the king made sense, and I was intrigued about the old queen's sudden death followed by the king's hasty new marriage. Intrigued by the princess, never seen.

The romance was okay, but a bit uninspired. The dialogue is decent. Some good fight scenes. Some cool fire-Mage magic.

No swearing. No sex. Nothing too violently gruesome. A clean family-safe fantasy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fun

A light romantic fantasy that was easy to listen to and good "escape" material!

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Enjoyable

It took me a few hours to get into this, and if I didn't need something to listen to while working out, I'm unsure if I would have finished it. But I am glad I did. It quickly became un-put-a-down-able and I'm looking forward to listening to the next reader. Speaking of which I like the reader.

Someone below remarked that this was a good light romance, and while there are romantic elements, it is more a fantasy (which generally has romantic elements) than a romance. I read both genres, and there is a distinction.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful