Friday, May 8, 2009

REVIEW: Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn

Series: The Twelve Houses

Author Website

My first Sharon Shinn book. Mainly, I tried this book because I heard good things about this author on blogs, and because as a romantic at heart, I want to read Tayse's declaration of lurve to Senneth, which one blogger had said was the most romantic she'd ever read.


Senneth, a mystic, was sent by the king to check if there was trouble in the south of the kingdom. She was accompanied by the King's Riders (elite soldiers), Tayse and Justin, and three other mystics.


Basically, the adventure is to seek information and then report back to the king. I was afraid there would be no plot at all, just a linear telling of events, but thank goodness there's a little bit of plot--in the romance arc of Senneth and Tayse.

The author's writing is easy to read and get into, and the worldbuilding of the series is not complex, which is good, because I don't have to remember too many new names nor do I need to keep different subplots in mind.

What I don't like is there are some sections which contain info dump. I realize the author needed to explain the workings of the different Houses, as well as the history of each of the characters, but I believe it could be written in a better manner. She used the device of having a new character join the group, which entailed that the group needed to explain things to this person, and in effect, informing the reader as well. It's not a bad technique, but there are better ones that could be employed.

With regard to the declaration, it's romantic in the context of the story and with Tayse's character, but as compared to other romances I've read, it's not that romantic. If you were inspired to read this story in order to read about Tayse's declaration, don't. I wouldn't recommend it. You'll just be sorely disappointed.

However, the lack of things happening in this book is due to the fact that this first book is just the starting point of things in the overall picture. Here, we are made aware of evil plans brewing, even threats made by the villains against the king, but there's no action at all by these villains on their evil plans. As I understand it, there's an overall arc that spans the entire series (all five books). In the light of this context, the series has a good beginning in this first book, in that the background of the social order and the problem was shown and explained.

In case you're wondering, yes, I will read the next books, because I want to know how the series panned out.

Book Rating: 3.0



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