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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The 13th House and Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn

The Thirteenth House and Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn. New York: Ace Books, 2006. ISBN: 0-441-01368-6 and 0-441-01430-5

These two books, both released in 2006, are the sequels to Mystic and Rider, published in 2005, and reviewed on this blog back in July, 2006. The Thirteenth House refers to the second tier of gentry on Gillengaria. There are twelve great houses, comprising the nobility of the realm, each ruling one of the provinces, as you might call them. The next tier of the gentry are known collectively as the “thirteenth house.”

In the book of that title, some of them are fomenting a revolution. Resentful and dissatisfied with their role in society, and wanting more autonomy and power, they plot against the king. Naturally, our group of friends, mystics and King's Riders, work together to foil the plots, and save the kingdom. In the course of which, Kirra, one of the main mystic characters, falls into an illicit and potentially dangerous love affair with the charismatic Lord Romar, the king's designated regent.

But this entire episode is only a sort of subplot in the overall storyline of the series. In Dark Moon Daughter, we get back into the thick of things, as Justin, one of the King's Riders, is sent to a town near to the Lumanen Convent, home of Coralinda Gisseltess, whose devotion to the Pale Mother, the moon goddess, causes her to hate, fear and brutally kill any mystics she can discover, or get her hands on.

Coralinda's brother is the evil lord of Gisseltess province, and the principal fomenter of rebellion against the king, the uncovering of which is the primary role of the motley crew of King's Riders and mystics featured as the protagonists of the series. Naturally, Justin falls in love with one of the Moon Daughters, who, unbeknownst to herself, is herself a mystic with healing and other powers. A perilous situation, indeed, should the Lestra, as Coralinda styles herself, find out.

These books are highly recommended for all fantasy fans, and especially those who enjoyed Mystic and Rider, the first book in the series. Definitely read them in order. More books will undoubtedly follow, as the storyline seems to be building inevitably toward a civil war in Gillengaria, and we haven't gotten there yet. According to the author's web site, the fourth book, titled Reader and Raelynx, will be released in fall, 2007, and she is negotiating with her publisher to write a 5th Twelve Houses book.

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