The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters #1) by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Synopsis: The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.  Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Review: The premise of this story is so promising.  And considering my cosplay at this years San Diego Comic Con (the rest of my review is  grossly overdue and I apologize), I was super pumped for something that would get me in the mood for it. Who doesn’t love a good swashbuckling tale with a girl masquerading as a guy? I know do! It’s like She’s the Man on a pirate ship! And this was my first time giving Mercedes Lackey a try.

There are some really enjoyable moments here. I found I was able to immerse myself very well into the world and I learned a few new things about pirate ships and life on the sea!  The main characters were likable and I really enjoyed the buildup of Clarice and Dominick…to an extent.  I was cruising along with this book for quite a while, but then it started to drag out a bit too much and I wanted certain things to happen long before they actually did so that was a little frustrating.  A more consistent pace would have really helped this book.

Overall it’s a lighthearted read, save for a few tough scenes, and it set itself apart from most of the other books I read this year.  I would like to read another book with the two main characters, but I don’t know if we’ll get that. Since this is the beginning of a series and it focuses on the daughters, I imagine the next book will focus on the next daughter and we may hear an update about the characters in passing.

All in all I wanted to like it a little more than I did in the end, but I would be willing to give the sequel a try. Maybe the series needs to find a rhythm.

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