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The House of the Four Winds: Book One of One…
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The House of the Four Winds: Book One of One Dozen Daughters (edition 2014)

by Mercedes Lackey (Author)

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3151884,782 (3.32)13
"Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Valdemar series and romantic fantasies like Beauty and the Werewolf and The Fairy Godmother. JAMES MALLORY and Lackey have collaborated on six novels. Now. these New York Times and USA Today bestselling collaborators bring romance to the fore with The House of Four Winds. 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. Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers. "--… (more)
Member:Bingram85
Title:The House of the Four Winds: Book One of One Dozen Daughters
Authors:Mercedes Lackey (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2014), Edition: Reprint, 301 pages
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The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This book could have conceivably been a series of short stories tied together by the fact they're stories of Clarice. There's several different "arcs" throughout the book that have a beginning, middle and end making this feel more serialized at times in fact. There's Clarice's decision to leave home and seek adventure as far she could travel (culminating with her finding passage on the Asesino), the precursor to the mutiny, after the mutiny and lastly outwitting a demon spawn witch.

In all fairness time is so weirdly mentioned or figured that while the above sounds like quite a bit, I couldn't tell you exactly how long it was (except that it wasn't a full year as the book began on Clarice's birthday and we didn't pass her next one).

Clarice is a likeable, if rather a Mary Sue, main character. She's pragmatic almost to her detriment and has a thirst for knowledge that is kept sharp by her perceptiveness. For all that she is still a tad young (18) and comes off as naively lucky. She mentions at one point she was happy that she thought to disguise herself as a boy, since no one gives her and her sword two looks that way so she's had a relatively safe journey from home. That strained my credulity a little bit to be honest. Even a young boy (Clarice guessed she looked about 15 or 16) traveling alone, with relatively high quality though not flashy apparel and sword would attract attention.

Aboard the ship as Clarence, our dear princess splits her idle time between fraternizing with Dominick (the ship's required but mostly ignored navigator, who's only a couple years older then her, charming, tragic backstory and vow of resilience (Beyonce was his spirit animal singing "I will survive" constantly) or hanging out with the crabby, but tender-hearted ship's doctor. She spends a good deal of her time avoiding the Captain, his first mate and the preacher on board as well however.

World building is...sketchy at best I'd say. Its sort of, kind of set in an alternate history Earth somewhere in the late 1700's/early 1800's. Common enough fantasy adventuring details are included and the only really interesting things to me were Clarice's oddly liberal and forward thinking ancestors/family and the Pirate island hangout place. The Pirate island fared better in the detailing, though even that is stifled in lieu of Plot Convenient Evil Other Woman appearing.

Overall there's nothing particularly wrong with the book, but it won't stand out to long time fantasy fans. If you're looking for an interesting pirate fantasy book I'd point you at CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA by A.M. Dellamonica and better sketched out world building Lackey books exist in the "Elemental Masters" series she writes solo. ( )
  lexilewords | Dec 28, 2023 |
I was desperate for a sea tale and I'd been saving this one up. Didn't quite hit the spot, but it'll work.

I'm impressed I made it as far as I did, to be honest. There were so many named places being thrown around and they were all jumbled up between real and imagined: Poland and Turkey, but Cisleithan (France? Holy Roman Empire?). Some I could muddle along with just because I've read so much that I'm familiar with obscure names for familiar places: Albion for England I'd heard, but Lochrin for London? Why? And many of those names aren't even relevant to the story telling.

To be honest, this felt like a sequel, or maybe fan fiction: we jumped right in with Clarice and I was expected to care about her. Okay, she's plucky and practical, but what else? I was also frustrated by the way things weren't holding together: why did she feel she had to disguise herself as a man if the Albionese navy allowed women? How was this her tiny little nation so forward thinking when most of the rest of the world seemed to reflect reality? Well, except for the Albionese navy and the apparent lack of slaves everywhere except Dorado. How did the Hisp-whatevers, the Caribbean equivalents, function without a slave society? Not that it would have been impossible, but it was such an integral, dark part of that area's history that it's hard to imagine it just...not being.

My biggest beef, though? The jacket copy advertised that Clarice's love interest, "to his own surprise, increasingly attracted to Clarence" [Clarice's name when she's disguised]. I was looking forward to this--surely we're modern enough to have fun here! This is roughly what I wanted to happen:

Dominick: Clarence, my handsome fellow, I do believe I'm in love with you.

Clarice: Oh no! Tragedy! My dear Dominick, I'm a woman! If you're gay, we'll never be happy.

Dominick: My heteronormative darling, no need to worry. I love you just as much as a woman as I did when you were a man. I'm bisexual!

Clarice: That's a thing?

Dominick: That is, in fact, a thing.

Clarice: But how can you be bisexual if you've never had sex?

Dominick: Shockingly, sweetheart, it is in fact possible to be bisexual without ever having had sex. I simply recognized that I was sexually attracted to people of both genders. You're my best friend. I love you either way.

Clarice: Oh, well, that's okay then. We get our happily ever after, after all!

Alas, not only did this not happen, the promised Shakespearean confusion didn't happen at all. Maybe Clarice had time to fall for Dominick, but when did he have time to fall for her?

So yes, a fun and fluffy romp with unexpected and unexplored flashes of darkness. A good beach read, but one that I'll put on the charity shelf for someone else to enjoy.


Quote Roundup

p. 161 - "[Magic] is the after-echo of the Divine Word which created the world."
I liked this idea a lot. Thought it was a clever way to account for magic in a world that sort of takes from our own.

p. 261 - Clarice is incapable of embroidery. Because masculine skill with a sword could never be paired with feminine skill with a needle, never mind how thorough Clarice's training in, well, everything. Natch. ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
I personally believe if Mercedes Lackey writes a book, it's going to be a good read. This is one that features a young heroine who must seek her own fortune, so she disguises herself as a young man and sets out for the New World.

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. ( )
  Gmomaj | Feb 27, 2021 |
I really enjoyed the first half, and how naturally everything felt building up. I would have preferred a longer book, as I felt the excitement ended quickly and the ending wrapped up too easily. I was expecting more drama and conflict, and what there was didn't last long. Still looking forward to the next books though. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
It's been a while since I sat down and read a book all in one go, so I think that says something about The House of the Four Winds. A fun read, this is more of a light-hearted swashbuckler than many of Mercedes Lackey's earlier works. I've really struggled lately to get into any of her newer novels as they all seem to fall rather flat. Some of her recent novels feel like she gave someone the plot outline and had a (not very good) ghostwriter write the thing. I actually LIKED Clarice, Dominick, Kayan, Dr. Chapman, and many of the characters. They were fairly well-rounded, or at least more than flat. The world-building was intriguing, sort of like the Elemental Masters is set in our world in Edwardian times with hidden mages, only this world Misty has built is more of an alternate reality where magic is just another branch of science.

Clarice is a princess and the oldest of 12 princesses and 1 toddler prince in the teeny tiny kingdom of Swansgaarde. The description of Clarice's parents and upbringing made me snort and roll my eyes a bit, thinking "That's rather too convenient." The royal family is super progressive about training their children to each have a trade (a rather convenient plot device, that, and a little too pat) and yet only a son can inherit the throne? Hmm... Anyway, the royal treasury can't afford 12 doweries, so it's decided that each of the princesses will go to seek their fortune at age 18. (Also rather convenient plot device for a series.) Clarice studied swordsmanship for her "trade," so she decided to go seek adventure and make a name for herself, disguised as a man.

I devour anything with even a whiff of a fairytale about it, and this book had a lovely fairytale feel to it. I also love gender-benders and the girl-masquerading-as-a-guy trope, which this book is also chock full of. All in all, I really liked it and plan to pop onto Amazon and see when the next book comes out as soon as I finish writing this review. While what I really want is another book in the 500 Kingdoms series, perhaps Misty is out of ideas there; this will do instead. :) ( )
  ElleyOtter | Nov 28, 2017 |
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DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MY MOTHER,

JOYCE RITCHE
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THE DUCHY of Swansgaarde nestled in a tiny valley in the Borogny Mountains.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Valdemar series and romantic fantasies like Beauty and the Werewolf and The Fairy Godmother. JAMES MALLORY and Lackey have collaborated on six novels. Now. these New York Times and USA Today bestselling collaborators bring romance to the fore with The House of Four Winds. 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. Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers. "--

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