Series: Twelve Houses #5
Genres: fantasy, Romance
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For the Rider Wen, peace in Gillengaria has only brought despair. Plagued by guilt for failing to protect her king, Wen has fled the royal city and given herself the penance of a life of wandering, helping strangers in need, making sure they remain just that: strangers.
Until the day she helps a terrified young woman abducted by an overeager suitor. The girl, she discovers, is the daughter of one of those who rose against the dead king, and is now heir to the great estate known as Fortune. Once she has delivered her safely home, Wen wants nothing further to do with the girl or her family.
But fate has other plans...For behind the walls of Fortune, Wen will find her future - and she will finally confront the ghosts of her past.
I have long wondered why this book was written. The Rider Wen was never a strong character in the other books. She appeared here and there, but nothing that danced and screamed that she was more than a side character. I bought this book mainly to finish fleshing out the rest of the Twelve Houses series. When I read the rest of the books, I usually skip reading this one as I don’t feel like it adds much to the rest of them. While the others focus mainly on the upcoming war and try to prevent the uprising, this book focuses on the aftermath of that war.
Sharon Shinn specifically mentions Wen walking out of the city one day at the end of the Reader and Raelynx, but nothing more was said about it and it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Survivor’s guilt is a known thing among soldiers and anyone who has survived a traumatic event where they lost someone important to them. Sharon Shinn must have decided it was worth looking into and seeing what happened to Wen and how others would react to her, especially given her small stature and amount of training she received while being a rider.
All in all, I think this book can be skipped unless you’re very interested in knowing why Wen walked away and what happened to her.