Series: Twelve Houses #2
Genres: fantasy, Romance
After joining an unlikely band of soldiers and sorcerers to rescue the kidnapped regent Romar Brendan, the shiftling Kirra returns home to learn that her half-sister, Casserah, has been proclaimed heir to the land. But when Casserah refuses to go on a social tour of great Houses, Kirra shifts into her sister's form and makes the rounds-during which she unexpectedly encounters her former compatriots. The motley group of mystics and warriors faces many dangers-and Kirra places herself in peril when she falls in love with the married Lord Romar. Revealing her true identity to him, Kirra begins a tempestuous affair that places them both in mortal danger, and leads them both into the stronghold of the devious lords of the Thirteenth House...
Of the Twelve Houses books, this one has to be my least favorite. While there are moments of intense action, you’re mainly stuck in carriages and in a major group of people as the nobility moves from home to home to attend extravagant balls. In this book, Sharon Shinn moves away from showing, which was so strong in Mystic and Rider, and degrades into pure telling. We’re constantly told how each ballroom was decorated and what exactly the major characters were wearing. To tell the truth, there are only so many times you can be told what a ball gown looks like, how hair is styled, and what jewels people are wearing.
Each book in this series is a story of one of the principal characters, the exception being the final book. Mystic and Rider cover the story of Senneth and Tayse. Thirteenth House is purely about Kirra. I guess since she’s a serramarra, or noble, we’re led into the world of royalty and monied frivolity. However, it gets old after awhile.
This book does hold one of my favorite paragraphs of the entire series, though. So that’s one of the reasons while I will read the entire thing when I go through the series “one more time.” What’s interesting is that paragraph is near the end of the book. So I will read through the inanities of the social scenes to get to it. It does have a very poignant ending though that wrap the book up well, if you can make it that far.
It is an interesting part of the Twelve Houses series and gives you excellent insight into Kirra. It is still a necessary book to the entire series, so it should at least be skimmed. There are probably people out there who love these kinds of books as it was rife with love scenes (nothing explicit), parties, and bits of action that further the entire story. So it’s a necessary stop through this series.