readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

The House of the Four Winds – Mercedes Lackey ****

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Just recently, I was bemoaning the lack of good, fun pirate books. And then, entirely by coincidence, in one week I read two! (The other being Kage Baker’s excellent ‘Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key.’)

This is a more YA-oriented adventure, but I found it to be rollicking good fun. Clarice is a princess of a small duchy. Her parents have recently produced a male heir, so they’ve encouraged their twelve daughters to go out and seek their fortunes. This book follows the eldest (I suspect more daughters’ tales are forthcoming.)
Clarice’s ambition is to become a tutor of swordplay – but first she wants to travel the world and build up her reputation. For safety, she disguises herself as a man and goes by ‘Clarence.’ [Although, with the lack of detail provided about the difficulties of maintaining such a disguise, the masquerade could well have been eliminated.] But when she tries to book passage aboard a ship, all the more reputable ones are full up. She’s leery of the captain of the ‘Asesino’ – but the ship’s handsome navigator sways her better judgement, and soon she’s at sea…

Mutiny, piracy, and sorcery – along with a bit of romance – are in Clarice’s future…

I am quite certain that many of those who are expert at the sailing of ships and familiar with the facts of life at sea, will likely find quite a number of quibbles with this narrative. However, while ‘Two Years before The Mast’ it’s not, I quite enjoyed the book. I’d recommend it for fans of L.A. Meyer’s Jacky Faber series.

Much appreciation to NetGalley for the advance copy of the book! As always, my opinion is unaffected by the source…

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