The House of the Four Winds

The House of the Four Winds - Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory The book starts out where I think they all will, at Swansgaard. A king has too many daughters and not enough in the coffers for dowries. However, they are a progressive household and teach their daughters as if they were men. Knowledge in what they might need to rule one day and the ability to go into a chosen trade. This is the first story of the oldest who sets out to make her mark as a swordsmaster (or mistress) but needs adventure and worldly experience to make her true mark on the world.

I loved the way this started out. I enjoyed seeing women being able to be the equal of men and an ability to pursue it. Clarice isn't a fool either and I enjoyed seeing a woman able to take care of herself and not be cheated along the way. She did disguise herself as a man to gain passage and safety since even in this world men respected men more than women. There is magic for those that can afford spells and Clarice is apt at identifying spelled objects. This serves her well in the coming voyage.

My biggest complaints about the story is that the romance isn't fully fleshed out. In fact it happens rather quickly and as a side note. Granted you see Clarice fall in increments for Dominick, but for his part he falls for her as soon as he knows that she really isn't a Clarence. It just didn't feel romantic. I also feel that Clarice seemed to be a bit demoted in her abilities once her gender is revealed. I expected it from the crew, but she also seemed to personify someone a bit more meek in the end. It isn't obvious, so it may not bug others as it did me. Still, it really ended being a small niggle since it happened at the very end.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. While not without it's flaws I still had a fun time on the adventure with Clarice. I love the cover and I really want to read about all 12 daughters. I recommend this book to those that enjoy fantasy, swashbuckling with a bit of magic thrown in. :)