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Fortune and Fate Hardcover – November 4, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
Book 5 of 5 in the Twelve Houses Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following 2007's Reader and Raelynx, which wrapped up the original Twelve Houses fantasy quartet, this rousing sword-and-sorcery romance introduces Wen, a former elite warrior Rider haunted by her failure to protect King Baryn during a rebellion and heartbroken by her lover's marriage to another. After Wen saves teen heiress Karryn, daughter of one of the rebels, from kidnapping and ravishment, Karryn's uncle and guardian, Jasper Paladar, rewards Wen with an offer to train a cadre of bodyguards. Reluctant at first, Wen gradually faces her fears and falls in love with Jasper, the soul of sexy scholarly gallantry. Despite the tweeny dialogue and predictable derring-do, Shinn combines a substantial range of appealing characters with a solid reinforcement of women's capabilities in peace and war, making the story comfortable, if not profound. (Nov.)
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About the Author

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by  Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 403 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; 1st edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441016367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441016365
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a huge Sharon Shinn fan. Archangel (Samaria, Book 1) is one of my very favorite comfort reads and so is Mystic and Rider (The Twelve Houses, Book 1)--the first in Shinn's Twelve Houses series. Her characters become friends so quickly I forget what life was like before I read them. That's why the Twelve Houses series is so much fun. It follows a disparate group of six travelers who, despite differences of rank, temperament, and fundamental beliefs, become first allies and later friends. Shinn tracks this six of them through four books, eventually wrapping up each thread of the overarching story. Or so we thought. FORTUNE AND FATE is a companion novel to the Twelve Houses series. An unexpected and delightfully welcome fifth volume.

Wen was a King's Rider, one of fifty elite guards dedicated to protecting the king with their lives if necessary. Until the king died. On her watch. Shortly after, Wen resigned her post and rode out of the capital city forever. Two years later she is still roaming the countryside, searching for people to save in a futile attempt to atone for her sins. For failing to save her liege. Determined not to connect with anyone ever again, Wen finds herself reluctantly accepting a post as captain of the guard at House Fortunalt after saving the young serramarra's life. Answering to the serramarra's guardian, the bookish Jasper Palladar, Wen promises to stay for a month at most. Long enough to train a rough guard. Not long enough to form any attachments or find any reasons to stay.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While the main 6 from the other Twelve Houses books (Senneth, Tayse, Justin, Cammon, Kirra, and Donnal) do make appearances the primary focus of this book is on Wen, a former Rider who felt that she disgraced her king by letting him die. She flees Ghosenhall and spends years wandering the countryside until fate causes her to cross paths with the heir to one of the Houses that had revolted against her king. Over the course of the story she comes to love the House and, while I won't spoil the ending, it is a delightful outcome for her and everyone else.

The romance between her and a scholarly (in our modern language, nerdy) noble is a delightful feature. The tough and burly swordswoman and the aristocrat is a very nice role reversal from the traditional pairing of warrior man and damsel-in-distress so common to fantasy stories. It was refreshing and I found it satisfying.

I do recommend this book although it definitely isn't a stand-alone novel...while Shinn does explain some of the backstory it would be better for the reader to read all the other Twelve Houses books first.

I liked this one a lot and I look forward to reading more in this series.
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Format: Hardcover
Fortune and Fate isn't the best of the Twelve Houses books, let me say that right out front. To that end, it certainly isn't Sharon Shinn's best book. Put it next to The Shape-Changer's Wife or Summers at Castle Auburn, and it looks pretty pale, but that doesn't make Fortune and Fate a bad book.

Fortune and Fate finds us following Wen, Rider gone awol with a major guilt trip, traveling the country and doing good deeds. One of these good deeds (the first and most important as far as the plot is concerned) puts the heir of one of the Twelve Houses in Wen's debt. Houston we have plot development.

Though the story centers around Wen (with snippets from Senneth like every other Twelve Houses book), the most important point is how the new generation is acting as stewards of their Houses and their country. We see the new Queen working to make changes for her people, her 'king' connecting with the common folk, and young heirs struggling to better themselves and not become like the mothers and fathers who brought ruin on their country just a few years before.

A worthy continuation to the Tweleve houses books, and hopefully a stepping stone to more!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a spinoff of Shinn's previous series "Twelve Houses." It is set in Gillengaria two years after Amalie take the throne after a bitter civil war and features the former King's Rider, Wen.

The first question regarding this book is if it can stand alone as a novel or if it is too dependent on the previous story line. After much consideration, I think this book can stand alone as an independent novel. It is much like 'Dark Moon Defender' in the sense that the story is independent enough to enjoy without previously reading the "Twelve Houses" books. Granted, some of the subplay in the text would be lost on a new reader but Shinn does a reasonable job filling in the missing bits of information. Further, this book focuses on a character that we only met briefly before and takes place in a place in a part of Gillengaria that wasn't visited in the previous books.

This book is easy to read with a nice story. I've only given it 3 stars, however, because it feels somewhat disjointed. 'Fortune and Fate' is very much a story independent of the other tales - even Wen's "demons" could be explained without reading the other books - but it seems that an effort to link this story with the other books, and that effort falls short. Fans of the "Twelve Houses" know Cammon, Senneth, Tayse, Justin, Kirra, and Donnal quite well by now. In this tale, Kirra and Donnal's appearance lacks depth and purpose - they seem to stop by for the sake of stopping by without adding any dimension to the tale. Much is made in the whole series of Senneth and Tayse's aversion to being apart but Senneth is casually directed to travel with Justin without Tayse's presence or even opinion. [I actually reread that part, thinking I had missed something.
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