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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: #1,032,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Angela Thompson VINE VOICE on November 19, 2008
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: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second book in the series. I thought that the 6 companions from the first book would continue on and they do make appearances, but the major character in this story is Wen, a former rider burdened by guilt. Although the second book in the series, this book can stand alone. New readers might not understand the entire back story of the 6 companions, but they don't really need to do so in order to follow Wen.

The writing is intriguing and one is soon drawn into a well crafted world where you want to stay. Her books are comfortable to read with characters who persevere. The characters are complex; the action is entertaining and there is a satisfactory ending when Wen finds a home.

Great book for a rainy afternoon
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a fun read, even though after "Mystic and Rider" I didn't actually follow the rest of the series. You don't really have to to enjoy this one, and I did love that the characters from that original novel appear in this one. However, I found that the romantic spark, the chemistry that was so well-written in "Mystic and Rider" was missing from this. Although the romance was secondary to an interesting and often exciting plot (despite a few parts that drag) I found that I felt absolutely no connection to Wen and Jasper as a couple. Senneth and Tayse sizzled, Wen and Jasper...meh. I was glad to see the end wrapped up so nicely, as I knew it would, but I just didn't find either of them a good character for a star-crossed romance.
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