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Fortune and Fate (Twelve Houses, #5) Audible Audiobook

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For the Rider Wen, peace in Gillengaria has only brought despair. Plagued by guilt for failing to protect her king, Wen has fled the royal city and given herself the penance of a life of wandering, helping strangers in need, making sure they remain just that: strangers. Until the day she helps a terrified young woman abducted by an overeager suitor. The girl, she discovers, For the Rider Wen, peace in Gillengaria has only brought despair. Plagued by guilt for failing to protect her king, Wen has fled the royal city and given herself the penance of a life of wandering, helping strangers in need, making sure they remain just that: strangers. Until the day she helps a terrified young woman abducted by an overeager suitor. The girl, she discovers, is the daughter of one of those who rose against the dead king, and is now heir to the great estate known as Fortune. Once she has delivered her safely home, Wen wants nothing further to do with the girl or her family. But fate has other plans...For behind the walls of Fortune, Wen will find her future - and she will finally confront the ghosts of her past.


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For the Rider Wen, peace in Gillengaria has only brought despair. Plagued by guilt for failing to protect her king, Wen has fled the royal city and given herself the penance of a life of wandering, helping strangers in need, making sure they remain just that: strangers. Until the day she helps a terrified young woman abducted by an overeager suitor. The girl, she discovers, For the Rider Wen, peace in Gillengaria has only brought despair. Plagued by guilt for failing to protect her king, Wen has fled the royal city and given herself the penance of a life of wandering, helping strangers in need, making sure they remain just that: strangers. Until the day she helps a terrified young woman abducted by an overeager suitor. The girl, she discovers, is the daughter of one of those who rose against the dead king, and is now heir to the great estate known as Fortune. Once she has delivered her safely home, Wen wants nothing further to do with the girl or her family. But fate has other plans...For behind the walls of Fortune, Wen will find her future - and she will finally confront the ghosts of her past.

30 review for Fortune and Fate (Twelve Houses, #5) Audible Audiobook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melindam

    This Fifth Installment of the Twelve Houses series has turned out to be my favourite, though I loved Books 1-4 before. This book, this book .... It was the perfect read for me: I loved every page. I wanted to finish it in one reading and yet I kept stopping so that I didn't finish. :) It ended too soon anyway. It was actually a makeover story and I am a sucker for makeover stories. Former King's Rider Wen, leaving Ghosenhall after King Baryn's death and trying to deal with her demons (survivor's g This Fifth Installment of the Twelve Houses series has turned out to be my favourite, though I loved Books 1-4 before. This book, this book .... It was the perfect read for me: I loved every page. I wanted to finish it in one reading and yet I kept stopping so that I didn't finish. :) It ended too soon anyway. It was actually a makeover story and I am a sucker for makeover stories. Former King's Rider Wen, leaving Ghosenhall after King Baryn's death and trying to deal with her demons (survivor's guilt & having failed) finds her way to Fortunault lands. She inadvertently saves young Karryn Fortunault, to-be-marlady of the land, and agrees to build a guard for her upon her guardian's request. Good thing too, as it seems, someone wants Karryn dead to seize power for themselves. In the meantime, Cammon, consort to Queen Amalie, decides to tour the Southern houses to see how the land lies, in company of his closest friends. First the 2 stories run in parallel, switching POVs, and toward the end they become intertwined. It is good to learn what exactly happened after the war the Southern houses waged on the Crown (that was a kind of question mark for me at the end of Reader and Raelynx ). It is lovely to meet the circle of friends again. But surprisingly -for me- the most satisfactory storyline was Wen's: how she is building up the guard, how her relationship with the guardsmen/women, with Karryn, with Jasper (uncle/guardian to Karryn) is developing. How she finally learns to forgive herself and puts her demons to rest. How the world in general is put to rights again. I found it so easy to relate to Wen as a character. I loved her loyalty, determination, bravery & her vulnerability. I just did not want the story to end and would happily read a 6th/7th installment to this series any day.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I think this is my favorite of all the books in the Twelve Houses series, which is unfortunate because I had to slog my way through several I didn't much enjoy to get to it. Fortune and Fate nicely inverts several of the usual romance genre tropes -- instead of the hero being a brooding ball of angst over a mistake in his past, here the heroine suffers from some pretty serious survivor's guilt. Additionally, it is the hero who is the nurturing, empathetic one, who waits for the heroine to get he I think this is my favorite of all the books in the Twelve Houses series, which is unfortunate because I had to slog my way through several I didn't much enjoy to get to it. Fortune and Fate nicely inverts several of the usual romance genre tropes -- instead of the hero being a brooding ball of angst over a mistake in his past, here the heroine suffers from some pretty serious survivor's guilt. Additionally, it is the hero who is the nurturing, empathetic one, who waits for the heroine to get herself together. It is a seriously refreshing use of character traits not based in gender stereotypes in romance, and for that I am deeply grateful. And that Wen is short and not some towering Amazon -- even better! I also appreciate that both the hero and heroine aren't, well, young and stupid, so they approach having a sexual relationship with a sort of understanding directness, rather than flying off into the clouds with every touch of a hand. There's still passion there, but they don't let it make them stupid. This is such a satisfying read, and I'm a little disappointed that there hasn't been another book following it, since there are some suggestions of things to come plotwise that it would be nice to see resolution to. But four years have passed since it's been published and no new book appears to be forthcoming, so I suppose that's not going to happen. It does, however, function very well as a standalone novel, and there is enough detail given of events in previous books that it's not really necessary to read them to enjoy this one. So, I recommend it to fans of fantasy romance. Without caveats, even!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I am a huge Sharon Shinn fan. Archangel is one of my very favorite comfort reads and so is Mystic and Rider--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 book I am a huge Sharon Shinn fan. Archangel is one of my very favorite comfort reads and so is Mystic and Rider--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. Meanwhile, the queen's consort wends his way through the southern Houses on a journey to sound out the new Thirteenth House nobles as well as the upcoming generation of marlords and marladies. The story alternates chapters between Wen's sojourn at Fortune and Cammon's journey through Gisseltess, Rappengrass, and Fortunalt. But this is essentially Wen's own story. And I was pleased to find myself soon attached to this tough young woman so intently bent on self destruction. It was naturally extremely pleasant to spend time with Cammon, Senneth, and Justin again as well. But Ms. Shinn does a good job of extending her readers' affections to Wen and her particular set of troubles. The secondary characters are well-drawn and sympathetic, especially Jasper, Karryn, and Ryne--the young lordling from Coravann. This is a quieter, more self-contained novel than the previous Twelve Houses books. It unfolds slowly as Wen struggles to retire her ghosts and maintain some distance from those who would try to keep her. As Jasper quietly works to rebuild a house in disgrace and extend Wen's stay at Fortune. As Karryn learns who she can trust and how to differentiate herself from her parents' failures. A very fine coda to a simply wonderful series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Awesome end to a great series! These are Adult fantasy, adventure, romance books that are fun, fast paced and an all around great read! These are some of my go to reread books when I just want something I know I love and want to just enjoy. Read the whole series many times. Another good one is the Truth series by Dawn Cook

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I've liked Shinn's books in the past, for the most part. Some more than others, of course. But this one felt like she just wasn't ready to let the world go. I can understand that. So often, fantasy stories end with the huge conflict. There is no sense of what comes later; the rebuild, reassembling of lives, fortunes and nations. This novel does do that a bit, which is interesting. But. You can call me a prude (and you wouldn't be the first, and you won't be the last), this trend of increasing the I've liked Shinn's books in the past, for the most part. Some more than others, of course. But this one felt like she just wasn't ready to let the world go. I can understand that. So often, fantasy stories end with the huge conflict. There is no sense of what comes later; the rebuild, reassembling of lives, fortunes and nations. This novel does do that a bit, which is interesting. But. You can call me a prude (and you wouldn't be the first, and you won't be the last), this trend of increasing the amount of sex action and sex description is one that I can live without. Porn is just as damaging when it is descriptive in print as it is when it is visual images. I'd have liked this book better if Shinn had kept things out of the bedroom (those things come with doors for good reason).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Raegan

    I wasn’t sure if reading this book would be worth my time since it didn’t follow one of the main 6 but I am so glad I read it! Wen’s story was so good and we still get to have a reunion with our old friends and hear what life is like in Gillengaria two years after the war! I really enjoyed it and think it is worth the read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    This is one of my favorite fantasy novels. I love it and have read it at least three times. The protagonist Wen is on the run from her private demons. Two years ago, she was a King’s Rider, a respected member of the elite palace guard, until a disaster struck: during her watch, the king was assassinated. Despite being gravely wounded while protecting the king, Wen feels that she had failed in her duty. Afflicted by the survivor’s guilt, she abandoned the Riders and her own self-respect. Now, she This is one of my favorite fantasy novels. I love it and have read it at least three times. The protagonist Wen is on the run from her private demons. Two years ago, she was a King’s Rider, a respected member of the elite palace guard, until a disaster struck: during her watch, the king was assassinated. Despite being gravely wounded while protecting the king, Wen feels that she had failed in her duty. Afflicted by the survivor’s guilt, she abandoned the Riders and her own self-respect. Now, she roams the country aimlessly, trying to atone. The entire above paragraph is a back story, which the author dishes out skillfully in bits and pieces. The story starts two years later, when Wen helps a sixteen-year-old girl Karryn escape kidnappers. Karryn’s guardian Jasper, impressed by Wen’s military skills, offers her the position of the Captain of the House guards. Wen grudgingly accepts but warns her employer not to rely on her. She isn’t worthy of his trust. Or so she thinks. Thus starts an unlikely romance between Wen, a professional soldier who never read a book in her life, and Jasper, a soft intellectual who reads non-stop, writes historical tractates, but never held a weapon. Their contradictions attract each other, underlining the writer’s original approach to a love story. To lift Wen’s self-esteem, Jasper recites poetry to her. She, on the other hand, plans defensive strategies and dreams of Jasper’s bed. She also asks him the meanings of longer words. He is glad to explain, while the reader smiles and avidly turns the pages. With the country’s political intrigues in the background, the woman soldier and the man poet are trying to discover ways into each other’s hearts while attempting to keep Karryn safe. Multiple little skirmishes, kidnappings, and betrayals dot the storyline, as the tension mounts, but nothing can detract the happy reader from the writer’s mastery of language and her subtle, wry humor. Enriched by the reverse gender roles – a tormented female warrior who can’t forgive herself and a complacent male scholar who never knew doubt before, except in the academic sense – the story develops quietly, typically Shinn, defying the genre prescriptions. Instead of bloody battles or incredible fits of magic, two lonely souls grope for healing and understanding, finally finding both in each other’s arms. Densely populated by many colorful secondary characters, some of whom fans have known since the introduction of the series, the novel is in essence a love story of Wen and Jasper, a romantic fantasy at its best. Highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sho

    This is the last book of Twelve Houses series by Shinn sensei and I am so sad my adventure with all the characters has ended. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The audible version of this book has an introduction by Shinn sensei in which she states that this is actually one story made into separate books. I didn't appreciate what she said until I've read all the books in the series.I thought in first book the characters and the plot weren't developed as much as her other books. I am sorry and This is the last book of Twelve Houses series by Shinn sensei and I am so sad my adventure with all the characters has ended. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The audible version of this book has an introduction by Shinn sensei in which she states that this is actually one story made into separate books. I didn't appreciate what she said until I've read all the books in the series.I thought in first book the characters and the plot weren't developed as much as her other books. I am sorry and happy to find that I was very very wrong! I loved the character development as well as the deepening bond between the characters as I proceeded to read the books. In each volume one character is the focus and his or her love story unfolds. The characters are from all walks of life which makes their stories more interesting and their interaction with each other enjoyable. The best part is the story of the companionship and the Kindom of Gillengaria that started in the first volume continues to develop throughout the 5 books. I love that the last book was kind of a coda, describing what happens after the big war and its consequent peace. People who love reading what happens after HEA will love it. Again it was a wonderful ride! and I am sure I will reread the series in the future. highly recommended!

  9. 4 out of 5

    KelceyTheLibrarian

    Wen has cut herself off from everything she ever knew and resigned herself to wandering and performing acts of kindness for strangers as penance for the sin she feels she has committed. However, a chance encounter lands in a situation that could really use her unique skills, but is Wen herself ready for the feelings and issues from her past the situation will force her to face? I am currently experiencing a number of feelings brought on by this book and I don't think I am dealing too well. First Wen has cut herself off from everything she ever knew and resigned herself to wandering and performing acts of kindness for strangers as penance for the sin she feels she has committed. However, a chance encounter lands in a situation that could really use her unique skills, but is Wen herself ready for the feelings and issues from her past the situation will force her to face? I am currently experiencing a number of feelings brought on by this book and I don't think I am dealing too well. First of all, I went in with medium expectations. While I have come to love Sharon Shinn as an author and am thoroughly invested in this series, I just figured this was a last ditch effort to keep going after book 4 since the ending seemed to tie up most loose ends already (and especially since I knew this was the last one going in). As I read the book, I couldn't believe how invested I was in the story and the main character Wen. I really thought she would be too distant from the stories and characters that I love, but that was not the case. Wen is an incredibly complex character who is a complete departure from what we have had over the course of the first four novels. At some point, every character before may have felt lonely or despaired of a certain situation, but they knew that they had a support network and they had at least one person who always supported them in some capacity. Wen feels that she has no one and she can only find peace by continuing to wander and do random good deeds for people who truly need them. As per usual, I loved all the characters. I would have loved seeing more of Karryn, especially interaction between her and Wen. It was a good plot with a nice cameo from all of our old favorites. Finishing left me more satisfied than I thought I would be, but even more disappointed than ever that are no more Twelve Houses books. I zipped through this in less than 24 hours. It is necessary to read the rest of the series first but I found this to be an excellent conclusion!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sigh. I guess I went into Fortune and Fate with high expectations, and was kind of disappointed. While I was reading Reader and Raelynx I knew that Wen would be the main character of Fortune and Fate, so I tried to pay a little more attention to her in R&R, and was kind of curious to see what her story would hold. This story picks up two years after the final war in R&R, following Wen on her journey of self-discovery. She has passed her time saving anyone she comes across on her aimless travels. Sigh. I guess I went into Fortune and Fate with high expectations, and was kind of disappointed. While I was reading Reader and Raelynx I knew that Wen would be the main character of Fortune and Fate, so I tried to pay a little more attention to her in R&R, and was kind of curious to see what her story would hold. This story picks up two years after the final war in R&R, following Wen on her journey of self-discovery. She has passed her time saving anyone she comes across on her aimless travels. That is how she meets up with Karryn, a serramarra who has been kidnapped. Once Wen saves the day she soon takes up a job working as Karryn’s professional guard. Wen’s character just didn’t do anything for me. She was too manish, and had no famine qualities at all. She was all business all the time and for me was a bit too harsh. Senneth, Kirra, Amalie and Ellynor all are powerful, strong women and still they are women. You can see that they each have their own charm and still maintain a certain amount of femininity. Wen is just too much a tomboy for my taste. I just couldn’t relate to her. And as for her relationship with Jasper, I have only one word…yawn. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two, and frankly I don’t really see what he sees in her. I love the Twelve House series and will probably consider R&R the final book in the series and this more of a companion novel. I just didn’t really see the point of this book. Maybe if she had placed the story way in the future with all new characters it would have been different, but for me it was missing the magic of the other books.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Becca C

    I've been a fan of Shinn for a while now, but she definitely has this habit of staying where she's comfortable, and, as a result, she usually ends up grinding each of her long-running series into the ground. She did it with the Samaria books, and now she's done it with the Tweleve Houses. Fortune and Fate departs from the "original crew" of characters that forged the bonds of friendship in Mystic and Rider (because all their stories have already been resolved with true love and marriage) and for I've been a fan of Shinn for a while now, but she definitely has this habit of staying where she's comfortable, and, as a result, she usually ends up grinding each of her long-running series into the ground. She did it with the Samaria books, and now she's done it with the Tweleve Houses. Fortune and Fate departs from the "original crew" of characters that forged the bonds of friendship in Mystic and Rider (because all their stories have already been resolved with true love and marriage) and for this fifth book she delves into the tale of a secondary character, a former King's Rider named Wen, who, ever since the end of the war, has been running from the pain and tragedy of her failures and ghosting around the country trying to save random strangers in your typical atonement-seeking byline. And, as per the Shinn Romance Formula, Wen meets up with someone who is her complete and total opposite (and thus, her Soulmate), and the powers of love, duty, and friendship eventually provide the balm that soothes her wounded soul. Yawn.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    This book is my favourite of the series despite having much less political and kingdom wide goings on. I loved the story of Wen, hurting and healing, and I fell in love with Fortune and all it's inhabitants. This was very character driven, but at times I wished the other 6 characters from the series would bugger off so we could get back to Wen and Jasper. I truly get why other people call this the weakest in the series. To me, it has a quiet sneak up-on-you charm. This book is my favourite of the series despite having much less political and kingdom wide goings on. I loved the story of Wen, hurting and healing, and I fell in love with Fortune and all it's inhabitants. This was very character driven, but at times I wished the other 6 characters from the series would bugger off so we could get back to Wen and Jasper. I truly get why other people call this the weakest in the series. To me, it has a quiet sneak up-on-you charm.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    It's possible I got old between the other Twelve Houses books and this. I remember the Twelve Houses as charming old-school fantasy novels with great character growth and setting development. Fortune and Fate feels like a fanfic of that: Wen is a character who has been totally present all along, don't you remember she was Justin's BFF? And the Queen loves her so much she won't replace her even though she went missing? So, since she's totally a central character we know and love, here's her story It's possible I got old between the other Twelve Houses books and this. I remember the Twelve Houses as charming old-school fantasy novels with great character growth and setting development. Fortune and Fate feels like a fanfic of that: Wen is a character who has been totally present all along, don't you remember she was Justin's BFF? And the Queen loves her so much she won't replace her even though she went missing? So, since she's totally a central character we know and love, here's her story, with ample name-dropping of the (actual) main characters and a side plot about the actual main characters that's completely unrelated. So, yeah, as a Gillengaria novel this fails -- and there are more loose threads than I could handle on that end: "there's so much more crime in the Southern lands than there has been, let's investigate." That ended up being completely dropped. "What if people aren't still loyal to the queen?" Oh well, everyone loves Cammon, so should be fine. On the other hand, Wen's story was sweet, if predictable. There's room in my life for a cozy old-school fantasy about female warriors.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolynn Markey

    At first I didn't like this one because it wasn't about one of the main characters. But as I got into it it has become my second favorite, just a smidgen behind Reader (#4). It's a beautiful story of redemption and love. At first I didn't like this one because it wasn't about one of the main characters. But as I got into it it has become my second favorite, just a smidgen behind Reader (#4). It's a beautiful story of redemption and love.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adina

    I don't know what makes Sharon Shinn's stories so compelling. The plot could probably be resumed in three phrases and the romantic development is so lacking in drama the book barely deserves the "romantic novel" title. And yet, I kept coming back to "Fortune and Fate" and I finished it in less than four days... I don't know what makes Sharon Shinn's stories so compelling. The plot could probably be resumed in three phrases and the romantic development is so lacking in drama the book barely deserves the "romantic novel" title. And yet, I kept coming back to "Fortune and Fate" and I finished it in less than four days...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Estara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For some reason, although I have some really good and expected new books and manga around, I really needed a comfort re-read this week and Fortune and Fate really fit the bill. The Donato Giancola cover looks a lot like I would imagine Willa/Wen to look like, although you really need to ignore the way she draws the sword ^^. Except for the first Twelve Houses volume this is my favourite of the books in the series - I like Senneth and Tayse's love story best - because it happens after all the big r For some reason, although I have some really good and expected new books and manga around, I really needed a comfort re-read this week and Fortune and Fate really fit the bill. The Donato Giancola cover looks a lot like I would imagine Willa/Wen to look like, although you really need to ignore the way she draws the sword ^^. Except for the first Twelve Houses volume this is my favourite of the books in the series - I like Senneth and Tayse's love story best - because it happens after all the big revolutions and fights are over and is for a large part slice-of-life new ordering of the country with a particular focus on Fortunalt. Wen/Willa never came much into focus for me in the other books, because she wasn't part of the core group of the companions, just another Rider, albeit a female. So it's easy to emphatize with a depressed, PTSD former professional soldier without superpowers (mystic magic) trying to find some sense to her life or at least a honorable death, when she failed to die before the liege she was defending (very samurai-ethos I thought here). Not being a fighter I can't judge how well Shinn's fights works, but the book doesn't focus on the fighting but the creation of a new guard to help secure a future for Karryn Fortunalt the teenager daughter who, together with her mother Serephette, were among the innocent victims of the marlord of Fortunalt's greed and excesses. But the book would only be half as interesting - after all for creating a working army and the daily training I could just as well read the first Paksenarrion book by Elizabeth Moon again - if Wen didn't have the foil of the genteel, poetic, bookish uncle of Karryn's who is a man of honour but not of martial valor and has to run the country until Karryn comes of age. Jasper Peladar is probably in his mid-forties, where Wen is in her mid-thirties and he had the luxury of never having to deal with physical danger or challenges up to now. His wife, deceased five years before the events in the book, helped him with his scholarly pursuits and enjoyed them just as much, his grown daughter has become a teacher. He is fascinated by Wen from the first and he is a very good judge of character. So the interplay between the two, with Wen reluctantly deciding to build Karryn a guard that she can depend upon and only leaving when that is done and Jasper trying to carefully find out more about her person and becoming emotionally fascinated as well... that's what makes the book for me. And I think it is the main focus intended by the author as well. It's not all easy - Shinn is really good at exploring the way two totally differently inclined personas might develop a fascination but also misunderstandings and upsets on their way to better understanding. Both Wen and Jasper ALWAYS respect the other, even when they can't understand them at all. There's another plot thread with an excursion that Cammon is making to the former revolutionary counties, but really that is just so we can see some more of the old group (we even get some Kirra and Duncan, although they don't play into the eventual meeting with Wen) AND so that Wen can finally articulate her new-found peace with the fact that she didn't die before King Barryn and that she has found a new home.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I just started listening to my new audiobook of Mystic and Rider, the first book in this series. It included a brief introduction by Sharon Shinn herself, in which she states that she conceived of this five-book series as a single story, and that the central theme is friendship. This description fits the feeling I got as I read the series’ final volume, Fortune and Fate. After being disappointed twice by Shinn’s other work (Heart of Gold and Wrapt in Crystal), it feels so good to fall back in lo I just started listening to my new audiobook of Mystic and Rider, the first book in this series. It included a brief introduction by Sharon Shinn herself, in which she states that she conceived of this five-book series as a single story, and that the central theme is friendship. This description fits the feeling I got as I read the series’ final volume, Fortune and Fate. After being disappointed twice by Shinn’s other work (Heart of Gold and Wrapt in Crystal), it feels so good to fall back in love with the Twelve Houses. My favorite aspects of this book: 1) Its hero is a female warrior, and her badassery is shown rather than told. Yet this book avoids one of the common pitfalls of today’s female-warrior stories, namely the supremely annoying “Not Like Other Girls” trope. Wen isn’t the only woman who can fight, and she doesn’t have any blanket contempt for those women whose strengths don’t lie in fighting. It makes her a more satisfying hero to root for. 2) The “girly” heroine, Karryn, grows by leaps and bounds as the book progresses, and her developing friendship with Wen is given nearly as much time as the love story. I love the way they save each other at the climax! 3) Speaking of the love story, Shinn’s romances sometimes let me down (Wrapt in Crystal, Dark Moon Defender), but when she’s on, she’s really on. This time, the love plot succeeds, as Wen and Jasper Paladar come by degrees to like and respect each other before they at last become lovers. 4) Senneth and Company return! So good to see them again. One regret: Kirra bails from their journey early, and I would so have loved to see her interact with Karryn. The journey is done. Senneth, Kirra, Donnal, Cammon, Tayse, Wen, Jasper, Karryn (and Orson, Moss, and Bryce), it’s been a privilege.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Phoenixfalls

    This was my least favorite of the Twelve Houses books. I re-read the previous four leading up to this, and when placed back to back like that their similarities began to wear on me. Four romances with class distinctions as their primary conflict got tiresome, especially when so few people actually seemed to care about the class issue in any other setting. Perhaps it is true, what the British say, that Americans simply do not understand class the way people with a history of an aristocracy do -- This was my least favorite of the Twelve Houses books. I re-read the previous four leading up to this, and when placed back to back like that their similarities began to wear on me. Four romances with class distinctions as their primary conflict got tiresome, especially when so few people actually seemed to care about the class issue in any other setting. Perhaps it is true, what the British say, that Americans simply do not understand class the way people with a history of an aristocracy do -- certainly Sharon Shinn does not. The book felt very odd, coming, as it does, after the major political and religious conflict in the series has already been resolved. It also would have been stronger if it had followed Wen solely. Shinn spent a great deal of time getting all the principle players in the previous novels together again and then to Forten city, but none of them had any real stake in the matter. They are all happy, and while I am happy that they are happy, there was no conflict in any scenes with them. I found myself even disliking Senneth a bit, reduced as she was to grousing about ball gowns and travelling -- totally out of character for her, as in every other book she has wanted nothing more than to be on the road. Wen's heartache never connected with me on anything but an intellectual level, and there was virtually no jeopardy to anyone through vast swaths of the book, despite all her vigilance. I understand that that is the usual lot of a bodyguard, but it does not make for dramatic reading. Still, Shinn does have the trick of making you care that her characters are happy, and the book reads quickly enough that it did not feel like an imposition. I only hope that she is now done with this series and can turn her imagination to something new.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    I'm a little shocked that I didn't like this novel. Normally, I love Shinn and I think she's a great fantasy writer. Ultimately, I think that this novel failed for me because the main character, Wen, just didn't have a very compelling "demon" chasing after her. She didn't die protecting the king? So what? Neither did many of her fellow riders, but she still seems to respect them... The simplicity of her self-torture simply makes Wen appear childish. In addition to that, her interaction with the I'm a little shocked that I didn't like this novel. Normally, I love Shinn and I think she's a great fantasy writer. Ultimately, I think that this novel failed for me because the main character, Wen, just didn't have a very compelling "demon" chasing after her. She didn't die protecting the king? So what? Neither did many of her fellow riders, but she still seems to respect them... The simplicity of her self-torture simply makes Wen appear childish. In addition to that, her interaction with the extremely bookish Jasper, such a "contrast" to herself, makes Wen appear ignorant as well. At one point, she questions the meaning of the word "metaphor" and her inner monologue in general reveals that she doesn't understand the majority of her conversations with the man. Immature AND ignorant? Maybe if Shinn had left one of these traits behind, I could have jumped on board. Maybe if she had set Wen up with a more likely hero closer to her age (and less patronizing, however sweetly), I could have jumped on board. As it turned out, I like my heroines a bit more intelligent and a bit less obvious than this one. A definite disappointment.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    Sharon Shinn is always a good storyteller, but it seems that she has eeked every bit of creativity she can out of her Twelve Houses series/Gillengaria world. As the fifth book in the series, we have seen it all before. The book has two subplots woven together: Wen, the de-moralized King's Rider struggles to find inner peace after failing in her duty to King Baryn in the last novel. Meanwhile, the original cast of six from the previous four books travel on a tour of the southern houses to drum up Sharon Shinn is always a good storyteller, but it seems that she has eeked every bit of creativity she can out of her Twelve Houses series/Gillengaria world. As the fifth book in the series, we have seen it all before. The book has two subplots woven together: Wen, the de-moralized King's Rider struggles to find inner peace after failing in her duty to King Baryn in the last novel. Meanwhile, the original cast of six from the previous four books travel on a tour of the southern houses to drum up goodwill towards the new Queen. Although it is nice to see Wen's character development (she was very much of a peripheral character in the first four books), the second subplot is utterly unnecessary and really just a reason to get all of Shinn's original characters back together. However, they have nothing new or interesting to add to the plot and I found that these sections dragged. Hopefully this is the last book in the Twelve Houses series and hopefully Sharon Shinn finds a new creative spark with another world.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This latest book from Sharon Shinn in her Twelve Houses series tells the tale of Wen, A king's Rider who did not die when her liege was killed and leaves the Riders to help other people in need. She aids Katyrn, the seremarra of one of the portions of the kingdom that was in revolt. Later she rescues Bryce and his sister. Bryce, who is ten is a reader and Wen decides that his talent can be of use to Kathryn's holding. Wen is eventually hired by the Guardian of Kathryn, to head the household guar This latest book from Sharon Shinn in her Twelve Houses series tells the tale of Wen, A king's Rider who did not die when her liege was killed and leaves the Riders to help other people in need. She aids Katyrn, the seremarra of one of the portions of the kingdom that was in revolt. Later she rescues Bryce and his sister. Bryce, who is ten is a reader and Wen decides that his talent can be of use to Kathryn's holding. Wen is eventually hired by the Guardian of Kathryn, to head the household guards to protect Kathryn. Told in Shinn's style this tale of Wen's leadership of the household guard, her relationship with the Guardian and at the same time a tale of Cammon's growing role as the King is a fine addition to Shinn's series. It does not solely revolve around the other characters although they are all there, but it is light easy reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mookie

    God. I loved it. Loved loved loved it. Loved this unusual pairing. I wanted something a bit *more* from Jasper, but I loved him nonetheless. Loved Karryn's transformation, Wen's capabilities, and Jasper's background. (older, lit-nerdy widower with a grown daughter and minimal interest in regency, but does it anyway cause he's cool). That dancing scene in the hall, yum. The last few pages, yum. Lots to like, some things I didn't: Senneth's character was uncharacteristically petulant, Tayse could' God. I loved it. Loved loved loved it. Loved this unusual pairing. I wanted something a bit *more* from Jasper, but I loved him nonetheless. Loved Karryn's transformation, Wen's capabilities, and Jasper's background. (older, lit-nerdy widower with a grown daughter and minimal interest in regency, but does it anyway cause he's cool). That dancing scene in the hall, yum. The last few pages, yum. Lots to like, some things I didn't: Senneth's character was uncharacteristically petulant, Tayse could've been more sympathetic to Wen. The romance lacked some sense of... intimacy? I mean yeah they had sex and were flirting throughout the majority of the book, and... well I guess Shinn checked all the boxes here, but I dunno, I wanted more. MORE :P.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jack Murphy

    This book was my favorite of the series, although it concentrates more on the story of Wen, a former Kings Rider who was unable to save her King from Assassination. Despite her near fatal wounds, she suffers survivors remorse and wanders the kingdom with a guilt she can't shake, seeking people she can help to save. Thus it is in Fortune, with the band of people Wen has saved and how she comes to finding acceptance and love in Jasper and more importantly acceptance of herself. I can truly say tha This book was my favorite of the series, although it concentrates more on the story of Wen, a former Kings Rider who was unable to save her King from Assassination. Despite her near fatal wounds, she suffers survivors remorse and wanders the kingdom with a guilt she can't shake, seeking people she can help to save. Thus it is in Fortune, with the band of people Wen has saved and how she comes to finding acceptance and love in Jasper and more importantly acceptance of herself. I can truly say that this story's appeal snuck up on me and I'd certainly recommend this book as a fitting closure to a remarkable series. Jack Murphy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    I felt that the series really ended with Reader and Raelynx. I felt that book had the big climax and the danger in this book was more trite. I didn't really care about Wen and had not connected to her in the other books. I always enjoy hearing about the main six characters but I felt that they were just added in to give them something to do. The conflict was not really there. I felt that the series really ended with Reader and Raelynx. I felt that book had the big climax and the danger in this book was more trite. I didn't really care about Wen and had not connected to her in the other books. I always enjoy hearing about the main six characters but I felt that they were just added in to give them something to do. The conflict was not really there.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Skimmed, heavily skimmed through Wen's portions. Mostly read to learn about what was happening with the original 6. While good to know, it didn't satiate my need to the continuation of their story and I should have just left myself with the ending in book 4. Skimmed, heavily skimmed through Wen's portions. Mostly read to learn about what was happening with the original 6. While good to know, it didn't satiate my need to the continuation of their story and I should have just left myself with the ending in book 4.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    The series should have ended with the fourth book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lissa Notreallywolf

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. SPOILER ALERT. Continuing on my Shinn binge, had to finish the series! I wondered what the fifth book could bring, aside from perhaps Donal's pov, which sadly we never get because he's all about Kirra. This series has been a matter of a disparate band of people on the King's mission, and the partners they picked up in the process of saving the Kingdom. Senneth seemed to be the main pov in the first novel, and it was she who liberated themystic Cammon who made the sixth partner of the sextet, but SPOILER ALERT. Continuing on my Shinn binge, had to finish the series! I wondered what the fifth book could bring, aside from perhaps Donal's pov, which sadly we never get because he's all about Kirra. This series has been a matter of a disparate band of people on the King's mission, and the partners they picked up in the process of saving the Kingdom. Senneth seemed to be the main pov in the first novel, and it was she who liberated themystic Cammon who made the sixth partner of the sextet, but her affections ultimately went to Tayce, the King's Rider who was second in command. Kirra and Donnal were an established pair who came undone and reknit their close ties, perhaps on a more fulfilled level. Justin shaken in his adulation of his superior rider Tayce eventually branches out in his affections, which soon encompass Senneth's band, and then Ellynor. Cammon makes an unexpected romantic band as well, and at the end of the last book most of the really evil people are dead, as well as the Good King Baryn. Where could Shinn go next? She goes after the lost Rider, who survived, barely, the attack on the King. Wen has horrific survivor's guilt and fails to reup on her membership when his daughter takes up being the Queen. Instead she relocates all over the queendom, saving lives to redeem herself. One of these is the serramarra Karryn, daughter and heir of the traitor Rayson Fortunalt. Wen is from humble origins, and has seen a fair amount of acting out by the nobles and the royals, but soon discovers Karryn cared little for Rayson. After returning her to her fostering "uncle" who proves to be a harmless and concerned guardian, Wen then acquires two children who are used as dupes by robbers. She determines the Fortune house is the best place to call in a favor and find them employment, but part of the draw is that she's aware that Karryn is no safer after her abduction than she was before Wen discovered her held captive in a tavern. Jasper is a scholar and has no idea how to hire or train a household guard, a position that Wen is very suited to, if she can bring herself to stay long enough to whip what dregs she can garner into a Serramarra's escort. Although Wen hasn't been seen in Senneth's company she goes through a process not dissimilar to Senneth's composition of a band. She goes by the name Willa to avoid being associated with her disgraced identity, but eventually will expose herself to Jasper. The two have played games and discussed the strange household they live in over the boards and the cards on a nightly basis, and it is less shocking that a slow ignition of romance occurs-indeed in a house with Rayson's somewhat deranged widow and a sixteen year old girl learning to lead a province, they often appear as isolated sane sparks. It's difficult to review these books without spoilers because they are so dynamic in plotline, but I found Jasper's speeches, and he does make speeches, quite wonderful. I comes as no surprise that he was chosen by Cammon, as he seems to be of similar cloth: Cammon reads souls and Jasper reads books. And Jasper, like all the male characters has to grow into a more accepting stance about an issue he feels strongly about-killing. It may also be said that Kirra has to grow to be a true lover as well, but hers seems more like growing out of something, rather than growing into a loyal partner for Donnal. She was loyal to start with, and then had to back out of a disasterous affair, much to everyone's relief, including the readers. If I were really to write a spoiler review of Fate and Fortune I would write a reveal of how Jasper and later Justin speak to Wen about her guilt, her grief and her ability to continue as a warrior, if not a Rider. A Goodread, and I may return to these books at some point to understand how the web of loyalty was woven.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Here's another audio-book-while-working re-read for 2001... Fortune and Fate is easily my favorite book in the novels of the Twelve Houses, which amuses me greatly because when I first learned it was going to be written, I was annoyed. The story is done! The protagonist is something we didn't even learn about until the fourth book of the series! Grawr! So I remember going in hesitantly and finding myself immediately in love with Wen and her brokenness, and then being flummoxed and delighted by Jas Here's another audio-book-while-working re-read for 2001... Fortune and Fate is easily my favorite book in the novels of the Twelve Houses, which amuses me greatly because when I first learned it was going to be written, I was annoyed. The story is done! The protagonist is something we didn't even learn about until the fourth book of the series! Grawr! So I remember going in hesitantly and finding myself immediately in love with Wen and her brokenness, and then being flummoxed and delighted by Jasper Paladar. It's a nice story with a little bit of traditional story-telling reversal. The female character is the warrior who wanders into town, impressing the nobleman, then working for his house and both delighting him with her differentness and shocking him with her violent ways. It hits all the beats of a bodice-ripper historical fiction/fantasy romance, except with some more meaningful character development within. Wen is surviving trauma, and doesn't feel she's worthy of trust or camaraderie at this point after failing to save the king's life (or at least nobly dying at his feet, like his Rider warriors vow to do!). It's not anything Jasper tells her that makes her feel better - she has to work through it, and he just helps her sort out her feelings with logic and empathy. We also get some narration from Senneth, to bring back the original crew from the series. All six of those characters have moved on with their lives and have grown in expected ways. Justin is probably the most important, since he's the closest to Wen and assists in bringing her back to face the Riders *and* helps her as she leads a daring rescue mission. But the others are a delight in their usual ways - Kirra is impulsive, Donnal patiently stays at her side, Tayse is solid and reliable, Senneth is the voice of both reason and frustration, Cammon... is Cammon, just now with more power. There are a few moments here and there that still kind of rub me the wrong way - like Jasper not telling Wen that the queen's consort is visiting (with Riders) until she's already committed to staying on longer at the estate (and has now slept with him). Or Jasper reading poetry. That just makes me cringe (when I'm listening to the audiobook), although I appreciate that it's his nature. The Donnal-doesn't-want-to-be-kissed-while-in-Kirra-form scene makes perfect sense, but at the same time homophobia played for laughs doesn't always sit well - especially when it isn't really needed. The new characters - Japser, Karryn, Orson, Moss, Aimee, Eggles, Davey, Bryce, Lindy, Ginny... they're all fantastic. I especially love the guard Wen puts together to defend Karryn, and how they all grow as a group. (Moss is the absolutely best and it doesn't hurt that I imagine her looking like Gwendolyn Christie....) It's just... a really well-rounded story that's straight forward and filled with empathy. It makes sense that Wen is so broken, and she's surrounded by people who understand her - but it takes a while for her to listen to them and trust herself, and prove to herself that she *can* protect people well and keep the world safe, even if she's failed before. Sometimes we need stories like this. (Also, since I mentioned this specifically regarding the last couple of Twelve Houses audiobooks... omg this narrator is great. I don't like the way she uses a flat A sound for Amalie's name - rather then ah-ma-leee - but it was absolutely freaking wonderful to hear Kirra sound like a 20-something fun-filled woman rather than Mrs. Norris from Mansfield Park. Wen's narration was spot on, and really all of the voices were fantastic.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Coco

    3.5? Not sure how to rate this one but I did enjoy it, though I read it unconventionally and see a few places Shinn could have elaborated more on. To be honest, I didn't really like how the book was formatted but I do get it. The issue is how the skip between Wen's story and Senneth's group was set up; because by the time Shinn reintroduced Senneth's group, I was already invested in Wen's story so I found it jaunting and a bit annoying. If it skipped POV earlier, I would have accepted it more re 3.5? Not sure how to rate this one but I did enjoy it, though I read it unconventionally and see a few places Shinn could have elaborated more on. To be honest, I didn't really like how the book was formatted but I do get it. The issue is how the skip between Wen's story and Senneth's group was set up; because by the time Shinn reintroduced Senneth's group, I was already invested in Wen's story so I found it jaunting and a bit annoying. If it skipped POV earlier, I would have accepted it more readily but because it was after 5/6 chapters in, all I wanted to do was get past those parts to get back to Wen. However I know Shinn was only delivering what some readers want. It is nice that we get to see the old gang again. I will admit, while I knew this book didn't focus on the old gang, I read it because I wanted to continue living in their world. So their presence was familiar and comfortable, and ultimately I was glad to see them again. But because I was so curious to see how Wen's journey progressed, I actually bookmarked all the old gang chapters and skipped most of them until the end (I don't think this is too spoiler-y) where they merge. Basically I read all of Wen's chapters and then after "finishing the story" I went back to enjoy the bantering of Senneth and the gang. Much more enjoyable to me this way. And it helped with my massive book hangover in a way since their chapters hints more to the aftermath of how Gillengaria politics and Houses sorted themselves out. My one main gripe with this story though is how the romance was handled. Shinn does subtle slow burns in the beginning well but tends to struggle a bit between the subtle signs and realization or confession of real love. I felt it was a tad abrupt in Mystic and Rider from mere interest to kissing and I felt it was ever more abrupt here. Came out of left field for me. It felt a bit forced just so that the main character would have a love interest. I wanted to see more progression/transition to make it believable. But we don't get that. And we don't get a POV from Jasper so it left me wondering how did it actually come about. It just felt odd and off to me. So I wasn't really convinced. Plus, I had a hard time imagining what Wen looked like other than being a small woman. But maybe that is just me. Or maybe the author did it on purpose so the reader can take liberties with how they would like to imagine her to be. Overall, it was nice to revisit Gillengaria. I enjoyed the story. Shinn does a nice job of making us like and feel invested in her characters. I like the close third person narration style. I like that there was a plot to this story instead of being purely a fluff piece that some authors write after the main series ends purely for a cash grab. The ending is what you would expect from Shinn so not exactly a style I prefer since I am a fan of closure and epilogues. Not to say it was a cliffhanger - she does wrap up the story - but it did leave me wanting more despite the end of this "episode". However, it is her typical style so if you have read her books in the past you know what I mean. I ended up satisfying my need for closure reading one particularly good pieces from AO3. So was this a masterpiece? No. But I felt all sorts of warm fuzzies jumping back into the world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linda Greytak

    In my opinion, this was the weakest of the Twelve Houses series. My personality did not connect with Wen at all so the book was not as enjoyable as the first three. Book 1, 2, and 3 are definite favorites that I will read over and over. Book 4 is in the middle. Here is why. Fortune and Fate was very well written and had great development of characters. However, nothing really happened in this book. There wasn't a lot of action. The first three books are full of action, romance, and adventure. Th In my opinion, this was the weakest of the Twelve Houses series. My personality did not connect with Wen at all so the book was not as enjoyable as the first three. Book 1, 2, and 3 are definite favorites that I will read over and over. Book 4 is in the middle. Here is why. Fortune and Fate was very well written and had great development of characters. However, nothing really happened in this book. There wasn't a lot of action. The first three books are full of action, romance, and adventure. This books is really about the character development of Wen, the main character. If you identify with her insecurities as a person, then you will love it. However, my personality is more like Senneth's so I couldn't quite connect. This book is about learning to love yourself, which is much the same as the first book for Senneth as well. However, there was something more dragging to it. Wen struggled with trying to atone after something that she had done. She struggled that she didn't keep her oath. It embarrassed her and it drove her to hate herself. Also, there isn't much that happens in this book either. Two kidnappings happen in the course of the book, but that is pretty much it. I was a little bored and a little tired of Wen's winning. She would be brave, acting like she didn't need help one minute, and then stuck the next. It just seems a little polar opposite to me. Some people on these reviews say that this was their favorite book. I struggle to say I will even ever read it again.

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