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This series has an amazing potential for diversity, which is both its greatest strength and its biggest flaw, but more on this later.
Basically, it appears that each book in the series will deal with one individual of the twelve royal daughters of a small pocket country. The overall setting is at its core our world in the early 1700s, but magic, called thaumaturgy, is recognized as a natural science. This first book focuses on Clarice, the eldest of the Dozen Daughters, who accepts her parents' offer of training in any occupation by choosing to become a swordmaster. The fundamental difficulty of this path is that she must first seek adventure, making a name for herself, to attract students to the school she will eventually open. Thus she goes to the new world, runs afoul of many pirates and an evil sorceress, and ends up falling in love in an entirely predictable fashion.
There is serious foreshadowing of future books in her description of her sisters. This represents the strength of the series, since no two books will be describing similar personalities. Unfortunately, this is also the greatest weakness. I actually want another Clarice book or two more than I want the story of any of the other sisters. On the other hand, there is no reason in the current publishing environment for one or more of the sisters to be granted a full trilogy. In my mind, this may be the best course for the series.
If you enjoy "The Fire Rose" or the Five Hundred Kingdoms books, you will find this book highly addictive. It is nothing special but to quote The Fire Rose, sometimes you're in the mood for an extremely sweet confection.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I discovered Mercedes Lackey in middle school, and while not the target audience of the Valdemar series, I was drawn in and have continued to do so some 12 or so years later. This new series is no exception to her rule of wondrous books with magic and adventure! The tale is full of the world building that Lackey excels in, painting a clear view and allowing immersion in it - if you're not fond of details about the ship and life aboard please sail along to another choice in book. There were moments that seemed a little rushed, as a hard copy reader pointed out, there was quick acceptance of her and relationship progression after the reveal - I'm sure due to the fact that the story was soon to wrap up. That being said, the book really was a gem. From the anguish under the rule of a cruel captain, to the desperation of the heroine and crew, to the machinations of an enchantress, and the battles with the sea herself, this book was a grand adventure. I was loathe to cease listening and eager for the commute and activities that provided the time to "read", as such I finished it in about two days.
**if you are looking for a dime store romance novel, please pass this one through. It has the level of romance/ relationship as her various Elementals works - it is present but clean. I confess that I hope this is the intent for all her books in this series, and am very eager to see the next work.
The narrator read at a splendid pace that whisks you away with the fear of whiplash as some others do. She had a great range of characters and kept them straight, without muddling of the characters. I look forward to hearing more works from her.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful