Mystic and Rider

5. Mystic and Rider (The Twelve Houses) by Sharon Shinn. 448 p. Published March 2005.

Mystic and Rider is the first book in the Twelve Houses series, and opens practically mid-adventure. The good King Baryn has sent his emissaries to investigate rumors of dissent and unrest among the southern holds of his kingdom. So out rides Senneth, a master of fire; Kirra and Donnal, shape shifters; and Tayse and Justin, members of the king’s elite force of Riders. Senneth, Kirra, and Donnal are mystics – people of the land endowed with supernatural abilities – a class that is quickly attracting fear and hate across the kingdom.

As they head south, the group comes across Cammon, another mystic of unusual talent, enslaved at a local tavern. After rescuing him, the group decides to bring Cammon along as they head southward, only to find yet another stranded soul – a wild raelynx who stalks the countryside. Senneth manages to subdue the wild cat and expand the group once more.

Finally reaching the royal houses of the south, Kirra, a Lady herself, helps Senneth in fleshing out the threat to the kingdom. As they progress father from the capital, Senneth and the others find what they most feared – rebellion and racial hostility. Soon enough Tayse is captured by a dark anti-mystic sisterhood that is quickly overpowering the religious inclinations of the populace. This leaves Senneth, quickly realizing her fondness for Tayse may be something more, in need of a way to free him and also warn the king.

While Mystic and Rider has a gripping plot, Shinn truly drives the story with her fantastic characters and their developing relationship. If there is a flaw with this book, it’s that the developing plot actually extends over the next three volumes. But when you consider how enjoyable Mystic and Rider was (despite being a random grab off the library shelf), the sequels are sure to please.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews of Mystic and Rider: Lost Between the Pages, A Garden Carried in the Pocket, Read for Joy 

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2 responses to “Mystic and Rider

  1. Pingback: The Thirteenth House « A Chain of Letters

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