Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn

Dark Moon Defender is the third book in the Twelve Houses series by Sharon Shinn. Reading order: Mystic and Rider, The Thirteenth House, Dark Moon Defender, Reader and Raelynx, Fortune and Fate. Should the books be read in order? Yes. Also, don’t read any of the synopses of the latter books if you haven’t read the earlier ones. They contain spoilery bits. Even the summary for this book has some spoilers. Dark Moon Defender is all about Justin, Tayse’s fellow Rider. He’s present in the two other novels and finally gets his own story (and romance!) in this one. Justin has been assigned on a spy mission. The king wants concrete proof that Coralinda Gisseltess, head of the convent of devotees of the Pale Mother, is committing violent acts against mystics. Mystics are individuals with magical abilities and Coralinda firmly believes that the Pale Mother, the moon goddess, hates magic. Justin settles down in the town of Neft as a stable-hand. He tries to keep a low profile so as not to attract attention. Without meaning to, he befriends Ellynor, a young novice at the convent. The companions from the earlier books – Cammon, Senneth, Tayse, Kirra and Donnal – drop by to visit Justin from time to time.

I feel like Justin’s novel is different from the rest of the companions’ because he’s a King’s Rider with no magical powers unlike the other mystics in the group. Justin and Tayse are two of the best Riders in the realm. Riders are skilled fighters, devoted to the king. For some reason, I wasn’t as convinced of their incredible fighting skills as I’d like. I realized that it’s mostly because the author tells the reader that they’re excellent fighters instead of showing their prowess through the Riders’ actions. It’s different with the mystics because there are several instances for them to demonstrate their power. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted. Also, it’s the first book in the series where the companions spend time apart. Justin is all by himself so the story jumps from his point of view to one of the other characters. The scenes that I liked the most were the ones where they’re all together. This storytelling format reminded me of Sharon Shinn’s Samaria series and Justin’s book, in particular, is similar to Angel-Seeker. Why? There’s forbidden romance in both books and the characters need to sneak around in order to be together.

I did enjoy reading the book as a whole because we get to learn more about other aspects of the world – Ellynor’s heritage and details about the convent when the story shifts to her point of view. It’s funny because even though I had problems with each book in the series so far, the author has managed to make me care enough about the characters to continue reading about them. As such, I feel like this is a series that I can recommend to anyone who’s looking to sink his or her teeth into a fantasy series that’s easy to follow. I’m going to stick with the series until the end. I’m already in the middle of the next book, Reader and Raelynx, and I think it’s more exciting than the other books because it’s marked with climactic events that the previous books have been leading up to.

Other reviews:
Dear Author
Songs and Stories
The Melander Bookshelf
Rosario’s Reading Journal

13 thoughts on “Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn

  1. I am following your progress through this series with interest! As for me, I finished the series just as I was starting my book blog, so I don’t have any notes on what I had thought of Dark Moon Defender.

    I hope you keep on readin’ and reviewin’ these – I’ll have more to chime in on the final two books!

    • Sandy, I’m glad you’re enjoying following my reviews of the series! I’ve actually finished Reader and Raelynx and I’ll try to post a review of it soon. LOL I have so many books that I read before I started the blog and I want to reread them so I can feature them here but I don’t have the time.

      • I think I mentioned somewhere here that I have. We were passing around a copy of Archangel at the Litsoc room when I was in college, so I discovered her pretty early in her career. Also, John Jude Palencar covers with angels on them? I would probably have bought them even if I hadn’t known who the author was. LOL.

      • Oops sorry, I forgot that you’ve read it already! I’ve read all of the Samaria books except for Angelica. You should do a post about the covers of the Samaria series on your blog. 😛 Speaking of your blog, link it to your name when you comment here. 😀

      • LOL. Sorry! I keep forgetting to log onto wordpress first before posting a comment. I should probably re-read all the Samaria books before doing any posts about them. And incidentally, I must be in the minority here, since I actually prefer Susanna from Angelica over Rachel from Archangel.

      • LOL I don’t think you have to login to comment? Just include your URL when you leave a comment instead of just your email. I’m not surprised that you liked Susanna more, Rachel was a bit annoying. It look her long enough to finally accept Gabriel. Still ended up loving that book though.

  2. re reader and raelynx – I would be happy to see a review, but you have my respect for even wishing to review the Shinn angel books (much less these). I completely agree with you about not having the time to review pre-blog books. Sometimes I can’t quite remember the books I *read* pre-blog, much less come up with a review.

    I am still catching up on what I read this summer – look at the shortcuts I am taking… (for example on this back-fill review) http://bibliophage91.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/komarr-lois-mcmaster-bujold/

    • Oh, I already have reviews of the Samaria books here on the blog. I just need to read and review Angelica. 🙂 Me too, I can’t remember some of the details of the books that I read before starting the blog. That’s why having a blog makes it easier to remember what I thought of books.

      I have copies of the Vorkosigan books but I haven’t read all of them. I’ve only read Young Miles.

  3. Just so you know I have been reading all of your reviews of the series with interest as well. I’m not sure if they are encouraging me to start it though? Lol. I think I will at least read the first book and see if I want to go on after that. It IS Sharon Shinn? Maybe I should finish the Samaria series though first.

    • LOL sorry about that! I know I haven’t been that enthusiastic about the books but they’re good reads if you’re interested in romantic fantasy (and I always am). It’s just that I haven’t fallen in love with the series and i guess that shows in all of my reviews. It IS Sharon Shinn and she’s pretty much an auto-buy (or auto-read) author for me. I have one last Samaria book to read, Angelica, but who knows when I’ll get around to that.

  4. Pingback: Reader and Raelynx by Sharon Shinn « Chachic's Book Nook

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