Reader and Raelynx by Sharon Shinn is the fourth book in the Twelve Houses series. My friend Celina of The Bookkeeper was nice enough to let me borrow her copy of this book. As always, thanks! 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. Seriously, what is up with the summaries for these books? They all have spoilers. Reader and Raelynx is about the mystic Cammon, the last of the six companions featured in the series. In this world, mystics are people who have magical abilities. Cammon’s skill lies in being able to read people – while he can’t exactly read minds, he can still get a sense of what people are feeling and what their intentions are. He can spot violence miles away because that emotion stands out. He can also sense the other companions in the series – Senneth, Tayse, Kirra, Donnal and Justin – wherever they end up in the country. Cammon’s talents are pretty useful when it comes to spotting danger. At the start of the novel, he’s assigned to protect the princess and help her in selecting the right husband. Princess Amalie needs to marry and preferably produce an heir to the throne so the succession would become less of a problem for the kingdom. So Cammon’s job is pretty important. I found it easy to like Cammon as a character because he’s nice, friendly and has good intentions. He doesn’t care about material wealth and is actually pretty clueless about social classes. He judges people based on how he feels about them and not on how influential they are to the realm.
Out of all the books that I’ve read in the Twelve Houses series, Reader and Raelynx is the one that I like the most. I feel like the rest of the books are all about the build up and the climax occurs in this book. Right from the start of the series, war has been brewing in the land and the six companions are doing everything that they can to support the king and keep the peace. There’s not much that I can say without giving away details or spoilers about the plot so let me leave it at this: Big Events happen during Reader and Raelynx and a lot of secrets are revealed. I didn’t find any of the revelations surprising but I still enjoyed reading about them. As expected, all the other companions are present in this novel and that’s one thing that I like about this series – all of the books focus on one set of characters and the story arc ties them all together. I appreciate knowing more about the characters from the other books and I liked seeing them in this one. The last novel in the series is more a companion novel because it doesn’t focus on the initial six companions and is set a couple of years after this one so no need to hurry to read it. Like I said in my reviews of the other books, I recommend this series to fans of epic fantasy. Overall, I still like the Samaria series more than the Twelve Houses novels but at this point, Sharon Shinn is pretty much an auto-buy (or auto-read) author for me.
I couldn’t find a copy of the book cover with a higher resolution but I did see the artwork used for it on Tumblr: