Skip to main content

House of Shadows

I read Rachel Neumeier's The Floating Islands (my review) and really enjoyed it, so when I saw people begin to talk about her latest book House of Shadows I knew I wanted to read it. I bought it rather than wait to see if my library would ever get it, and boy am I glad I did. I was able to read this wonderful story that much sooner.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Orphaned, two sisters are left to find their own fortunes.
Sweet and proper, Karah's future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life... if she agrees to play their game.
Nemienne, neither sweet nor proper, has fewer choices. Left with no alternative, she accepts a mysterious mage's offer of an apprenticeship. Agreeing means a home and survival, but can Nemienne trust the mage?
With the arrival of a foreign bard into the quiet city, dangerous secrets are unearthed, and both sisters find themselves at the center of a plot that threatens not only to upset their newly found lives, but also to destroy their kingdom.


Did you read the synopsis? No? Doesn't matter. This book is about a lot more than that and, in fact, does not focus nearly as much on Karah and Nemienne as it would lead you to believe. True the story starts with them and they are used to introduce us to the world, but there's a lot more going on. And two other characters of far more import. (Or maybe they just seemed that way to me.)  Taudde and Leilis. Don't get me wrong. Nemienne and Karah are both important to the story, but Taudde and Leilis were what kept me reading and wanting more. I loved both of them so much. Taudde is a conflicted foreigner torn between his honor and a need for vengeance. Leilis is a bitter ensorcelled young woman who has given up on her dreams, but uses her wits to her best advantage with the life she has been left. I could have read a book all about these two and been quite happy. But that would have been a typical book, and Rachel Neumeier's books are anything but typical and so she made this one more. The shifting viewpoints and all the angles shown of every story give a richer fuller picture of what is going on. At the same time, Neumeier manages to surprise the reader from time to time. It's marvelous. The world these characters live in is rich in beauty and detail. I would love to read more about these characters and their countries.

Also there are mages, sorcery, politics, and a dragon. So you know, it's all awesome. If you are someone who breaks out in a cold sweat at the thought of reading High Fantasy, if all the strange long names and places distract you, if you don't like kingdom intrigue and political plotting, then this book isn't for you. If however, like me, you will read anything so described and are over the moon excited when it delivers everything you could want and more, then read this book. 

House of Shadows is being marketed as adult but has a definite cross-over appeal for a YA audience which is why I chose to review it here. Nemienne and Karah are both in their teens, and the other characters are in their 20's.

Comments

Keertana said…
I haven't heard too much of this author before, but her books seem to be exactly the kind I like. I love the sound of this one and you make me want to pick it up at once! Fantastic review, Brandy! :)

~Keertana
Ivy Book Bindings
Brandy said…
I hope you enjoy them. I love fantasy like this when the author is so good at the intricate world building yet makes it seem effortless.

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein

Shorter Musings MG Fantasy

Here are some shorter musings on recent MG fantasy reads. Anya and the Dragon   by Sofiya Pasternack This book is fun. It is a book full of adventure, an obvious bad guy, some more complicated morally gray area characters, and a strong, brave heroine. It is also a book about friendships, community, and fighting for what is right. All things that usually work for me really well. While I enjoyed this, I did feel it was a little overlong and there were certain plot points at the end I didn't love. However, there were things I thought were done really well, such as Anya's Jewish faith and the idea that power needs to be challenged. In the end it was a middle of the road read for me, but it is one I will certainly be recommending to dragon and fantasy adventure lovers I know! R is for Rebel   by J. Anderson Coats This is tough because I usually really like Coats's books. I had such a hard time with this one though on so many levels. It's difficult to get into because t

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the