Beautiful. The simple beauty of this book has struck me more forcefully now, 12 or so hours after reading the book, than it did immediately I had finiBeautiful. The simple beauty of this book has struck me more forcefully now, 12 or so hours after reading the book, than it did immediately I had finished. Simply beautiful. But then again, I wouldn't expect much less from Ms. Shinn.
So.....The Thirteenth House is book 2 in the loosely-connected Twelve Houses series. This time around, it's mostly centered around Kirra. In the doing of errands for the king, Kirra meets and falls in love with Lord Romar, Princess Amalie's uncle and regent elect. Their love is forbidden, considering that Lord Romar is married. The rest of the plot is a chronicle of how our how Kirra navigates her forbidden love while working for her King.
I thought Ms. Shinn did fabulously in the exposition of Kirra's doomed romance, tying it seamlessly into the larger plot, not allowing it to overwhelm other elements. It was nuanced, beautiful, and heartbreaking, as all doomed romances are. I enjoyed myself. I especially liked that Ms. Shinn was able to put Kirra's love life into proper context, showing it's far reaching effects on the people she loved and had come to call family, on Lord Romar's life, as well as on herself. The climax and resolution of this relationship broke my heart, but I thought it came to a very satisfying conclusion. I was especially happy for Donnal :D.
I am rambling. I don't know what to say. All told, Kirra's story is beautiful, poignant, unique, and well-narrated, as is almost every story Ms Shinn writes. Not a waste of time. At all....more
Sharon Shinn's stories are not flashy at all, but they are very memorable, and this one is no different. The story kicks off one night when a baby isSharon Shinn's stories are not flashy at all, but they are very memorable, and this one is no different. The story kicks off one night when a baby is brought to the house of the safe-keeper, who is herself in labor. The baby is the King's Bastard, and is brought to the safe-keeper because the safe-keeper can listen to and keep any secret. And so the two children, Reed (rumored King's Bastard, for the safe-keeper does not say) and Fiona.
The rest of the story is more about the coming of age of Reed and Fiona, as seen through Fiona's eyes. Like with all of Ms. Shinn's stories, it is told simply, tenderly, and quite vividly. She manages to capture people, emotions, and scenes very well in her narration. I could feel and see Reed as a restless 10-year-old boy, and Fiona as the precocious child. I could feel the sorrow of the dream-maker, and as time went by, the desires of Reed's heart, and perhaps get a glimpse of the future for Fiona. She captured the essence of childhood and the teenaged years for Reed and Fiona very, very well.
I liked it very much. But then again, it is Sharon Shinn; I didn't expect any other response to this book. ...more
I am a huge fan of Sharon Shinn, and have been looking forward to this book for almost a year now. Having read it, it is different from Ms. Shinn's usI am a huge fan of Sharon Shinn, and have been looking forward to this book for almost a year now. Having read it, it is different from Ms. Shinn's usual work in that it is set in the real world, in present-day Missouri, and reads more like magical realism than fantasy. I enjoyed it very much, but it was different.
Maria Devane has been in love with Dante for fifteen years. Dante is a shapeshifter, and as the years have gone by, he spends more and more time in his animal shape, so that he is human only a few days a month. Maria's whole life revolves around keeping Dante's secret and she lives for the moments she can be with him in his human form.
The story is quite slow-paced, but I think that was the point. It's not an epic tale, or one filled with adventure; not a lot of things happen. It's the simple story of Maria life, her daily routine, and the brief moments of happiness she has with Dante. It's about the strain of keeping his secret, of choosing to be in a relationship, which although it makes her happy, is not entirely healthy and balanced.
In the end, we find out it's also about Dante, his motivations, and the choices he's made; the new choices he can choose to make.
The issues that arise in Maria's life around the choices she makes concerning Dante, and how she reacts to issues in the lives of the people around her provides a lot of food for thought - both for Maria and for me as a reader. There are no easy answers.
It's a slow story. But it is also a simple and heartfelt story, told with grace and stark beauty, with complex characters who have complex motivations, who make difficult choices.
I waited a year for this, and although it was not what I expected at the end of that wait, I was not disappointed at all. Of course I recommend it - it's Sharon Shinn!!...more
Quatrain is a collection of four stories, each set in one of the distinctive worlds Sharon Shinn has previously written about. It was a very good readQuatrain is a collection of four stories, each set in one of the distinctive worlds Sharon Shinn has previously written about. It was a very good read, as well as so much fun to revisit theses worlds. But the novellas left me wanting more. It was all well and good to read about new characters and new adventures, but I so badly wanted to know what had happened to old favorites :(, and the paltry glimpses we got didn't do it for me. Anyway:
Flight - 4.5 stars We revisit Samaria, a few months before Gabriel is to become Archangel (or perhaps was it a year?) Well, anyway, the story unfolds away from the Eyrie, in Jordana where a complex thread unfolds between a woman called Salome, her teen niece, Raphael, our archvillain, an angel called Stephen and a web of deceit that goes back about 17-20 years to right before Raphael became Archangel (wow that is a long sentence!) I loved it. Wonderfully told in Ms. Shinn's elegant understated style. I have nothing against the story, just that I wanted to see more Gabriel,and he wasn't there. See what I mean?
Blood - 3.5 stars Okay so I took 1.5 stars off because we didn't find out anything about Kit and Nolan. Kerk was a wonderful hero, and Jalci was a good heroine. Kerk's journey was compelling blah blah blah BUT the reason this was sort of a letdown was that Kit and Nolan are such a HUGE part of why Kerk's journey is even possible, or Jalci meeting him in the first place...they are such a huge contribution to the Blueskin-Gulden-Albino world and their story was unfinished...it makes the world feel unfinished to me. To have a few throwaway lines about them as definitely not enough. Since their story was not complete, this story, although very good, also felt incomplete. See what I mean?
Gold - 4.5 stars A novella that entails Kent and Corie's daughter finding love, at least 17 years after Summers at Castle Auburn. Can't complain, really. My favorite parts of the story were the scenes involving Zara and Orlain. But really, Ms. Shinn, a few appearances by Corie or Kent wouldn't have hurt at all, instead of the hearsay we got, smh. See what I mean again?
Flame - 4 stars Really good. Makes me want to check out the other books in the Twelve Houses series.
This is one of my favorite anthologies till date, as it contains 3 of my very favorite authors.
Alphas: Origins, by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars I loved thiThis is one of my favorite anthologies till date, as it contains 3 of my very favorite authors.
Alphas: Origins, by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars I loved this one. Skill and versatility from two authors I adore. The writing is so different from the typical Ilona Andrews voice and I am excited. I am excited for a new series (fingers crossed), hopefully starring Lucas and Karina.
Nocturne, by Sharon Shinn - 5 stars My favorite. Sharon Shinn writes with elegance and an understated beauty that drags you unawares into her stories. My favorite parts of the story was the legacy Rachel and Gabriel left Samaria, and any mentions of them made me smile.
Angel's Wolf, by Nalini Singh - 4 stars Enjoyable story.
Ascension, by Meljean Brook - 2 stars Now I am not familiar with Meljean's Guardians series, so it could be why i had such a problem getting into it. It was my least favorite story, and the one I thought was least well-written. I didn't enjoy either the hero or heroine, and while I felt their lust, i felt nothing else for them. ...more
This book has a very special spot on my keeper shelf. It's one of the very first fantasies I read that I remember so very vividly. I love it to bits.This book has a very special spot on my keeper shelf. It's one of the very first fantasies I read that I remember so very vividly. I love it to bits. Truly, madly, deeply.
I will forever remain grateful to Simone for giving me this book. I know we love several books and several authors, but once every long while you read something that "gives you life", to use a slang term. For me Sharon Shinn is one of those authors. I remember so well when I read Archangel - 2002. It was like coming home.
Sharon Shinn writes like a dream. When I first read it, I couldn't get over how beautiful the writing was; even before I could focus on the characters and the story, I was entranced by her writing. I still can't get over how beautiful the writing is. The book took my breath away.
Rachel and Gabriel are some (two?) of my all-time favorite hero and heroine in all of created fiction. They have stayed with me from when I first read them 10 years ago and I have never forgotten them. I reread the book with a friend and Rachel and Gabriel are playing around in my mind a few days later. Definitely two of the most memorable characters I've come across.
Gabriel especially is awesome! It is also a testament to Shinn's writing skills that she manages to make you root for a hero that is so prim and proper, so uptight(as opposed to dangerous/alpha/dashing/gallant/suave). I love how not-perfect he is.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is Hannah's description of Gabriel to Rachel, who by then, didn't know anything about Gabriel:
... he takes most things seriously. He can be difficult. He can be very sure of himself, so other people's opinions do not always matter to him. He thinks it's a very easy matter to separate right from wrong, good from bad, so subtleties often elude him. He is not patient. But he is - he is never less than committed to making things right. Everything he does is with the goal of bringing goodness to the world. I can't explain what I mean. There is no evil in him. That is a rare thing to say about anyone, even an angel.
How awesome is that? This quote describes Gabriel so perfectly! A man (well, he's actually an angel) with real flaws, not ersatz/minor/nobles ones, flaws which color his decisions and his interactions. But who, when you strip everything away, is a truly good man, the kind of man you want to have your back, the kind of man you want to run your country, the kind of person you want to be at the heart of it.
And Rachel....is another story all together. Sometimes you want to smack her, but girl has so much spunk and spirit, especially after what she's been through, that you can't help but root for her. i love her for the sheer indomitableness of that spirit she's got.
Just seeing these two characters fall in love was amazing. I don't know how else to say it. This is the type of book you can't keep to yourself. I gave the borrowed book to all my other friends after I read it, and THEY ended up giving it to their friends too, because they couldn't stop gushing over it (needless to say, I had to buy Simone another copy of her book). It's definitely in my top 10 all-time favorite love stories.
The writing, is so evocative. So descriptive. So awesome. So captivating. Sure the book has it's problems but who cares about that when the worldbuilding and the story is such a treat?!
Another of my favorite quotes from this book is the very last line, said by Rachel to Gabriel: (view spoiler)["You. I would have waited forever for you" (hide spoiler)]
(about damn time too, woman!)
The secondary characters were all fun: my favorites were Josiah, Ariel and Naomi. Oh of course, and Nathan and Magdalena and Obadiah.
I read this book so many years ago, with all its flaws, and I have loved it since then. Awesome, awesome writing. THIS is the stuff of writers' dreams. Reading this book was being sucked into a world of pure stupendous writing and breathtaking worldbuilding. To this day her writing has stuck with me. I don't think any of the other works in this quintet of books was as well-written.
THIS book to me is the gold standard of Sharon Shinn's writing. Most of her other books can't quite match this one in awesomeness and fabulosity, even though many of them are pretty fantastic themselves. Since then I have come across other authors that are especially gifted at description and storytelling, but Sharon Shinn was one of my first, and I won't ever forget it. And her skill is just awesome.
Needless to say she is an autobuy author for me.
PS: I tend to think that this is one of those books where if you dislike it the problem is you, not the author, LOL! Obviously I am not very objective when it comes to Sharon Shinn and/or Archangel, lol:D.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more