Tuesday, July 24, 2012

House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier - Blog Tour

House of Shadows
Rachel Neumeierwebsite)
Publisher: Orbit/Hachette Book Group (July 2012. 352p. $14.99. 978-0-316-07277-9)
Source: TLC Book Tours (more tour dates)
Genre: Fantasy (mages, magic pipes)
Buy It: ( amazon
| indie )

Eight daughters have to fend for themselves after their father dies suddenly. They are left with a house and money that is tied up in a business deemed worthless without the merchant to run things. They try to sell the business but no one is offering enough for survival.  They decide to sell two of their sisters instead.  They hope the girls can go to one of the best local Keiso houses, Cloisonne House. Half their dream comes true. Karah is immediately accepted but it was suggested that they take Nemienne to Mage Ankennes, where she is sold on a trial basis.  While the sisters adjust to their new lives, we are introduced to Leilis, a former keiso wannabe, and Taudde, a bardic sorcerer whose very presence in Lonne is cause for death. Taudde is blackmailed and the only way out is to assassinate the prince.

House of Shadows proved to be a slow read for me. I thought the prose repetitive and the names so similar as to be confusing.Throughout the book we get glimpses of the girl's characters; Karah is beautiful and naive and that protects her from permanent harm while Nemienne is plain but determined and that helps her make the tough choices.  Karah is envied for her beauty and constantly being taken advantage of, only to come out on top each time. Nemienne has a hard time learning the simplest of spells but can accidentally do some of the strongest magic.  Taudde is supposed to be clever and an accomplished bardic sorcerer. His goal is to make magic by studying the "music of the sea". And we are told this over and over.  The three of them, along with Leilis - who has been cursed for some reason that's alluded to but never revealed - uncover a plot even more dangerous than the attempted assassination. I learned more about the setting than the characters in House of Shadows. Neumeier's descriptions of the mountains, the water and the candlelight district were detailed and vivid. But, they didn't save the book for me.  I was disappointed in the end because everyone needed to be rescued by an unexpected and implausible source. The girls did not turn out the way I had hoped, strong characters that save the day, nor in a way that had been hinted at throughout the book. I didn't even recognize Nemienne in the ending scenes. And even though there are dragons on each chapter's beginning page (at least in the eARC I read), the dragon played such a minimal part in the book as to seem an afterthought. Neumeier's resolution was as expected down to the last scene, which suggests a book two. 

About the Author
Pic courtesy of TLC Book Tours
Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby that was totally unrelated to her research. Before her first novel hit the shelves, her only previous publications were in journals such as the American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests didn’t actually lie in research, Rachel let her hobbies take over her life instead. She now lives in southern Missouri with a large garden, a small orchard, and a variable number of extremely beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. You can find out more about Rachel and her books at www.rachelneumeier.com.

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  1. I really haven't read much of any fantasy to be honest. I'm interested in the genre since I enjoy fantasy tv shows and such.

  2. I don't really have a favorite fantasy author. If I can get into the story line, then I read it.

  3. Go to fantasy author: Baum of the Wizard of Oz series.


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