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Fortune and Fate (Twelve Houses Series #5)

Fortune and Fate (Twelve Houses Series #5)

4.3 38
by Sharon Shinn

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Plagued by guilt for failing to protect her king, Rider Wren has fled the city of Gilengaria and given herself the penance of a life of wandering, helping strangers in need. But when chance brings her to the great estate known as Fortune, Wren will find her fate, and finally confront the ghosts of her past.


Plagued by guilt for failing to protect her king, Rider Wren has fled the city of Gilengaria and given herself the penance of a life of wandering, helping strangers in need. But when chance brings her to the great estate known as Fortune, Wren will find her fate, and finally confront the ghosts of her past.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Following 2007's Reader and Raelynx, which wrapped up the original Twelve Houses fantasy quartet, this rousing sword-and-sorcery romance introduces Wen, a former elite warrior Rider haunted by her failure to protect King Baryn during a rebellion and heartbroken by her lover's marriage to another. After Wen saves teen heiress Karryn, daughter of one of the rebels, from kidnapping and ravishment, Karryn's uncle and guardian, Jasper Paladar, rewards Wen with an offer to train a cadre of bodyguards. Reluctant at first, Wen gradually faces her fears and falls in love with Jasper, the soul of sexy scholarly gallantry. Despite the tweeny dialogue and predictable derring-do, Shinn combines a substantial range of appealing characters with a solid reinforcement of women's capabilities in peace and war, making the story comfortable, if not profound. (Nov.)

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VOYA - Beth Karpas
Shinn is at her best in this fourth entry in the Twelve Houses series. It stands alone well, although there are spoilers for those who have not read the earlier books. Shinn tells the story of Wen, a minor character from the earlier titles. Formerly part of the elite guard of King's Riders sworn to protect the king with their lives, Wen survived when the old king was assassinated. Although also grievously wounded, she cannot forgive herself. She has taken to wandering the roads of Gillengaria looking for innocents in danger and charging to the rescue. As this book begins, she rescues a young girl from an unwelcome suitor. The girl turns out to be Karryn, the future ruler of Fortunalt, and thus begins Wen's eventual healing. There are many predictable elements in this book for Shinn fans. Wen will fall in love and live happily ever after. She will heal her mental wounds and learn that her fears of rejection by the other Riders are totally unfounded. The six companions of the first three titles will make guest appearances, but the threats to Karryn are anything but expected. None of this predictability takes away from the fact that Shinn is a wonderful storyteller whose characters clamor for the reader's attention, refusing to let the book be put down until the end. This title is sure to please existing fans and win new ones. Reviewer: Beth Karpas
Library Journal

Failed King's Rider Wen embarks on a personal quest seeking redemption against a background of political entanglements and social disquiet. Shinn's fifth installment in her "Twelve Houses" series (Mystic and Rider) continues to feature strong female protagonists as the author skillfully blends romance and adventure. The author explores new parts of her richly detailed world and introduces new characters while maintaining contact with old favorites. As a stand-alone, this volume is a good introduction for readers new to the series, while longstanding fans will appreciate another venture into a world of magic, swords, and political intrigue.

—Jackie Cassada

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Twelve Houses Series , #5
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by  Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.

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Fortune and Fate (Twelve Houses Series #5) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Jilseponie More than 1 year ago
I probably should have brushed up on the Twelve Houses by re-reading the previous book, but it came back to me. Every book Shinn writes has a character involved in self-discovery and it makes you love them all the more as you grow with them. The focus of this book is a minor character from the King's Riders, Wen. I wasn't sure I'd really get interested, but I should have known better. Two years have passed in Gillengaria since the events in "Reader and Raelynx" and the familiar characters have grown and lived their lives but they are as enjoyable as before. Wen is the focus, but we get to touch base with the original six which lends such a sense of familiarity to her books and makes them thoroughly enjoyable.
Angieville More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Sharon Shinn fan. ARCHANGEL is one of my very favorite comfort reads and so is MYSTIC AND RIDER--the first in Shinn's Twelve Houses series. Her characters become friends so quickly I forget what life was like before I read them. That's why the Twelve Houses series is so much fun. It follows a disparate group of six travelers who, despite differences of rank, temperament, and fundamental beliefs, become first allies and later friends. Shinn tracks this six of them through four books, eventually wrapping up each thread of the overarching story. Or so we thought. FORTUNE AND FATE is a companion novel to the Twelve Houses series. An unexpected and delightfully welcome fifth volume.

Wen was a King's Rider, one of fifty elite guards dedicated to protecting the king with their lives if necessary. Until the king died. On her watch. Shortly after, Wen resigned her post and rode out of the capital city forever. Two years later she is still roaming the countryside, searching for people to save in a futile attempt to atone for her sins. For failing to save her liege. Determined not to connect with anyone ever again, Wen finds herself reluctantly accepting a post as captain of the guard at House Fortunalt after saving the young serramarra's life. Answering to the serramarra's guardian, the bookish Jasper Palladar, Wen promises to stay for a month at most. Long enough to train a rough guard. Not long enough to form any attachments or find any reasons to stay. Meanwhile, the queen's consort wends his way through the southern Houses on a journey to sound out the new Thirteenth House nobles as well as the upcoming generation of marlords and marladies.

The story alternates chapters between Wen's sojourn at Fortune and Cammon's journey through Gisseltess, Rappengrass, and Fortunalt. But this is essentially Wen's own story. And I was pleased to find myself soon attached to this tough young woman so intently bent on self destruction. It was naturally extremely pleasant to spend time with Cammon, Senneth, and Justin again as well. But Ms. Shinn does a good job of extending her readers' affections to Wen and her particular set of troubles. The secondary characters are well-drawn and sympathetic, especially Jasper, Karryn, and Ryne--the young lordling from Coravann. This is a quieter, more self-contained novel than the previous Twelve Houses books. It unfolds slowly as Wen struggles to retire her ghosts and maintain some distance from those who would try to keep her. As Jasper quietly works to rebuild a house in disgrace and extend Wen's stay at Fortune. As Karryn learns who she can trust and how to differentiate herself from her parents' failures. A very fine coda to a simply wonderful series.
Anonymous 25 days ago
This book takes place in the same world as the previous four books in the series but, while featuring past characters, can be read alone. This was my favorite book in the series because I found Wen such a likeable and strong character. Unlike all of the other main female characters in the story, Wen does not have magic which made me like her more. I also found the plot more interesting as it covers the aftermath of war on politics, crime, livelihoods, and criminals families.
ADropOfInkReviews More than 1 year ago
I have long wondered why this book was written. The Rider Wen was never a strong character in the other books. She appeared here and there, but nothing that danced and screamed that she was more than a side character. I bought this book mainly to finish fleshing out the rest of the Twelve Houses series. When I read the rest of the books, I usually skip reading this one as I don't feel like it adds much to the rest of them. While the others focus mainly on the upcoming war and try to prevent the uprising, this book focuses on the aftermath of that war. Sharon Shinn specifically mentions Wen walking out of the city one day at the end of the Reader and Raelynx, but nothing more was said about it and it didn't seem to be a big deal. Survivor's guilt is a known thing among soldiers and anyone who has survived a traumatic event where they lost someone important to them. Sharon Shinn must have decided it was worth looking into and seeing what happened to Wen and how others would react to her, especially given her small stature and amount of training she received while being a rider. All in all, I think this book can be skipped unless you're very interested in knowing why Wen walked away and what happened to her.
Eliza_Berry More than 1 year ago
As always, in this series, lovely! I appreciated the tighter focus of the story, and getting to know the central characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Wen's story. Unfortunately, too much of the book was taken up with Cammon and Armalie, who I just can't stand. The idea that anyone , loyal to the previous king or no, would accept being ruled by a feckless guttersnipe and a perpetual naif leaves me cold. I hate it when author's insist on pushing us beyond the point where one can willingly suspend disbelief. I also hate it when thety set their works in a feudal society and then insist on adapting it to modern democratic principles in so short a span of time that it absolutely could not happen i guess it's ok if you're writing entirely for adolescents, but adults know social change of the magnitude depicted here does NOT happen in the space of two years. And you don' t really do those adolescents any favors by letting them think such a thing is possible.
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BooksRMyFood More than 1 year ago
This book was a surprise in the series, concentrating on a character who doesn't possess magic and his growth. The other characters of the series are still present, of course, so old friends will not be missing. I liked this look at the southern parts of the land.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so bummed. It's all over and I want more. Another great addition to the series.
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epicrat More than 1 year ago
Fortune And Fate focuses on a character NOT part of the original six that I grew to love with the past 4 books. Which is why I waited -and with the waiting, forgot most of the details. What is great about Fortune And Fate is that it can almost serve as a standalone novel with occasional references to earlier books and homages to the already-loved characters. I could settle back into the world of Gillengaria, and still find it as exciting and new as ever! Wen reminded me of Tamora Pierce's strong female characters, namely those who wielded swords and more than equaled their male counterparts. She lived and breathed the soldier's life, unapologetically, except those rare occasions when she catches herself caring about the opinion of Karryn's guardian. I think Wen was a great character who obviously thought on her feet and could come up with a plan when in a tight spot. A woman you definitely wanted on your side when the going gets rough and full of flying arrows. And when her relationship with Jasper (guardian) kept growing, I thought it was probably the most beautifully done romance that I have ever read. I don't know how to describe my reaction. Watching Jasper try to get Wen to trust him and sneakily court her without raising her hackles was simply wonderful. When he finally breaks through her shields and throws the ball into her court, I was literally grinning like an idiot. Of course, Wen took forever to figure out what she wanted and where she wanted to end up and if Jasper would get tired of her. Fortune And Fate is definitely worth the time if you enjoyed previous books in the Twelve Houses series, especially if you are in the mood for some light fantasy with some swordsplay and whodunit intrigue. I would also say if you are a fan of Song Of The Lioness quartet, you might want to check this out - I think it can stand alone, as long as you don't mind missing some small details about the bigger picture.
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