This is the fourth book in Shinn's Twelve Houses series. Each volume focuses on one of the six companions and this one follows the youngest--Cammon. The boy who reads souls. Heretofore, Cammon has been something of a delightful enigma. The scruffy little brother with a good heart, not an ounce of tact, and the ability to gauge a person's true intentions. In this volume, he comes into his own and it was a treat to be one up on the rest of the characters for once. To actually be inside his head. Cammon is still Cammon, but we do get a little more information on his background and abilities as a reader. When he is chosen to assess the true intentions of Princess Amalie's suitors, the inevitable humorous and dangerous consequences follow. In fact, this was the most predictable of the four novels so far. Although I was surprised (and perfectly delighted) with how much of it was Senneth's story. She is my favorite character and, in the end, all the books are about Senneth, the people she gathers around her, and the ways in which she binds them together. As in Mystic & Rider, her sheer strength took my breath away. Now that I think about it, it makes sense that we get so much of Senneth in this book as it becomes clearer and clearer as the story goes on how much Cammon relies on her. How, even when he disagrees with her logic, she has come to fill a space in his life that was empty until she walked into the tavern and freed him with a swipe of her knife. As always, Shinn's strength is her dialogue and her strong characters. They leap, gleefully and disreputably, off the page, making me wish I knew them. Wish I could talk with them and watch their faces. Become familiar and chummy with them. Until I was one of them. One of the six. No, seven now. That's the sign of a good book. That's the reason I'll read anything she writes. That, and finally having the satisfaction of watching Tayse cleave Halchon Gisseltess in half without blinking an eye. The good news: Ms. Shinn is in negotiations to write a fifth installment in the series. All is right with the world.
Somehow the end of the year is here. And we're all here. And I still feel like placing this post in this space. So I shall. With gratitude and a certain wistful hope. For us all. But especially for these books, the people that walk them, their words, and their creators. (listed in the order in which I read them) Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian You Were Made to Be Mine by Julie Anne Long Impossible by Sarah Lotz Book Lovers by Emily Henry Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher The Bodyguard by Katherine Center The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary Fire Season by K.D. Casey Husband Material by Alexis Hall Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood Lore Olympus, Vol. 3 by Rachel Smythe Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vol. 6 by Beth Brower Daniel Cabot Puts Down Roots by Cat Sebastian Scattered Showers