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REVIEW: General Winston’s Daughter by Sharon Shinn

Dear Ms. Shinn,

Book CoverYou’ve written some of my favorite romances (Yes, I know that they are published in the SF/Fantasy and YA genres, but I consider many of your books romances). General Winston’s Daughter, your latest YA fantasy novel, may not be my most cherished among your works but it’s still an unusually good book, a tale of a young woman’s coming-of-age, a powerful depiction of a society that chafes under colonialism, and the story of a romantic triangle that is quite unlike most of what I usually come across in my reading.

Averie Winston is the only child of General Winston, the highest General in the Aeberelle Army. Averie’s mother is long dead, but Lady Selkirk, her very proper and widowed chaperone, is accompanying Averie to Chiarrin, where Averie will be reunited with her father and with her fiancà©, Colonel Morgan Stode, both of whom are stationed in Chiarrin as part of a military campaign.

At eighteen, Averie is curious and adventurous, and very much looking forward to her first visit to a foreign land. Averie hopes to be married in Chiarrin, and there to begin her happy life with Morgan. She is not aware, however, of the complicated political situation she is sailing into.

Aeberelle, Averie’s homeland, is an imperial power with a strong military force which is in the process of colonizing the much less well-defended Chiarrin. Averie’s father and her fiancà© are both instrumental in carrying out the colonizing of the strategically located Chiarrin, something they view as necessary to maintaining the balance of power between Aeberelle and the country of Weskolia, with which Aeberelle is at war.

On board ship with Averie and Lady Selkirk is Lieutenant Ket Du’kai, also an officer in the Aeberelle Army. Lieutenant Du’kai comes from Xan’tai, a country Aeberelle colonized long ago. To alleviate the interminable boredom of their time on board ship, Averie and Lady Selkirk begin to dine with Lieutenant Du’kai, and although his background and dark skin at first incline Lady Selkirk against him, his manners are so impeccable that she quickly comes to like him almost as much as Averie did from the first.

Averie senses that her new friend is unhappy, and one day she learns the reason why. Lieutenant Du’kai wishes that his homeland of Xan’tai weren’t colonized, and has ambitions to join the government and lobby for home rule. Because he lacks social connections and wealth, he has no way to realize those ambitions, and so, he joined the Aeberelle Army hoping to acquire the money and connections that he needs.

There are times when Lieutenant Du’kai despises the uniform that he wears, but he made his moral compromise of joining the military in the hopes of being sent to guard commercial enterprises, and now he finds himself assigned to participate in conquering what was previously a free country. He admits to Averie that the thought of doing so oppresses his spirit.

The conversation disturbs Averie because it opens her eyes to things she did not want to know. Yes, she was aware that Aeberelle colonized other countries, but she believed that the Aebrians made these lands more productive and progressive than they had been before — as she has been taught all her life. Now she begins to question whether or not her government, her father, her fiancà© and the other officers she has befriended in the past are justified in their actions.

A few days after that conversation, the travelers arrive in the Chiarrin port of Chesza. Despite its sweltering heat, it doesn’t take long for Averie to fall in love with the city. The very same exotic scents, colors, textures and flavors that her chaperone disdains appeal to Averie, who is also thrilled to be reunited with Morgan, her fiancà©, and quick to make a new friend in Lana, another Aebrian young woman of good birth whose father is also an officer stationed in Chesza.

Averie’s enchantment with her new surroundings makes her yearn to see more of Chesza than the house her father has appropriated for his household. Much of the city and the countryside are deemed dangerous for the women to visit since there are rebels among the Chiarrizi people who fight the Aebrians, but the marketplace is considered safe, and it is there that Averie and Lana meet Jalessa, a Chiarrizi fabric merchant who helps Averie purchase sandals.

Averie chafes at being restricted to the house and the marketplace, and tries to make bids for greater freedom, while scandalizing Lady Selkirk and chagrining her fiancà© with her new Chiarrizi-influenced attire and her enthusiasm for Chiarrin.

One day, Averie and Lana are at the market purchasing fabrics from Jalessa when mortar shells are fired into the markets and the fabric merchant is injured. Averie’s compassion extends to the Chiarrizi woman and she insists that the soldiers rescue Jalessa. Lieutenant Du’kai, Averie’s shipboard companion, happens to be commanding the soldiers who appear on the scene, and he helps Averie bring Jalessa to the house where the Winstons are staying, so Averie can tend her wounds.

When Jalessa heals, Averie offers her a position in the household, and after she allays Jalessa initial fears, the Chiarrizi woman accepts. With Jalessa’s companionship, a whole world opens up to Averie, who now visits many magical places in Chesza with Jalessa at her side, and learns why it is also known as the City of the Broken Gods.

But this friendship deepens the growing chasm between Averie and her fiancà©, Morgan, who dislikes Jalessa. Though Morgan and Averie genuinely love each other and though they enjoy the passion of their stolen kisses, arguments begin to spring up between them, and Averie wonders if she is truly cut out to be the wife of an officer… if she even wants to be one… if colonizing Chiarrin is a grave wrong against its people… and whether her friend Lieutenant Du’kai has come to mean too much to her…

General Winston’s Daughter isn’t as close to my heart as some of your books but that is almost like saying that not everything Monet painted was equally beautiful. This is a lovely, pleasing book and moreover, it’s one of your most interesting works because the social and political issue at its heart is given a complex treatment.

One of my favorite things about your books is that they are love stories, but they are also more than mere love stories: often they become allegories too, about social issues as complicated and varied as religion, slavery, sexism, racism, cultural differences, persecution, and in this book, colonialism.

Because these issues are explored in the context of fantastical worlds, the stories remain entertaining, and at the same time, these conflicts give the romances in your books a larger context, provide interesting backgrounds for the characters, create some of the texture of your fascinating worlds, and give your heroines more to worry about than just “Does he love me?” concerns.

As much as I adore this aspect of your books, I also feel that not all your treatments of social issues have been equally nuanced. In the wonderful Samaria series, for example, the enslaved Edori were portrayed as almost universally kind, generous and sweet-natured, while the Jansai who sold them were almost always greedy, callous and unattractive, something that became especially problematic for me in Angel-Seeker, an otherwise excellent book. And while Summers at Castle Auburn was in many ways charming, I was a bit disappointed at how easily the slavery issue in that book was resolved.

Nowhere among what I’ve read of your writing (which is nearly everything you’ve written) is there a more thoughtful and complex treatment of social issues than in Heart of Gold, a book which surely deserves its own review from me but which I’ll briefly describe here as an iconoclastic love story that takes place at the intersection of two cultures conflicted along lines both racial and matriarchal / patriarchal, each equally alien to us and to one another, and equally fascinating to read about precisely because they are each portrayed in shades of gray (and blue and gold).

But if Heart of Gold is, in my humble opinion, your most successful creation of a social fabric, then General Winston’s Daughter is quite possibly your second best weaving together of societal threads. In General Winston’s Daughter we are shown clearly that colonists aren’t all cruel, bad people; that they can be as different from one another as the fastidious Lady Selkirk is from the flighty Lana, as the nationalistic Morgan is from the full-of-misgivings Lieutenant Du’kai, and as the tunnel-visioned, commanding General Winston is from his open-minded, kind-hearted daughter. You also show the readers that if the Aebrian colonists aren’t all devils and demons, the Chiarrizi aren’t all angels and saints.

And yet, what emerges is nothing less than a searing indictment of colonialism. Through the stark beauty of Chiarrin and the layering of small ethnographic details like the Chiarrizis’ use of different shades of headscarves to communicate different information, their dancing at their festivals, their sacred fountain at the heart of the city, and the “broken gods” they worship, you bring to life a country that for all that it is less technologically advanced, is no less rich in its culture than the Aebrians’ homeland, certainly no less vivid, and no less deserving of freedom.

Our window to this society is Averie Winston, and despite her initial self-delusion about Aeberelle’s subjugation of other countries, she is easy to like and worth rooting for. There were times when I wanted to give Averie a little shake for not taking a stronger stance against her father, and other times when I wanted to protect her from the consequences of her torn loyalties.

The romantic triangle between Averie, Morgan Stode and Ket Du’kai is unusual because although neither of the young men is as wealthy as Averie, Morgan is much closer to her in social standing and respectability, while Du’kai, although of a different nationality, race and social class, is much closer to her in his egalitarian values and his appreciation for Chiarrin.

I liked that despite this, you did not make Averie’s choice too easy. For all his dislike of Jalessa, Morgan truly did care for Averie, and she for him, and though she was attracted to Lieutenant Du’kai, Averie still enjoyed Morgan’s kisses.

It should also be noted, I think, that General Winston’s Daughter may very well prove to be your most accessible book to readers who don’t generally read science fiction or fantasy. The countries and cultures it depicts are fictional and imaginary, but there is no magic whatsoever in the book, no people with paranormal abilities, no advanced technologies, no spaceships or blue-skinned people or intervening gods, nothing, that is, beyond the world itself, in which to suspend disbelief.

With all that I’ve praised here, why is this book not among my most favorite of yours? Well, first there is the fact that Aeberelle seems to me to be very closely patterned on nineteenth or possibly early twentieth century England. This similarity is both a strength and a weakness of the book: a strength because it makes the colonists instantly familiar and the setting easy to adjust to, and a weakness because sometimes the parallels to our own world are so close that the book feels just slightly heavy-handed in its message.

Second, though the world building is terrific in many of the ways I described above, there is also one way in which Chiarrin felt a little underdeveloped to me — its cuisine. Early on, the reader is introduced to three foods: bumain, a potato-like vegetable; wikberry, a sweet purple fruit, and hodee, a goat-like animal whose meat tastes a little like beef. After that, whenever food appears in a scene, it inevitably consists of bumain, wikberry or hodee. As one who tires of eating the same foods over and over in life, I noticed this perhaps more than other readers would, and it struck me as strange that Chiarrin would be a place where one fruit, one vegetable, and one meat would be eaten over and over. I appreciate that the book is short and that it probably required some kind of shorthand in matters of food, but a little more diversity would have been welcome.

Third, I would have preferred the book to be a bit longer for another, more important reason: Lieutenant Du’kai’s character, though interesting, sympathetic, and appealing, also seems a little underdeveloped to me. That he would join the Aebrian Army despite his feelings about colonialism seemed somewhat unlikely to me, but I accepted it even so. His emotions where Averie was concerned were so compelling, and in one scene, so poignant, that I wanted more of them, and more of an opportunity for Averie and us readers to get to know him better in the pages of this book.

The first half of General Winston’s Daughter felt a bit slow to me, too, like the languid lull before a summer storm. I enjoyed it whenever I picked the book up to read more, but I wasn’t unable to tear myself away, as I often am when I read your books, until the second half.

Still, for a short book marketed to teens, General Winston’s Daughter is remarkably substantial and thought-provoking, and its pleasures are considerable. Not least of these are your rich voice and the wealth of sensory description, as in this evocative passage depicting Averie’s arrival in the port of Chesza, and her first sight of Chiarrin:

How warm and bright it looked, a sprawling mix of browns and tans and reds and dusty greens, so unlike Aeberelle, with its chilly shades of gray and blue. The port was a welter of boats, and behind it the city fanned out in a haphazard and inviting fashion. The buildings were all low to the ground and seemed to be constructed of a uniform reddish-brown material, while the roofs were copper and slate and verdigris. Even from shipboard, Averie could see the great white plume of the Mualota Fountain that Lieutenant Du’kai had described. It was the only thing in this entire vista that looked cool. Heat lay over the city like a sweltering fog, saturating the air, the buildings, clothing, hair, skin. Averie stood very still, breathing the heavy air, feeling her palms start to perspire as she held tightly to the railing.

That is the kind of writing that satisfies my soul; the kind of writing that makes me want to journey with you to any number of exotic worlds and fantastical lands.

A strong B+ for this one.

Sincerely,

Janine

This book only comes in Hardcover.

Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.

18 Comments

  1. Trisha
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 02:36:42

    sometimes the parallels to our own world are so close that the book feels just slightly heavy-handed in its message.

    This was my biggest problem with the book; I found it more heavy-handed and hence more problematic than you did. While I also liked Shinn’s prose and the fact that Morgan is not a bad guy (if only more romances were like this!), my discomfort with it left me with very mixed feelings about this book.

  2. Janine
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 11:49:08

    I was starting to worry that, after writing what I think is my second-longest review, I would get no comments. I wondered if it was so long that people didn’t have the patience to read it all the way through. So thank you for commenting, Trisha.

    Regarding the heavy-handedness: I think it’s interesting that books and movies and television shows can take on a lot of social or political issues and remain entertaining rather than preachy if the setting is far enough from our own that there are no direct parallels.

    I’m thinking in particular of my favorite current TV show, the Sci Fi channel remake of “Battlestar Galactica,” which sort of takes a lot of post-9/11 issues and twists and turns them so many different ways that I’m never sure what represents what. It’s still a kind of metaphor for the anxiety we now have live with every day, but it’s entertaining as hell because the parallels are not direct. Do the humans represent Americans and the cylons terrorists? It may seems that way at first but it’s not that simple.

    In General Winston’s Daughter I did feel that Aeberelle was similar enough to 19th century England that I couldn’t *not* think about that at times. But I suppose it could also stand in for another European colonial power like France.

    However, when it came to Chairrin and Xan’tai, the parallels seemed less direct to me. The scene where the mortar shells exploded in the marketplace reminded me of some of the bombings that plague the Middle East these days, and I wondered if the Chiarrizi were in some ways influenced or inspired by the Palestinians? I wasn’t sure, though. Xan’tai could have been a country like India under the British.

    What parallels were you reminded of, Trisha?

    For me, Shinn’s world was different enough from our own that the book didn’t seem nearly as heavy-handed to me as it would have if she had written something like that which was set here on 21st century Earth.

    Still, it was definitely an issue-driven book with a message, and though at times the message felt a bit heavy-handed to me, I also liked the fact that Shinn was taking on the issue of colonialism. I did wish though, that there the romance had been as central to the story as Averie’s friendship with Jalessa was. The latter in some ways felt to me like the most important relationship in the book.

    I’m curious, Trisha, which of Shinn’s other books have you read and how did you like them? I’m thinking particularly of some of her more issue-driven books like Heart of Gold, Angel-Seeker and Summers at Castle Auburn, but I’d be interested in hearing how you liked any of her books.

  3. Ann Aguirre
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 12:27:13

    Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors. She has a way with language that is hard to articulate, by turns evocative and ethereal.

    I adored Heart of Gold. I thought it was a particularly intriguing mix of police procedural, fantasy and romance. I look to her as one of the pioneers who made it possible to combine such things in a new and beautiful way.

  4. Janine
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 12:37:05

    Ann, are you sure you are not thinking of Wrapt in Crystal? That one was a police prodedural / fantasy / romance mix (and I loved it too).

    Heart of Gold, which I also loved, has a world where people have blue or gold skin. The hero and heroine are both blue-skinned and live in a matriarchal society. In the beginning of the book they are both involved with other people. The hero is engaged to an aristocratic woman. He has a career as a biological researcher specializing in viruses, but his fiancee expects him to give up his career when they marry and retire to the country to be more subservient to her needs. This is how things are done in that society. The heroine is in love with a gold-skinned prince from a patriarchal society who doesn’t treat her that well. She is almost killed in a terrorist incident at one point. I don’t want to say more because of spoilers, but does this ring a bell?

  5. Ann Aguirre
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 13:41:15

    Yes, actually! I did mix up the two. I’ve read them both (and you’d think I could keep them separate by the obvious cues in the titles, but there you have it).

    I think I liked Wrapt in Crystal a bit better than Heart of Gold, though. I can’t remember whether most people felt that way, or if I’m an exception.

  6. Janine
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 14:57:53

    I don’t know, Ann. I liked Heart of Gold a bit better than Wrapt in Crystal myself. I think both books are less known and less popular than Shinn’s angel / Samaria series. The reason I brought up Heart of Gold was because it’s another book where a lot of social issues (racism, sexism, terrorism, cultural differences) come up, and I felt that Shinn handled the collision of two different societies very well there, because both sides were portrayed in shades of gray. It was a very thought-provoking book.

    This book (General Winston’s Daughter) is also thought provoking, though it doesn’t have the same degree of complexity. Of course, it’s aimed at a younger audience, but I think adults could also enjoy it.

  7. Trisha
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 15:30:34

    In General Winston's Daughter I did feel that Aeberelle was similar enough to 19th century England that I couldn't *not* think about that at times. But I suppose it could also stand in for another European colonial power like France.

    Yes, 19th c. England is what I was comparing it to, in particular India. It was the combination of the invading country’s history of colonization, (the stereotype of) a rather tropical locale, and that colonization was more for commercial reasons than spiritual. I’m not a historian, but this is my impression of the British Empire.

    books and movies and television shows can take on a lot of social or political issues and remain entertaining rather than preachy if the setting is far enough from our own that there are no direct parallels.

    I need to think longer about what makes this kind of commentary work for me or not work. The flap copy of General Winston’s Daughter actually mentions the social commentary bit, which made me wary even before I started the book. Another librarian said she would have enjoyed it more if it was actually set in India, and I agree with her. I also think I would have found a Jalessa book more fascinating, the parallels less bothersome, if only because in this type of alternate universe/mostly magic-less fantasy, I need more intrigue and/or moral ambiguity. As likeable and engaging as Averie was, she wasn’t a compelling enough character to get me past the “all this didacticism is making me uncomfortable” feeling I had while reading.

    I’ve only read two other Sharon Shinn books, The Truth-Teller’s Tale, which I didn’t care for because I felt like I was left hanging with Reed’s storyline, and Summers at Castle Auburn, which is my favorite of the three. Which, now that I think about it, has another rather naive protagonist, but, as I seem to recall, more intrigue.

  8. Janine
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 15:56:35

    “Yes, 19th c. England is what I was comparing it to, in particular India. It was the combination of the invading country's history of colonization, (the stereotype of) a rather tropical locale, and that colonization was more for commercial reasons than spiritual. I'm not a historian, but this is my impression of the British Empire.”

    That’s interesting, Trisha (I’m using quotation marks because my quoting buttons are missing). I thought Chiarrin could be India but it reminded me even more of the Middle East, which was also under British rule for a few decades. I was more thinking of Lieutenant Du’kai’s country, Xan’tai, as the India counterpart.

    “Another librarian said she would have enjoyed it more if it was actually set in India, and I agree with her.”

    I expect that’s true but also because 19th century India is far enough away from our world. But what would you think of a YA book with a social message angle if it were set in Iraq today? I expect it would be much more controversial / uncomfortable to some readers then, and seem preachy to anyone whose political views were different from the author’s.

    “I also think I would have found a Jalessa book more fascinating, the parallels less bothersome, if only because in this type of alternate universe/mostly magic-less fantasy, I need more intrigue and/or moral ambiguity.”

    Yes, a Jalessa book would have been interesting, but then it would not be a YA book.

    “I've only read two other Sharon Shinn books, The Truth-Teller's Tale, which I didn't care for because I felt like I was left hanging with Reed's storyline, and Summers at Castle Auburn, which is my favorite of the three. Which, now that I think about it, has another rather naive protagonist, but, as I seem to recall, more intrigue.”

    I think it was The Safe-Keeper’s Secret that left Reed’s storyline hanging. I was a little sorry about that, but I loved that book regardless. It’s funny, but General Winston’s Daughter actually reminded me more of Summers at Castle Auburn than of any other Shinn book. They are both coming of age stories about older teens that deal with social issues — slavery in SACA and colonialism in GWD.

    If you like morally ambiguous heroines, I really want to recommend Shinn’s books for adults to you. I don’t think any of her YA books have ambiguous heroines, but Rachel in Archangel and Tamar in The Alleluia files are somewhat ambiguous, and the heroines of several secondary romances in the later Samaria books are ambiguous too — Delilah in Jovah’s Angel, Miriam in Angelica, and Elizabeth in Angel-Seeker. The Samaria series is not heavy handed except for Angel-Seeker, and I would say that all of them are worth reading.

  9. AAR Rachel
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 16:32:32

    I’m looking forward to this one – but have nothing to say yet as I’m on hold for it at the library. I agree that Heart of Gold was excellent and thought-provoking and the treatment of the Jansai in Angel-Seeker was unfortunately pretty one-sided. Thanks for the review, Janine!

  10. Janine
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 17:54:01

    Rachel, good to see you. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book when you do read it, whether you post them here or review it for AAR or comment on it on your blog.

  11. Trisha
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 18:01:22

    Hmm, the Middle East would work too. India is what I’m more familiar with, so that’s what came to mind first. (I’ve been meaning to read more about it, particularly Gertrude Bell, but haven’t had the time). And I would love to read a YA book set in Iraq. Don’t think it’d be popular, but I personally would read it.

    I think it was The Safe-Keeper's Secret that left Reed's storyline hanging.

    You’re right. I got the titles confused.

  12. Trisha
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 18:52:17

    On second thought, love is too strong a word. But I’d still prefer reading something actually set in Iraq than a fantasy based on it but not it in.

    Janine, Jalessa’s story probably wouldn’t be YA, though I wouldn’t rule it completely out. I think it would be interesting nonetheless.

  13. Janine
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 19:00:21

    Let’s see if my attempt at HTML blockquoting works.

    On second thought, love is too strong a word. But I'd still prefer reading something actually set in Iraq than a fantasy based on it but not it in.

    Well, I might be interested in such a book too, but I think a lot of readers might not be so keen on a romantic story in that setting, particularly if the author took a strong political stance and made it clear that she saw one side as right and the other as wrong. For readers who didn’t agree with that stance, it could interfere with the romantic storyline. In a fantasy, that’s less likely to happen.

  14. Trisha
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 20:18:28

    For readers who didn't agree with that stance, it could interfere with the romantic storyline. In a fantasy, that's less likely to happen.

    Very true. Maybe this is why our reactions to General Winston’s Daughter were so different. It seems like you read it more as a romance (or romantic fantasy), whereas I read it as just another YA book, and that’s probably why I was more bothered by the didacticism.

  15. Janine
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 20:44:32

    It seems like you read it more as a romance (or romantic fantasy), whereas I read it as just another YA book, and that's probably why I was more bothered by the didacticism.

    I generally do approach Shinn’s books as romances, probably because I started reading her with her adult books, which often have full-fledged romances. For me, the Samaria books, Heart of Gold, and Dark Moon Defender were extraordinarily romantic books . I think “romantic fantasy” is probably a better description of General Winston’s Daughter, though. I would have preferred a stronger focus on the romance, but I still enjoyed the romantic stoyline and many other things about the book. I also love Shinn’s writing style, and that is always a big factor in my enjoyment of her books.

  16. msaggie
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 22:58:54

    Janine, Thanks so much for the detailed review. You enjoyed General Winston’s Daughter much more than I did. I generally like Shinn’s YA books but I think Averie is one of Shinn’s weakest YA heroines – I much preferred the heroines in Summers at Castle Auburn, SafeKeeper, Truthteller and Dream-Maker. Shinn has written excellent mature 17-18 year olds (e.g. Sosie in When Winter Comes), but I found Averie spoilt and clueless. The most interesting thing about that world was the broken gods (maybe I have read too much Bujold and Chalion). I also felt the hero was underdeveloped. I wish there was more resolution to the whole story (with Jalessa, her husband, what happens to Chiarrin, etc). I felt somehow the story was incomplete. Having said that, there are some places in the book where the writing and descriptions are beautiful.

  17. Janine
    Oct 13, 2007 @ 00:34:14

    Msaggie, that’s interesting. I agree that Averie was clueless in the beginning but I thought that was a natural result of the sort of sheltered upbringing that a young girl from the upper classes would have. With a chaperone / mother figure like Lady Selkirk, I couldn’t really blame Averie for that. I didn’t see her as spoiled, so I’m curious about why you did. Can you elaborate in more detail?

    I loved the broken gods too, but I also thought some of the other cultural details like the information communicated by the scarves, and Du’kai’s dancing, were wonderful as well.

    I do wish the hero had been developed more, but if anything felt incomplete to me, it was just the romantic relationship. I didn’t feel the need for more closure about Jalessa, her husband or Chiarrin. I liked the open-ended way that was left, especially with regard to Chiarrin, because such political conflicts can sometimes take generations to be resolved.

    I actually felt that the Chiarrin story ended was given more closure than I expected would be possible, and I was impressed that Shinn was able to do that in such a believable way. I don’t want to give away the ending but it took me by surprise.

  18. My First Sale by Sharon Shinn, Every Sale Is Cause for Celebration | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 08:33:35

    […] Author is that there is magic in Shinn’s pen. This month you can sample a young adult book, General Winston’s Daughter, an anthology piece in Elemental Magic and the conclusion to her Twelve Houses series, The Reader […]

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