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House of Shadows de Rachel Neumeier
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House of Shadows (original: 2012; edição: 2012)

de Rachel Neumeier (Autor)

Séries: House of Shadows (1)

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12110177,063 (3.52)8
Orphaned, two sisters are left to find their own way. Sweet and proper, Karah's future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life... if she agrees to play their game. Nemienne, neither sweet nor proper, has fewer choices. Left with no alternative, she accepts a mysterious mage's offer of an apprenticeship. Agreeing means a home and survival, but can Nemienne trust the mage? With the arrival of a foreign bard into the quiet city, dangerous secrets are unearthed, and both sisters find themselves at the center of a plot that threatens not only to upset their newly found lives, but also to destroy their kingdom.… (mais)
Membro:StwaberryJelly
Título:House of Shadows
Autores:Rachel Neumeier (Autor)
Informação:Orbit (2012), 352 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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House of Shadows de Rachel Neumeier (2012)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
I really enjoyed this. The writing was just styled enough to be delightful but still flow naturally. The characters were interesting, sensible, struggling with deep and realistic dilemmas, and dealing with them believably. And the relationships were natural and gentle but compelling. The pacing was interesting through the final third, but everything wrapped up satisfyingly, so I was happy enough.

It wasn't all sunshine and roses. I found the juxtapose of French and Japanese influences in the world not at all graceful and downright dissonant - my biggest problem here was that all of the characters had French-style names, but then there were the artistic-courtesan class called "keiso" (baby ones called "deisa")... clearly deriving from another linguistic tradition altogether, except that this is the only place in the world that has them, so no, it isn't another tradition. This, to my reading ear, made them stick out like a sore thumb as "HEY, GEISHA, I HAVE GEISHA, THEY'RE SO EXOTIC AND ELEGANT!" which is a wretchedly overt Othering. And the thing is: highly elegant and accomplished women existed in French society - they were called courtesans and they were awesome. (There were Japanese influences through other parts of the world - especially the food - along with the French influences and I thought the weaving-together was handled much more smoothly there, probably because no linguistic dissonance was incurred. Loving non-European fantasy as I do, I would have preferred if everything about the world had been more Japanese, to be honest.)

Anyway, I liked everything else about this book so much that that element was sort of like getting the most adorable kitten in the world and then having it throw up on the carpet. It's still adorable, but every time you look at it the cooing is undercut by how much you wish it hadn't done that. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
House of Shadows follows three characters in the coastal capital of Lirionne as they are swept into a plot against the royal family. Nemienne is one of eight sisters trying to support themselves after their father dies; her beautiful older sister Karah is sold to one of the most reputable keiso houses, but Nemienne is unexpectedly offered an apprenticeship by Mage Ankennes. In Cloisonne House, Leilis, who occupies a curious position as neither keiso nor servant, is determined to protect the newest arrival from sabotage, and watches as Karah attracts the attention of the prince. Meanwhile, Taudde, a foreign sorcerous bard, is torn between a desire for revenge and admiration for a new friend.

This is a story which begins slowly but builds momentum, with intricate worldbuilding and politics. I especially liked Neumeier’s lyrical prose, and the way Taudde’s magic is expressed through music. And I was relieved that selling a sister or two to a keiso house was not at all as dire as it sounds.

And then, there’s a dragon...

Was it disloyal to her family to be glad she was in the mage’s house, to like the strangeness of it? The solitude? She felt the occasional twinge of homesickness, yes; she missed her sisters, yes. The knowledge that her father was gone was a constant ache at the back of her mind. And yet… and yet, it seemed to her that she had fallen into the mage’s house as a fish falls into the sea. Already she could not imagine living anywhere else, and though she read them avidly, letters from her sisters seemed like messages from another country. ( )
  Herenya | Jul 17, 2019 |
Did not finish.

Why?

I wanted to love this book. I'd heard a lot of good things about Rachel Neumeier's books, and the plot - one sister becomes what is this fantasy world's equivalent of a geisha, while the other apprentices with a mage - seemed like a great idea. It's a stand-alone book with no love triangle and very little romance. They're all things I should love! I think this was a case of the summary of the book not really representing the whole of the story, though, because the two sisters aren't the focus of the story at all. Other side characters are brought in for their own POV chapters and I just found myself getting bored. I'm willing to wade through boredom in cases where there are still characters/storylines I care about (George R.R. Martin, I'm looking at you) but in this case, I wasn't interested enough in any of them to keep going. Neumeier's a beautiful writer, and I'd be willing to try some of her other books. House of Shadows just wasn't for me.
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
Originally posted here.

House of Shadows was not at all what I was expecting. From the description and the opening sections, I was expecting a fairy tale told from the perspectives of Karah and Nemienne. According to Goodreads, I was expecting YA, too, but I really don't know that I would classify it that way, despite the teenage heroines, not that these classifications mean too much at this point. While there are some fairy tale elements to this, House of Shadows felt much more like a traditional high fantasy to me than a fairy tale.

I was wrong, too, about how the story would be told. Karah and Nemienne are both important characters, but there are others only hinted at or not even mentioned by the description. Karah, in fact, receives the least page time, despite being given top billing. Nemienne actually is a very important character. The other two main characters are Leilis and Taudde. Leilis works in the Flower House where Karah finds employ, bound by a curse that causes great pain when she touches anyone. Taudde, the sole male MC, seems to be, perhaps, the most important character. Without him, this story could not happen, whereas the others probably could be removed, with some re-allotment of plot points.

What brought this book down to a 4 for me was the characters, and the way the narrative was apportioned to them. Though I at least liked all four, I simply was not as interested in Karah and Taudde's narration. I didn't feel particularly bonded to them, and found my attention wandering a bit during those parts. I think that I might have liked this book a bit more were it told either following just one or two of our actors, or if first person multiple POV was used, rather than third person.

Fortunately, there was a lot of crazy cool stuff to keep me entertained. Neumeier's world building is just great. Obviously, there are tons of books out there with magic in them, but I still felt like she managed to do something rather original with hers. Taudde's music-based magic totally blew my mind. (Maybe if I were going to hook up characters from two different books I would link him up with Seraphina and they could make sweet music together.)

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the cats. There are several cats in this story. Though they do not DO much, they have a serious presence. Enkea was one of my favorite characters without a doubt. You know I love me some clever animals. I would actually really like to know more about Enkea. That cat obviously has a back story and I want to know what it is.

The city itself with the Flower Houses and everything reminded me heavily of Japan. The names certainly don't indicate this at all, but the inspiration was no doubt drawn from Japanese geishas. Since I love Japanese culture, I enjoyed getting a small view into the life of the keiso (so totally geishas). I will say, though, that the opening chapter where the daughters resolve that there is no solution but to sell two of the eight made me laugh heartily. Who decides that in like twenty minutes?

House of Shadows is a gorgeously-written high fantasy with music, strong heroines and oodles of magic! If you're on the fence about this one, go read more reviews or just give House of Shadows a chance, since I know most readers enjoyed this even more than I did. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
The writing was skilled, but that didn't translate into an engrossing plot and characters that I wanted to cheer on. The part that I read (approximately a third of it) wasn't bad, but there are just so many other books out there with the potential to actually make me invest in the characters' outcomes that I couldn't make myself finish this.
  stephxsu | Feb 28, 2013 |
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Orphaned, two sisters are left to find their own way. Sweet and proper, Karah's future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life... if she agrees to play their game. Nemienne, neither sweet nor proper, has fewer choices. Left with no alternative, she accepts a mysterious mage's offer of an apprenticeship. Agreeing means a home and survival, but can Nemienne trust the mage? With the arrival of a foreign bard into the quiet city, dangerous secrets are unearthed, and both sisters find themselves at the center of a plot that threatens not only to upset their newly found lives, but also to destroy their kingdom.

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