Mystic & Rider is the first book in Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses series. I was drawn in right from the start. Having read her Samaria series I knew I could expect a well crafted story. What I got was that and more. This series is a tale of a kingdom where magic is frequently equated with evil and evil wears a very different face. There are kings, queens, princes, princesses, knights and nobles and peasants. Friend and foe can be hard to distinguish as can good and evil. At the heart of each book are tales of courage and love. But these are not weak kneed women or brainless brawny men, no these are people of strength and character and people that I was able to cheer for, cry for and believe in. One of the most enjoyable series I have ever or probably will ever read. Definitely worth the first trip to this fantasy world and hopefully one day soon I will visit there again. After all there's so much to see and do when the survival of a kingdom is at stake.