Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Two More from Tamora Pierce

Emperor Mage
The Immortals, Book 3

Spoilers for the first books lurk within

From the first pages of Emperor Mage, it's clear that Daine's powers have grown even stronger. The animals of Carthaki gather on the wharf, waiting for her arrival, where she is to play a part in peace talks between the nations. Her role is to make the Emperor Mage, Ozorne, happy by curing his sick birds. Perhaps then he'll be in a better mood and more amenable to a treaty.

Carthaki was once a thriving center of cultural learning, where the best mages in the world were trained to fully develop their magical skills. Now, there's chaos brewing because the Emperor has neglected worshiping the gods. The Graveyard Hag, the main god of Carthaki, is not going to let the city get away with this dereliction any more.

The Graveyard Hag gives Daine a special gift that ends up being very useful in the final showdown. I have to admit, the six year old in me squeed with delight when Daine called on some very old creatures to help her!

While, of course, Daine and her friends prevail in the end, it's not a clear cut victory. Ozorne is off licking his wounds, but regardless of his form, he's sure to regroup and come back to threaten Tortall.

The Realms of the Gods
The Immortals, Book 4

In the final book of the Immortals quartet, Daine and Numair find themselves in the Divine Realms after they're rescued from a near certain death at the hands of Orzone and his minions. There, Daine finally meets her father, and the readers meet her mother.

This is a more mature book - less action packed adventure, more theory and trying to understand the way the world works. Oh, and kissing. I guess Daine is growing up.

While the battle rages on without them, Daine and Numair have to figure a way out of the Diving Realms and back home. Fortunately, there are some dragons that feel indebted to Daine for caring for little Skysong. The prominence of the dragons is reminiscent of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, of which Pierce is a fan.

Overall, this series was fun. Daine is a great character - a little too perfect towards the end, perhaps, but really, what do you expect? I've read that she makes an appearance in some of Pierce's other books in the Tortall universe. It's fun to see familiar characters popping up every now and then, even when the focus is elsewhere. Again, I express my dismay that I never read Pierce's books when I was younger. I would definitely recommend them to the middle or high school kids in your life. They're the perfect age to fall in love with them, and there are plenty of books to keep them busy!

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