By Rebecca Manuel
So firstly, I’d just like to say a big welcome to all our newbies and welcome back to all our oldies after the month-long hiatus! Since this is part two in a series of reviews that I’m doing on Tamora Pierce’s books, you can click HERE to go read part one. And if you want to read my other reviews, you can click HERE.
This review is about one of my favorite series in the Tortall universe. I’ve never been able to choose between this second series and the subsequent one. This series focuses on a girl named Daine, or Veralidaine Sarrasri in full. She is from a small village in Galla, one of Tortall’s neighboring countries. Her mother and grandfather were killed by bandits, leaving her alone with only her horse. After a series of events, which are not revealed until later on in the first book, so I will not spoil them here, she goes to a large town to look for work and finds it with the head horsemistress of the Queen’s Riders of Tortall. This is where her journey begins as she grows from a young, grieving girl, to a confident woman and the most powerful Wild Mage in the world.
What I love about this series is threefold: first, I love the style. Gone is the awkward, jumpy, slightly unrealistic and underdeveloped prose of the first series. The story flows, never feeling particularly rushed or particularly too slow. Her writing is more clean, more focused, and more refined. All the pieces make sense. For example, Wild Magic is a type of magic that links a person to animals. In some cases, a person can have only a very small amount of it, showing only as maybe a talent for breeding dogs or an affinity for horses, for instance. Daine has the largest amount ever seen in a person. She is able to talk to animals with her mind, often from great distances as she learns better control. Eventually she learns to heal animal, see from their minds, and more that I won’t mention here. All the details make sense. Even though Wild Magic was never even mentioned in the first series, Pierce manages to weave this new type of magic into her existing world perfectly. But what I like best about Pierce’s more refined style is her imagery. Her imagery, in this series in particular, is like watching an epic movie. There are scenes where I can’t help but shudder in literary pleasure. I won’t give away too much, but for those of you who have read the books, one of my favorite scenes in terms of imagery comes towards the end of the first book when the [SPOILER ALERT] dragon first appears. It’s just glorious. I can almost see Daine touching the belly of the dragon on top of the curtain wall.
Second, I love the characters. They are beautifully fleshed out and dynamic. We see Daine grow and change throughout the series as she herself grows up and learns to control her magic. She starts off sad, shy, and scared, but there is a light about her and a determination in her that slowly grows to prominence as she grows up. She really is a fantastic heroine. But apart from the heroine, we also get to meet some wonderful new characters and to see some old characters from the first series from a new perspective. And just like the first series, the characters are neither entirely perfect nor entirely evil. My favorite villain of the series comes in the third book. He is insane with power and paranoia, but he also has a soft spot for animals. How can you hate someone who has a soft spot for animals? But yet, he does some really terrible things. He’s a fascinating character. I would read a book about him if Pierce were to write one.
And finally, and most importantly, I love the story. Just as in the first series, the scale of the story is huge, but yet the focus is quite human. The story, when boiled down to its essentials, could be described as the journey of a famous woman to becoming the most powerful Wild Mage in the world as she fights a war that reaches from the human realm to the realm of the gods; or it could be described as the journey of a girl as she figures out who she is and learns to accept the power within herself. Both epic and human. It’s Tamora Pierce’s greatest strength as a writer.
I love this series. The only Tamora Pierce series that rivals it for the top place in my heart is her third series. But I’ll talk about that in my next review.
To buy the first book for Kindle, go here: Amazon.
To check out other books by Tamora Pierce, go here: Tamora Pierce.
To read an interesting excerpt from a book about Tamora Pierce, her series, and the world of Tortall, go here: Reading Tamora Pierce.
If you read The Immortals series, or if you have a different book that you’d like to recommend, please send your thoughts/review to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is Rebecca signing off. Over and out!