This series just gets better with each book. And this one just takes the cake. I loved every moment of this story.
Immortals, new powers for Daine, new characters.
I am so in love with this series.
WHAT WAS WRITTEN
A delegate from Tortall have been invited south to Emperor Ozorne's palace to talk about a peace treaty. He has been responsible for the Immortals which have been attacking Tortall and devastating the country. Daine has been invited because the emperor has heard of her ability to heal animals and his precious birds are sick - as a gesture from Tortall she is allowed to come and care for them.
But there's more going on in this event than just peace talks. The God are furious with Ozorne for his actions with the Immortals and Tortall - and they have decided that Daine is the one who will deliver this news and its ensuing retribution. Encouraged by the Graveyard Hag (who interferes with Daine more than the young girl would like), Daine needs to confront Ozorne and save the empire. But how?
WHAT MY BRAIN HAS TO SAY ON THE MATTER
If I wasn't working with Middle Schoolers I would have finished this book in an afternoon. As it was, it took me a few nights of reading it to devour the story. And? Frankly I'm actually pretty grateful for that. It allowed me to really take in what I was reading and mull it over and think about it - something I don't give myself the time to do when I attack a book in one sitting. And this book was worth the time spent thinking.
I cannot get over how much growth there is with each book of this series. Seriously. There are few characters who I've read who I see them honestly going from one point in their lives to another and at the same time are true to their age. And Tamora Pierce? She does this perfectly, with such grace and honesty to her characters. Especially Daine. She's fifteen years old - and her character never sways from what a fifteen year old is like. Yes, there's a lot going on in her life - her powers, her friends from Tortall, Kaddar, and so much more - but she still has these moments of what do you mean a 15 year old can do this? And how the relationship between Daine and Numair is handled is beautiful. It would be so easy to make that seem sleazy or inappropriate, but Tamora Pierce handles that teacher/student relationship so well. Even Numair's jealousy/concern over Kaddar. It's amazing - I wish more authors could accomplish this even half as well.
I also loved the change of setting for this novel. The move down to Ozorne's palace put the whole delegation out of their element, but forced them to rally together in a new and interesting way. And knowing Numair was headed down into a potential trap? It just made the suspense of the whole book that much more intense. And then you add in Kaddar (my favorite new character) and the plot line of this book just flew for me. I enjoyed that I was never quite sure how I felt about Kaddar, that I was always on my toes as to where his true allegiances lay. He is a fascinating character and I really hope that we see more of him in future novels. And the Graveyard Hag? Creepiest God yet. Really. She freaked me out every time she made an appearance.
I cannot wait for the next book in this series - I need to get my butt to the library ASAP!
THE NITTY GRITTY
Title: Emperor Mage (The Immortals #3)
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
Medium: Soft Cover, 358pp
Publisher: Simon Pulse (17 November 1994)
Date Read: 19 September 2013
Source: Borrowed From Library
Recommended For: Middle School+, YA Lovers, Fantasy Lovers
First Line: His Royal Highness Kaddar, prince of Siraj, duke of Yamut, count of Amar, first lord of the Imperium, heir apparent to His Most Serene Majesty Emperor Ozorne of Cathark, fanned himself and wished the Tortallans would dock.
Favorite Line: Someday I must read this scholar Everyone. He seems to have written so much - all of it wrong.
Last Line: Thunder rolled softly overhead as, once more, it began to rain. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]