Young Adult

Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles #1)

Tempests and Slaughter

Summary:

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This was a wonderful reminder as to why I love Tamora Pierce so much.  She’s so wonderful at making the ordinary extraordinary and giving clear insight into the day-to-day experiences of the characters.  It was interesting to hear her write a male character for the first time (in the Tortall realm) although I can’t say that I found any significant difference to her other books. 

Numair as a child is unusual and it’s interesting to see how different he is than the adult he becomes.  Of course, being a story about his early years, there’s a ton of foreshadow - particularly when it comes to characters and how their relationships intermingle.  The main reason this book didn’t hit five stars for me is because there wasn’t much of a conflict, climax or resolution.  Instead, this was a book of setup around Numair and who is about to become.  We know what will eventually happen (to some degree) in the next book, but this was the foundation for that to build upon.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of the Tortall realm, but if you’re not familiar with the series, I’d recommend at least reading the “Wild Magic” books before diving into this series.

Want to read the whole series?

  • The Exile’s Gift (The Numair Chronicles #2)

Melting Stones (Circle Reforged #2)

Melting Stones

Summary:

Evvy, a young stone mage in training, is accompanying her mentor, Rosethorn, and another dedicate from Winding Circle while they investigate mysterious happenings on the island of Starns. Her job is to listen and learn, but, being Evvy, she can't just keep quiet and do nothing. With the help of Luvo, the rock being she befriended at her home in Yanjing, Evvy discovers the source of the problem — a long-dormant volcano. Now she and her friends must save the islanders from impending disaster — if only Evvy can use her talents to avert the certain destruction that looms ahead. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

Although I know that Evvy is supposed to be a victim of post-traumatic stress, I found her a fairly unlikeable character.  Considering she was one of my favorites in the Circle Opens quartet, that was surprising.  Rosethorn was even fairly subdued and didn’t seem like her old self.  I am planning to read “Battle Magic” where we learn what happened to them (and perhaps will make me more understanding), but after this one I feel meh about continuing the series right away.

This book had a decent premise, but since Evvy is a character we don’t know as well as the original quartet her interactions with everyone also felt a little unclear and one-dimensional.  All around the book was an ok read, but nothing that’s a must read.  I will eventually read “Battle Magic” and perhaps after that I’ll feel more connected to “Melting Stones”.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of the overall Circle of Magic stories only.

Want to read the whole series?

The Will of the Empress (Circle Reforged #1)

The Will of the Empress

Summary:

Sandry, Daja, Briar, and Tris, are older now and back together again, in an exciting and much-awaited, stand-alone novel by everyone's favorite mage, Tamora Pierce.

For years the Empress of Namorn has pressed her young cousin, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, to visit her vast lands within the Empire's borders. Sandry has avoided the invitation for as long as it was possible. Now Sandry has agreed to pay that overdue visit. Sandry's uncle promises guards to accompany her. But they're hardly a group of warriors! They're her old friends from Winding Circle: Daja, Tris, and Briar. Sandry hardly knows them now. They've grown up and grown apart. Sandry isn't sure they'll ever find their old connection again - or if she even wants them to. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book was very fun to go back and revisit the Circle of Magic characters, but I found them very angst-filled in this book.  For four individuals who were supposedly extremely mature, they seemed to have a poor sense of how to act when you’ve grown apart from someone.  I understand why it was used as part of the series, yet I still found that aspect of the book peeved me a little that it was “SO SURPRISING”.

Seeing Sandry try to get off her high horse also made me wince a bit.  Since I read through the series straight through, I didn’t remember he being such a noble in her other books compared to this one.  Perhaps I am overly harsh, but I wanted to believe that Sandry is better than she came off to be at times.  All that being said, the emotional development and interpersonal reactions I felt were fairly realistic and I enjoyed seeing how it all came to be.  Most of the story was predictable, but still enjoyed nonetheless.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of the overall Circle of Magic stories or else it will be very confusing.

Want to read the whole series?

The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)

The Rose and the Dagger

Summary:

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who has found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with “The Wrath and the Dawn” takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

In this sequel to “The Wrath and the Dawn” we follow Shahrzad in the fall out of the dramatic actions by her father than resulted in utter devastation of her beloved Khorasan.  The book picks up right away and quickly moves into non-stop action as Shahrzad tries to utilize all resources available to her to break a the curse and also prevent pending war. 

While I enjoyed this book much more than the first in the series, I didn’t like that the first book had such a slow build and this one was almost overwhelming in the nonstop action.  I loved seeing Irsa come into her own character, however, and she complimented Shazi’s capabilities as a younger sister.  As in the first book, the story is beautifully written with some strong female characters who kicked butt and took names.  Overall, I really enjoyed this series and think it is worth taking the team to give it a read.

I also have to say, it was refreshing that the series wasn’t extended into a third book as many publishers push for that these days!

Warning: Contains repeated violence and sexual content.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of fairy tale retellings and who have read the first in the series.

Want to read the whole series?