Emperor Mage

Author: Tamora Pierce

The Immortals, vol. 3

After years of tension and threat of war, Carthak’s Emperor Ozorne is finally willing to talk peace with a delegation from Tortall. Lucky Daine gets to go along to heal the emperor’s beloved pet birds as a gesture of good intentions. Now she’s all about taking care of the birds–helping animals is kind of what she does–but being part of all the political talks is not her idea of a good time, especially when it’s with a country that has sent unofficial attacks against her country. But she does go, and she’s surprised to find the emperor’s nothing like what she expected–or rather, in some ways he’s worse and in others he’s remarkably kind and considerate. In any case, all this courtly mumbo-jumbo gets under Daine’s skin, as does the fact that many people in the Carthaki court have a history with her friend and mentor Numair. Not to mention the underlying suspicions that things are not as they seem here what with the involvement of a Carthaki goddess and a number of other rather frightening immortal beings. . . .

I love Tamora Pierce’s writing, and I think The Immortals books are some of my favorites. The characters of Daine and Numair are complex and intriguing–plus I just like them and find their growing friendship to be fun and heartwarming. And all the animal friends Daine makes along the way are charming and entertaining with their quizzically non-human perspectives. I enjoy the balance of intrigue, magic, action, and friendship–everything just flows so nicely to create a story that’s exciting and engaging all the way through. Of particular note in this volume is her development of the Carthaki nation and its culture–it has both an intriguing individuality and a fascinating similarity to that of ancient Egypt. And of course, the inclusion of numerous characters from The Song of the Lioness quartet (Alanna, of note) makes this volume even more fun! Really, Pierce is an excellent writer with a very readable style; I would highly recommend all her books and Emperor Mage in particular.

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