Author: Tamora Pierce
The Immortals, vol. 4
In spite of the work and sacrifice of many, Daine and Numair not the least, Immortals (monsters from the Divine Realms) have flooded the world following the rupture of the barrier keeping them at bay. While on a mission to deal with some particularly nasty Immortals, the two find themselves whisked (rescued, rather) away to the Divine Realms–by Daine’s parents, no less! Daine finally gets to meet her Da, one of the gods, and finds that her deceased mother is now living in the Divine Realms with him as a lesser goddess. Surprises and happiness all around, especially when the badger shows up for the party as well. But Daine and Numair aren’t the sorts to enjoy leisure and comfort when their friends and country are in danger, and the dark little spies their enemy sends after them even at Daine’s parents’ home are a reminder that they must be getting back. But the only way they can get home is to travel through the Divine Realms (which aren’t all sunshine and roses) to the Dragonlands and ask the dragons to take them home. . . . And of course, they might eat them before they get the chance to ask.
Tamora Pierce is always a winner with me, especially The Immortals quartet, so I greatly enjoyed The Realms of the Gods. It was packed with all the things that make Pierce’s stories amazing: great characters, huge plot, a great balance between intensity and good humor, and an element of the unexpected. In this particular volume, I did find that the beginning was a bit slow for my taste; however, I think a lot of the problem there was that I was anticipating and worrying about the war back in Tortall. The beginning part was actually quite interesting; a unique look into the home life of the exalted, if you will, and a sweet reunion for Daine and her parents. The romance between Daine and Numair that’s been expectantly brewing for some time finally sparks in this volume, and I love the way it just fits. It’s like, you’ve been expecting them to fall in love for years, and when it finally happens, it just flows naturally without a bunch of weirdness. It’s nice, and it doesn’t overpower the plot. I really love the inclusion of the “darkings” in the story as well. These are small, ink-blobby entities magically formed by the evil Ozorne to do his bidding–bad business to be sure. And initially, they’re all spying and mysterious. But then they realize they are individuals and have control over their choices–then they’re not only cute but brave and pretty amazing. I would highly recommend The Realms of the Gods to anyone who enjoys a solid, fun fantasy–just read the first three volumes of the quartet first!