Sunday, November 8, 2009

Review: Wild Magic, Tamora Pierce

Thirteen-year-old Daine flees her home when raiders attack and kill her family. Hiring on with a horse-mistress who supplies the Queen's Riders, Daine puts to use her unique--and strange--knack with animals. Her attempts to hide the extent of her wild magic fail when she rescues a falcon fleeing from Stormwings. The falcon is really Numair, friend of Alanna (yay Alanna!), and the most powerful mage in Tortall. Under his tutelage, Daine begins to master her magic--and not a moment too soon as there's trouble brewing in Tortall: Immortals, banished to the Divine Realms four hundred years previously, have found their way back into the human realm and begin to wreak havoc.

Reading this book I felt thirteen years old all over again: Daine's uncertainty, awkwardness around men in their twenties, useless frustrating tears. Oh how I remember! It can be a dubious pleasure to revisit this age, but Tamora Pierce makes it so darn exciting. I was worried that I wouldn't get the same pleasure from Pierce's books this time around, but I needn't have worried. I had a ball.

Wild Magic is set about a decade after the end of the Song of the Lioness quartet. Alanna, star of this earlier series, is all grown up. She features heavily in this book, as does Queen Thayet. Alanna has paved the way for women warriors, but there is a heavier focus on magic in these books than the earlier quartet (if I remember correctly; it's been even longer since I read the Alanna books). Daine and Numair are two of my favourite Pierce characters. They're funny and sweet together, have a great scenes--and I make no secret of the fact that I have a big dirty crush on the tall, dark and handsome mage. "Stork-man", as Daine's pony calls him.

This isn't so much a review as a gush: I could sooner chew off my left arm than say bad things about this book. I loved reading it again! If your unfamiliar with the world in which Pierce sets her novels, you could start with The Immortals, but preferably with the Song of the Lioness quartet and learn about the history behind Alanna, Jonathan, the King of Thieves and all the other characters, not to mention the complex world Pierce has created. The first book is Alanna: The First Adventure.

This is one of my many favourite scenes in Wild Magic, early on when Daine's still learning and everyone's a bit twitchy because of all the Immortals crashing around:

Thayet yelled, trying to get Daine's attention. Daine turned, but before she could answer a heavy form slammed into her. Down she went, mouth filling with brine. Trying to rise, she was slammed again and thrust deeper into the water by the animal's impact. She opened her mouth to scream, and breathed seawater.

Miri and Evin later said she popped into the air to hang upside down from an unseen hand, pouring water as she fought ... Then the hands that weren't there whisked her to the beach where Onua waited with a blanket. Daine was put gently on her feet, but her knees gave.

Numair strode down the beach towards them, his face like a thundercloud. Black fire shot with white light gathered around his outstretched hand. Sarge grabbed a quiver of javelins, Buri her double-curved bow. Both raced to attack the brown creature lumbering up onto the shore.

Daine saw them just in time. "No don't!" She threw herself in front of the animal. "Don't!" she screeched when fire left Numair's fingers, flying at them. He twisted his hand, and it vanished.

The Immortals quartet was published between 1992 and 1996 and isWild Magic, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage and The Realms of the Gods.

Now go. Go and read them.


  1. One of my shameful secrets as a fantasy reader is that I have never read a single Tamora Pierce--in the 1990s I was in grad school, and didn't do much fantasy reading...And then I read reviews like this, and realize that someday I must read her!

  2. These sound great! I've never even heard of Tamora Pierce, but any book that can make me feel like I'm 13 all over again is good by me.
    And this sounds particularly fantastic! Great review!

  3. I too haven't read any Tamora Pierce. Clearly I need to. And I have these books on my shelf! Shame on me then. I love your enthusiastic reviews. Thanks!

  4. Girls girls girls! Get thee to your libraries :)

  5. I have often heard of Tamora Pierce, but never actually read it. Your gushing review makes me wish I had! And I think I definitely will, hopefully sooner than later. I'm intrigued!

  6. I own this entire series but I haven't read them yet, mainly because I felt like I wouldn't like them. But after reading this review, I bumped the series up my TBR pile. :)

  7. Haven't read this yet but really want to.

  8. I haven't read any of her books but they sound wonderful.

  9. Oh wonderful. I just finished the Lioness quartet this summer and need to start reading the rest. I'm really glad to hear that there are plenty of Alanna sightings too.

  10.'re going to hate me too - I dont think ive read a single Tamora Pierce either....are there any I should avoid? I dont want my first reading experience to be sullied by her more average books (if she has any)