Way back when I was wee, I didn’t actually like reading very much. My mom would buy me books, and I’d look at them, set them aside and forget about them. One day, I finally picked up Magic Steps from Tamora Pierce and something about it drew me in. I was eight, in third grade and I finally fell in love with reading. I devoured the book and begged my mom to buy me the rest of the series. What I found was not just a couple more books, but enough to keep me busy reading for months. Magic Steps was the first book in the second of Pierce’s quartets set in her fictional world of Emelan. But, Emelan is not her only universe – there’s also Tortall. Tortall is the world of knights and magic and strong women, and the world in which Tempests and Slaughter takes place.
The synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Fans of Tamora Pierce will be delighted to find that the story of Numair, of Arram Draper, is both familiar and new. All the elements of classic Tamora Pierce that we know and love are present. A lovable protagonist, standing up for others, study groups in the library, magical animal sidekick, frustrating and meddling god, adventures, magic and a wry sense of humor about describing the realities of growing up and growing bodies. There are even a few easter eggs along the way to delight fans of the other books set in Tortall. But the story is fresh and still unpredictable. Despite “knowing how it will end” from reading the books that take place after Tempests and Slaughter, I still bit my nails and worried about our lovable cast of characters.
But readers new to Pierce’s work shouldn’t be afraid they’ll be lost or find themselves alienated. Tempests and Slaughter takes place before the events of most of the other books set in Tortall, and hundreds of years after books set earlier in the universe’s timeline. One need not know anything about Tortall or Pierce’s writing to be welcome and enjoy the delight that is Tempests and Slaughter. Pierce is a master of her craft, writing stories that are heartfelt, gripping and hilarious. Her characters have depth and diversity, and she tackles tough storylines with finesse. In Tempests and Slaughter, Pierce is on top of her game and hits a homerun with the first installment of the Numair Chronicles.
I’m already dying for the second installment, but Tempests and Slaughter hits shelves February 6, 2018.