Title: Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles #1)
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Adult fantasy
Format: Kindle e-book
Published: By Harper Voyager on September 20th, 2018
Grade: Exceeds expectations
Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
In the ancient halls of the Imperial University of Carthak, a young man has begun his journey to becoming one of most powerful mages the realm has ever known. Arram Draper is the youngest student in his class and has the Gift of unlimited potential for greatness . . . and of attracting danger.
At his side are his two best friends: clever Varice, a girl with too often-overlooked, and Ozorne, the leftover prince’ with secret ambitions. Together, these three forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms.
But as Ozorne inches closer to the throne and Varice grows closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.
Tamora Pierce is a legend in young adult fantasy and I was over the moon to hear that not only was she publishing a new book, but by some stroke of luck, I was presented with an early copy of it. Although I couldn’t finish it before publication date, it was still a joy to have gotten an opportunity to review this book. As I’d not read The Immortals Quartet before, I was not highly anticipating its release and did not have any expectations going into it.
Tamora Pierce’s characters are always what draws me into her books more than the plot. It was the same case with this book as Arram’s innocent and quiet charm completely captivated me. His thirst for knowledge, humility and non-confrontational attitude resonated with me even as an adult. I also really liked the way puberty was discussed and presented from a boy’s perspective. The other characters didn’t appeal to me that much as I felt like the narrative barely scratched the surface of their personalities. However, I did like the eclectic mix of teachers from whom Arram learnt and the various appearances of the godly characters.
The plot is something that disappointed me in this book. As I’ve read Pierce’s works before, I was familiar with the way her school setting plots worked but this seemed to be just a snippet of Arram’s life at school with hints of conflict and tension without an overarching plot. I was expecting it to reach an epic conclusion or at least have a major event around the climax, but it ended on what could be considered a cliffhanger without a concrete resolution. This lack of plot made it very difficult for me to be engaged with the story throughout.
However, the world-building and magic system were fantastic and almost made up for the problems I had with the plot. The magic school setting was wonderful and the different kinds of magic explored were very interesting to read about. The book also expanded more on the Carthaki culture and way of life, which any fan of the Tortall universe would be eager to know more of. I also liked how it included more of the mythological aspects of the world by introducing the reader to the pantheon of gods.
I would definitely recommend it to fans of Tamora Pierce. However, I don’t think it’s a great starting point into the Tortall universe and The Song of the Lioness quartet would be a much better choice. I would pair this with some ambient natural sounds, mostly water-related. For the food, I’d stick to comfort foods and I myself would go for some rich dark chocolate.
Have you read this book or any by Tamora Pierce? If yes, what are your opinions? What are some other fantasy books with school settings that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments section below.