BOOK REVIEW: Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce

Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy
Series: Book 3 of Quartet (Complete)

Emperor Mage: ★★★★.5/5

Summary: Sent to Carthak as part of the Tortallan peace delegation, Daine finds herself in the middle of a sticky political situation. She doesn’t like the Carthaki practice of keeping slaves, but it’s not her place to say anything — she’s just there to heal the emperor’s birds. It’s extremely frustrating! What’s more, her power has grown in a mysterious way. As the peace talks stall, Daine puzzles over Carthak’s two-faced Emperor Ozorne. How can he be so caring with his birds and so cruel to his people? Daine is sure he’s planning something. Daine must fight the powerful Emperor Mage, knowing that the safety and peace of the realm depend on stopping Ozorne’s power-hungry schemes.

In this third book, I was reminded that Daine is still a young child compared to her company. Though she does hold herself more mature than most children, there did seem to be a separation when peace talks were taking place and the emphasis on her behavior. Necessary, but just a small reminder.

DAINE: She begins to get frustrated with a new power bestowed upon her from one of the gods as she’s used as a vessel for this god’s deed. Daine also becomes closer to Prince Kaddar as she spends most of her time with him during this book. I did wish there was a bigger romance conflict with the both of them and Numair. (There was one little one). You also discover more about Daine’s parents.

NUMAIR: I just love how clever this fellow is. You end up meeting one of Numair’s former lovers, which irks Daine (a little). But even throughout this book, Numair continues to show his feelings for her when he goes to Prince Kaddar and has a little “talk” with him. That part made me smile. heh

PRINCE KADDAR: The prince is an honorable and sweet young teen. He feels open and vulnerable around Daine (as most people/animals tend to feel) and readers will come to enjoy his presence.

KING OZORNE (EMPEROR MAGE): Readers finally meet the villain in person, the Emperor Mage. Daine is torn between his two faces–the animal lover and the evil ruler. He hates Numair and has an ulterior motive against him. He is evil. Hate the guy.

The conflict really gets a kick start in this third book. You find out that the workings in the mortal world are causing a drift even in the immortal realms. And there is a foreshadowing that this problem is bigger than anyone can even imagine. Also, this huge event happens at the end that makes Daine go ballistic, it’s merited of course. I won’t spoil it, BUT I do think that the effect would have been better if Pierce really emphasized it a bit more.

BUY IT ON AMAZON

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One thought on “BOOK REVIEW: Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce

  1. My sister and I just covered Emperor Mage in our YA fantasy podcast, and I found it SO much fun to reread. I managed to visualize some of the more complex scenes much better than I did as a child (the Emperor’s display of military power from the floating ship comes to mind, as well as the castle-crushing final sequence), and I was incredibly impressed by Daine’s presence of mind and capability at so young an age (even when she is excluded from the “adult” conversations taking place in court). She’s had a life that forced maturity early on, but it’s still pretty incredible that she nearly single-handedly stopped international warfare (with a little help from the Graveyard Hag, of course). It was also inspiring to see the changing attitudes brought by Kaddar, who was so uninterested in continuing his uncle’s disregard for human life. The book brought up some interesting conversations about slavery and cultural insensitivity, as well. Tamora Pierce always amazes me!

    I loved Kaddar and Daine’s friendship, too – but I always felt like they had a sibling dynamic, so I didn’t hope for romance. Would have made for an intriguing love triangle, though.

    If you’re interested in hearing our Emperor Mage episode, just check out Dragon Babies on iTunes! Thanks for posting this great review!

    -Grace

    Like

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