In May I committed to reading two big and dense (but really fantastic) books, which meant that during two months my reading was a bit on the unvarying side. During that time audiobooks kept me lightly entertained: a bit of Narnia, a quick chick-lit and the Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce.
Don’t remember where I first heard about this YA series, probably in a “Best Kick-Ass Heroines” list. Or it might have been in a “Best Books with Dragons” one.
This is the second of Pierce’s series set in the world of Tortall and I can’t say the plot is completely original, but it’s still an interesting take. We follow a young girl with mysterious and great powers as she learns to control them, overcomes male expectations, saves the world and in between discovers her real origins.
What makes our heroine – Daine – special is that she has a connection to animals. She can speak to them and, as time passes, she can also become one. I’m not one for stories with talking animals, except in animated movies, but I easily accepted this one. Actually, the best thing about the series was the way animals are described, especially their habits and body moments. They sounded true to life and very endearing. Pierce is even able to make me feel emotional towards a live blob of dark liquid (literally, there’s an ink-pool-like animal in the last book).
Also appreciated that Pierce doesn’t shy away from political intrigue and talk (just talk, fear not!) of sex, which is unusually for your typical (young-)YA. And although Daine has a touch of the Mary-Sue about her, she surprised me at points, like continuing to be carnivore even though she thinks of animals as people. On the other hand, I had problems with characters saying things like “Catch my drift?” in a supposedly medieval world. Also, Daine’s relationship with her relatives in the last book sounded underdeveloped and awkward, especially after the build up led me to expect some sort of cathartic moment.
In the end, I didn’t feel strongly about the series, but it delivered what I needed at the time: an enjoyable, light fantasy, with a 3D main character and some depth to the plot.
Have you read any Tamora Pierce? Any recommendations?