Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Series: The Immortals Quartet #3
Published: November 17, 1994
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.
I love continuing the story of Daine, but this one didn’t seem as enchanting to me as the last two installments in The Immortals series. Daine continues to grow as a young woman, and I love the lessons that the author attempts to put out there in this book (and which are wonderful to teach younger young adults).
The world of Carthage felt a little underdeveloped to me, maybe because there was so much world building for the Copper Isles in the Trickster’s series that I knew Pierce was capable of more. I’m looking forward to reading Numair’s series to see more development on the country and some of the background characters in this book. The main reason that I docked a whole star was because there was a whole dinosaur debacle seemed a little out there, even for a fantasy series. That being said, I totally would have loved those scenes as a young girl.
I’m still hopeful that the last book in the series will pick up, even though I feel like the first one is still the strongest right now. Although I love Daine as a character, I currently feel that The Immortals is my least favorite out of three Pierce series I’ve read. We’ll see if the fourth book can raise it up!
P. S. The fact that this book was published two years before I was born makes me feel old.