Thursday, 20 September 2018

Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Publication Date: February 6th 2018
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 465

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 SalmalĂ­n 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.

This review actually breaks my heart a little to write. Because I grew up on Tamora Pierce books. The Song of the Lioness Quartet shaped and defined the reader I was growing up to be, and nothing will ever break my love for that. I've had mixed feelings to some of the books of hers I've read since, but nothing quite like what I felt reading "Tempests and Slaughter", because much as I hate to say it? This book was bad.

It felt as though Pierce was trying to recapture the magic she created with Alanna, and showing Alanna growing and learning and becoming the person she was meant to be. What we got was an endless dirge of absolutely nothing happening. Sure Arram learns some magic, he meets some people, but nothing actually happens until the last little bit, and even then it's not really explored or developed properly. This book took me weeks to read, because I was so insanely bored reading it that I had to keep putting it down and reading something else for a bit.

And that is heartbreaking to admit.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to find out more about how Numair came to be Numair, but what I got was this endless list cycle of days upon days with no real point or drive or plot. That was the crux of it, that whilst Pierce may have wanted to show Arram/Numair's formative years, she didn't actually have a story, and so the book meanders along with nothing happening, and without anything truly happening there isn't a lot of room for you to see the characters as fully fleshed out people. Which leads to flat characters and the reader just not caring about them.

I don't know if I'm going to bother continuing with this series when the next book comes out. On the one hand, it's Tamora Pierce and my inner eleven year old wants to read everything she writes. On the other, I don't want to ruin my love of her earlier books by reading a series that is crushing in its blandness.

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