“Emperor Mage” by Tamora Pierce

Either this book or In the Hand of the Goddess was the first book I read by Tamora Pierce. So many years have passed since that day that I can no longer remember, but I recall that I loved Pierce’s Song of the Lioness and Immortals books and would reread them often. Now that I’m revisiting them years later, I find that I still enjoy them despite their shortcomings in certain areas.


YA Fantasy


The Immortals, book 3


November 1994

Goodreads overview:

Daine must confront a powerful leader in this third book of the Immortals series, featuring an updated cover for longtime fans and fresh converts alike, and including an all-new afterword from Tamora Pierce.

When Daine is sent to Carthak as part of a Tortallan peace delegation, she 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 only there to heal the emperor’s birds. Her worries only expand once she learns that her own power has grown in a dark and 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—a terrible, power-hungry scheme. And she knows that she must fight this powerful Emperor Mage; the life of her beloved teacher is at risk. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

The third Immortals book brings us to Carthak with Daine and her friends as Tortall tries to initiate peace talks with Emperor Ozorne. While there, Daine of course becomes involved with divine issues that will determine the fate of Carthak and its emperor.

This was one of my favorites of the series when I was a kid. I don’t think Daine was one of my favorite characters back then, but I enjoyed reading about her adventures. I also enjoyed reading about the Graveyard Hag, and now that I’ve revisited the book, I still like her character. She is different from the others. I just like how unapologetically rude she is. I also like the complexity the arises from the powers she gives Daine, although I was annoyed that they were useful for only one scene.

The only other character who appealed to me was Kitten, the dragon (because Alanna doesn’t appear much in this book). It was great to see how much she has grown, how her powers have developed, and how intelligent she’s becoming. The other characters didn’t interest me much and Numair seemed to have become more serious in this installment, although that may be because he’s back in a land where he and his friends’ safety is an issue.

I enjoyed reading Emperor Mage and was entertained by it. There’s more to the plot, so it wasn’t dull like Wolf-Speaker, and it ended leaving me intrigued about what’s coming in Realm of the Gods, which I believe will involve Daine visiting the gods’ realm, if I remember correctly. However, Emperor Mage does have some problematic areas, such as how certain groups are presented and white saviorism, which the Song of the Lioness books also suffer from as well.

Still, I will be reading the next book, which I plan to do before the end of this year.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

It’s a decent read.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

16 thoughts on ““Emperor Mage” by Tamora Pierce

  1. Interesting! I’ve been wanting to read something by Pierce as so many people recommend her books, but now I’m hesitant – I’m very much not into YA and your description of how different was the experience for you in two different moments of your life makes me think I might not like it that much after all.


    1. Yea, I’m not sure if I’d recommend her early books if you’re an adult reading her books for the first time. I think part of the reason why I enjoy her books now is due to reminiscing about when I read them as a kid. I do enjoy the story but the execution has some weak spots.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Not really one particular fave. I’m partial to the Alanna books because they were my introduction to Tortall, but I really loved the Daine and Kel books too.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha I’ve read these as a teen and as an adult and I agree, they were totally different experiences. But I still love them. Enjoyed seeing this on my dash today! x


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