It’s crazy how far behind I am on reading and reviewing. My plan was to be caught up by now but so much is happening that I’m unable to. It’s a hard time for everyone and I just wish more people would take this coronavirus thing seriously.
Anyway, here I have the last book I read last year — Tamora Pierce’s The Realms of the Gods. I read it as part of my plan to reread all Pierce’s books I enjoyed when I was a kid. I’ve been going through them slowly and have been surprised by my reaction to some of them, like this one.
The Immortals, book 4
During a dire battle against the fearsome Skinners, Daine and her mage teacher, Numair, are swept into the Divine Realms. Although they are happy to be alive, they are not where they want to be. They are desperately needed back home where their old enemy, Ozorne, and his army of strange creatures are waging war against Tortall.
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.
The Immortals, book 3
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.
I could feel reading fatigue coming on after 900+ pages of Stephen King’s The Stand, so I searched my bookshelves for something simple and fun. I grabbed Tamora Pierce’s Wolf-Speaker, the second in her YA fantasy series the Immortals.
Pierce’s books are quick reads and were among my favorites when I was a teen. Similar to my plan for Stephen King’s books, I intend to read all of Pierce’s novels based in Tortall, and Wolf-Speaker was the next one due for a read.
The Immortals, book 2
When Daine is summoned to help a pack of wolves — dear friends from her old village — she and Numair travel to Dunlath Valley to answer the call. But when they arrive, Daine is shocked to learn that it’s not only animals whose lives are threatened; people are in danger, too.
The best thing for me to do when stressed is return to a favorite novel, preferably one that’s a quick, fun read that’s sure to make me momentarily forget my troubles. That need led me to reread these two novels a couple days ago. It’s been years since I’d read them, but I still enjoy them.
These two seem an unlikely pair, but they share several similarities. They are both YA novels that target readers on the cusp of adolescence. I usually think of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympian novels as middle-grade reads, but I think The Battle of the Labyrinth is where the books start to lean more heavily toward YA because Percy Jackson is now a 14-year-old but still trying to protect his friends and survive until his supposedly fateful 16th birthday. Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic, the first of her Immortals novels, is YA fantasy and has content that is more mature than what’s presented in The Battle of the Labyrinth, but the protagonist is a 13-year-old girl who has lost her family and is seeking a new home while learning to accept who she is.
I immensely enjoyed reading both books and while reading them, both filled me with nostalgia for when I first encountered them. I first read The Battle of the Labyrinth when I was in college. That’s when I learned of the Percy Jackson series, got hooked, and marathon-read them. I did the same when I discovered Tamora Pierce’s books in middle school. Until I reread Wild Magic, I was convinced that the Song of the Lioness books were my introduction to Tamora Pierce. But now I believe I first encountered Pierce through the Immortals books, with the third book, Emperor Mage, to be exact, before I hopped to the Song of the Lioness series.
But no matter how I discovered them or who their target audience is, I’m glad that I’m able to return to them now and still be entertained by them.
One of the best ways to see how much you’ve changed over the years is to return to a book you’ve read and see how much your opinions of it has changed. I read this book 3 years ago and though my opinions of it aren’t drastically different now, they have altered and developed and some new ones have sprouted.
I read this for the Authorathon readathon back in April. My plan was to read Eon and immediately start on its sequel, Eona, but I had so many thoughts when done with Eon that I was unable to move on to Eona until I’d jotted down my thoughts. I debated posting a review since I don’t always review books I reread if I’ve already posted a review of it on here, but there are many things I want to point out and hopefully encourage others to read this book that I decided to post a new review. I’ll leave my old one up because I like revisiting my old thoughts.
The summary here is the same that I used in my old review:
Eon is about a girl masquerading as boy so that she can train in the arts of dragon magic. Set in a culture similar to the Chinese, Eon must work to become apprentice to one of the eleven Dragoneyes (masters) that are connected to the dragons: Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat. There are twelve dragons, each for a particular cardinal point, but the Dragon dragon has not been seen for several years and is believed to have disappeared. There is no Dragoneye for the Dragon dragon.
Only men are allowed to train to become an apprentice and gain the title of Dragoneye, hence Eon’s disguise as a boy. At the time when Eon decides to compete for the position of apprentice, the Rat dragon is in ascendant. This occurs at the beginning of the year and the Dragoneye connected to the ascending dragon will be most powerful for that entire year. As luck would have it, Eon is almost picked as apprentice for the Rat dragon, but things do not go as planned and something unexpected occurs.
I don’t know why but this week has been exhausting though I haven’t done anything strenuous. I was so tired last night and the night before that I forgot about Top 5 Wednesday and skipped Top Ten Tuesday. But since the steam from Wednesday is still lingering around, I decided to go ahead and do this post.
The Song of the Lioness series continues with Alanna and Coram in Maren, a country to the east of Tortall. Her purpose there is to find a friend of Myles’, who can translate a map she was given by the nameless woman who died in the last book. She discovers that the map points the way to the Roof of the World, where the Dominion Jewel is kept. The Dominion Jewel is a powerful object that only a true leader can wield. Alanna decides to embark on an adventure to claim the Dominion Jewel for Tortall to prove her worth as a lady-knight and to further fortify Tortall.
But before she begins this adventure, she meets a dragon. No, not one with pointy teeth and fiery breath but one just as deadly. She meets Liam, a member of the Shang warriors. He is called the Shang Dragon, “the best of the best,” and is lethal both with weapons and weaponless. Immediately Alanna is drawn to him and it’s lust at first sight. The Lioness and the Dragon engage in a stormy affair that’s short-lived due to their stark differences, stubbornness, and Liam’s fear of magic. After hearing of their plans, Liam decides to accompany Alanna and Coram to the Roof. Along the way, they meet Buri, a K’miri warrior, who accompanies Thayet, the exiled princess of Sarain. They both travel with children, fugitives of Sarain’s civil war.
On her first adventure as a knight, Alanna and Coram visit the Great Southern Desert, where she runs into one of the Bazhir tribes called the Bloody Hawk. After a tense meeting, where she was shunned by the Bloody Hawk’s shaman, she and Coram are inducted into the tribe. They call her “Woman Who Rides Like a Man” since she goes unveiled, wear breeches, carry a sword, and literally rides a horse like a man. While residing with the tribe, Alanna and Faithful, her cat, are adopted by three children—Ishak, Kara, and Kourrem—, who were made outcasts of the village by the shaman because they have the Gift (magic). After the shaman dies due to his own stupidity, Alanna begins to train the three children to become shaman of the village.
Prince Jonathan and Myles also visit Alanna while she resides with the tribe. George sent his spies. After winning their acceptance, both Jonathan and Myles were inducted into the tribe. Myles uses the opportunity to adopt Alanna—both magically and legally—as his heir. Jonathan and Alanna rekindle their romance and there is talk of marriage, which leads Alanna to again ponder what it is that she wants. She yearns for adventure but she also loves Jonathan. However, committing to Jonathan carries responsibilities such as marriage and producing an heir for the kingdom as soon as possible. Still, she does enjoy George’s company. She hardly has much time to ponder this since she helps to train her young shamans as well as others who visit the Bloody Hawk, which marks the budding of a new school of magic. Also, she tends to the Voice of the Tribes, a spiritual figurehead, who is frail and sick. The main reason for Jonathan’s visit is to become the new Voice of the Tribes. It’s a controversial move since the Bazhir tribes and the king of Tortall are at odds but the Voice of the Tribes believes that by making the prince the Voice, the rift between the king and the tribes will mend.
The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce was a great read. I completed the books a couple weeks ago but I am behind on my posts. I decided to re-read the series because I wanted to once again experience reading a favorite book for the first time. Of course, this was a silly plan doomed to fail since I am no longer the person I was when I first read these books and, obviously, this is neither the first, second, or third time that I’m reading them. I first read Alanna’s story when I was a freshman in high school and her story resonated with me. Alanna is a headstrong girl who defies the ethics of her land by posing as a boy so she could become a knight. She does not allow her circumstances to dictate who she should be. She decides that for herself.
The younger me and the present me both admire this trait. Back then, it stood out to me because I was at the point in life where a child’s family begins to prep and prod her in the direction they believe it best for her to go. My family had great intentions and their prepping and prodding were positively beneficial but I wanted to decide for myself. Now, as I try to assimilate to adulthood, I still find it alluring because I realize that it takes a lot of guts to go against the norm and do something unexpected. It takes guts to chase your goals and not allow circumstances or anything, rather, to hinder you from attaining it. Therefore, it took guts for Alanna to continue with her plans to become a lady-knight at a time when such an idea was not easily accepted. She must really have madness in her family, as she often mutters whenever she does something crazy.