EMPEROR MAGE follows the story of Daine, now fifteen years old, a girl with the rare power of "wild magic" that gives her an extraordinary affinity with animals. With her wild magic, Daine can communicate with animals, see the world through their senses, and even transform herself into one, all skills that the first two books of THE IMMORTALS series have shown her develop.
In this third book, the stakes are raised as Daine accompanies an ambassadorial delegation to Carthak, where she is to use her wild magic to cure the Carthaki Emperor's sick pet birds as a show of goodwill. Carthaki ships have been attacking the coast of Daine's country of Tortall for the last year, resulting in increasingly violent skirmishes, and the intention of this delegation is to negotiate for peace between the nations.
Accompanying Daine on this trip are the famous lady knight Alanna, star of Pierce's LIONESS QUARTET, Tortall's most powerful mage and Daine's teacher, Numair, and the young dragon, Kitten.
Daine finds Carthak to be an alternately strange and disturbing place; she's not comfortable with the practice of slavery, which is legal there, or with Emperor Orzone, a powerful mage in his own right. When the peace negotiations stall, things start to heat up, and the balance of power between two great nations has been staked on the outcome.
In what is undoubtedly my favorite book of the quartet, Pierce continues to develop Daine's skills and abilities while simultaneously allowing the readers entry into the struggles that this wild mage has had to face in order to build her talent. The cast of supporting characters is large but nuanced, and although it might initially seem an easy job to discern between the two sides of the impending fight, the distinctions are increasingly and intelligently blurred.
I particularly enjoyed the further characterization of Numair, as well as the introduction of the young Prince Kaddar, who always kept me guessing. The pacing is spot on, with seemingly innocuous events leading up to a powerful climactic sequence.
I read it all the way through without stopping!
*Gold Star Award Winner!show more