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 Salmalín 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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I've loved Tamora Pierce books since I was a child. Although The Lioness quartet is arguably her most famous series, I've always been a bigger fan of The Protector of the Small quartet (I find Keladry to be incredibly compelling and I love rereading the series). However, we haven't had a new Tortall series set in the same time period as these previous quartets since 2005, so I was incredibly excited for this book to come out.
A Welcome Comeback to the Tortall Universe:
While Numair is definitely an interesting character, he isn't necessary one that I really wanted to read a backstory on. So I was more exciting about getting to dive back into the Tortall universe as opposed to reading about his story specifically. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed reading about Numair when he was still Arram, a young Gifted boy trying to figure out what to do with this magic. It's also nice to see more of Carthaki, a country that we never really visit before this series.
Really, Really Long:
At one point, I looked at the book and couldn’t believe I was only halfway through! I felt like I’d been reading forever. And while I appreciate that it’s important to give readers the wished-for backstory on Numair as a young mage, this book felt about 300 pages too long. There seemed like there was a lot of filler put into the book to extend the story, when some sections could have been condensed. Pierce's original quartets were always much shorter, and I still adored them and felt connections to the characters. I've noticed that her books are starting to get longer, but the density just doesn't feel necessary.
Varice Isn't My Favourite, But I Love Her Strength and the Other Strong Women in this Book:
While I’m loving reading about the relationship between Arram and Ozorne when they were teens, I just can’t seem to care about Varice. She seems to be an extra or a tagalong in this story, and I don’t really think she ever develops. Plus, we know that Arram's destined for Daine, so I'm much more interested in finding out what is going to happen between Ozorne and Arram then I am in seeing what happens between Arram and Varice.
That said, Pierce has always put an emphasis on including strong female characters in her novels, and this book is no different. Although I don't love Varice, I do love her strength, her power, and her complete confidence in her decisions. While she's a powerful mage, her goal is to be a good hostess -- and there's such strength in that! She's choosing her own path and doing what she loves, and I think that's absolutely wonderful. We are also given many powerful and respected female Masters at the school. There's literally no divide between men and women mages, it's solely about their abilities. It's brilliant that Arram is learning from powerful mages of both genders (as well as many diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds) because it will definitely shape him into the brilliant mage we know him to be!
One of the best part of reading this book if following it up by rereading the rest of the Tortall quartets, especially the Immortals series. It's fun to see Numair as a young boy as well as a powerful mage and I can't wait to find out what happens in his relationship with Ozorne. Reading the Immortals quartet again really ramped up my excitement for the next book to come out -- the animosity between Numair and Ozorne is amazing and I can't wait to read what happens in the past to get to this point in the future!
FINAL RATING: 3.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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