Tempests and Slaughter Review

 

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Title: Tempests and Slaughter

Author: Tamora Pierce

Series: The Numair Chronicles

Pages: 455

Summary: Arram Draper is 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 trouble. 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.

As Arram’s education continues, he discovers a disturbing dark side of the Carthaki Empire — one that not even his own powerful masters at the university can protect him from. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

Belle Rating: C-

Bookworm Rating: B+

Target Audience: Young Adults

*Minor spoilers below!*

Story Notes:

D We begin our story with 10 year old Arram, a very “Gifted” student at the university, trying to not be bored in his classes. Being so good with magic brings a lot of resentment from the other students…especially when they are older than you…so poor Arram doesn’t have very many friends.

L – In one of his classes he accidentally casts a powerful spell that he can’t control and comes into contact with the head of the university; Master Chioké. In order to understand why this is important, we need to understand how the magic system in this book works. Sadly, Tamora Pierce doesn’t do a great job of this in the book.

D (this is why my rating is so low…)

L – If you’ve read her other books (which I have) you know how it works already. But I did notice the lack of explanation. Basically, the Gift is something that certain people are born with. Some people have a lot of it and some people don’t. To manipulate something you need to understand how it works. For example, to repair a broken bone you need to know what it looked like before and how it was attached to the muscles around it. There are more powerful things you can do with spells in ancient languages; but that’s super complex and we don’t need to go there right now. The university basically teaches control, how things work, and the easiest ways to manipulate them.

D The head masters of the university learned very quickly that Arram is a force to be reckoned with and will grow to do amazing things one day. And that he needs special attention so that he may progress at his own speed (Cause age clearly means nothing when it comes to this kid). In the process of having his whole schedule being rearranged to fit his intellectual needs, Arram meets his two best friends: Varice and Ozorne.

L – Both Varice and Ozorne are in this “special student program” as well. Varice is very beautiful and good with people. Something Arram definitely isn’t good at. Ozorne is actually a prince of Carthak (where our story takes place), but he isn’t very close to being next in line for the throne.

D – For now *dun dun duuuunnnn!*

L – The rest of the story basically deals with Arram growing up (to about 14) and learning magic. And proving that he is a very peculiar child indeed. There isn’t really a climax or a big bad guy we’re fighting. Things happen….but they don’t really go anywhere.

Writing Style:

L – Tamora Pierce has a very distinctive writing style. She has a way of making you feel what the characters are feeling. When Arram is uncomfortable with something, you feel a bit uncomfortable yourself.

D – I did get that from her, which I really appreciated. But coming from someone who hasn’t read any of her previous books before, I was pretty lost with just about everything. (until a wonderful person told me all about the magics 🙂 )

L – 🙂 That was a problem in this book. It’s a bit like she assumes you’ve read her other works. Or perhaps she’s written so many stories in this world she forgot to explain because she knows all about it herself.

D – Probably a bit of both. And as you have said before, there is no climax to this story. I mean, I liked the book. But it is not the adventure book that I was expecting. It feels more like a prequel than anything.

Weaknesses:

L – As we’ve mentioned, the plot doesn’t really go anywhere. Things happen (Arram gets visited by gods, people are murdered, Arram gets held for ransom) but when the thing is over we don’t really ever visit it again. Maybe she’ll get more into it in a later book, but…this felt a little unfinished.

D – Yes, what you think would spark tension and a climax did…nothing…everything is easily swept under the rug. And by the end of the book all I could think of is “that’s it?? I read all of that for nothing??? I expected tears!!!”

L – This is something that I’ve seen Pierce do before. But it’s usually only one element and very quickly we find something else with more tension to focus on. Then when it comes up in the next book it’s satisfying to see the conclusion. This felt empty in a way.

D – I’m sure it will get good and juicy in the upcoming books. But maybe she should’ve reconsidered the title…

L – yeah…. but I suppose there is a huge storm and there’s death. So not completely inaccurate, but not as exciting as I was led to believe.

Strengths:

D – There are very few authors that go super deep into the worlds and lore of their stories. Pierce is one of those authors. Even though the most exciting thing at times was Arram getting a new class, I actually had a fun time reading it because I was learning right alongside Arram.

L – As someone who has read Pierce’s other books, this was so much fun. (hence my higher rating) Yeah, I was disappointed that not much happened but I’ve seen these characters as adults. This made visiting them as children so fun. Like where did Arram/Numair learn to juggle and why? I particularly loved whenever a character would say something like “When I grow up…”; because I’m sitting there in all my wisdom like, “Oh you poor little bean sprout you have no idea.” I LOVED all the little references.

Final Thoughts:

L – If you’ve never read anything by Tamora Pierce before. I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one. It’s well-written, the characters and setting are amazingly detailed, and her style is great. But I feel like her other books would be a better introduction. If you have read and enjoyed her other books, you’ll probably have as much fun as I did. (even with the lack of plot)

D – I agree wholeheartedly. If it wasn’t for Lauren, I would be so lost when reading this book. And yes, I do admit that it is a great read even though it wasn’t what I expected. But it certainly isn’t for someone who has no previous knowledge of these characters. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some books to read….