By: Tamora Pierce
Sent to Carthak as part of the Tortallan peace delegation, Daine 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 just there to heal the emperor's birds. It's extremely frustrating! What's more, her power has grown in a 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. Daine must fight the powerful Emperor Mage, knowing that the safety and peace of the realm depend on stopping Ozorne's power-hungry schemes.
Ahhhhh, yes. After the bit of a let down that the second book was, this brought back everything that I loved about this series and more. It was very interesting to see Carthak firsthand and meet all of the characters from over there. Daine was herself, but developed a lot from the last time we saw her. We got to see Alanna and Numair again and meet a whole new cast of characters.
Daine: Like I said, she's continuing to grow and develop both in character and in skill. She can change fully more easily, can shift parts of her body to enhance certain senses. But she's also wiser now. She is in more control of her temper and her emotions and she knows how to help when there is trouble and she's the only one around to do anything about it.
The plot was much quicker and more complex in this book. You had the emperor of Carthak and the peace negotiations, everything that he was trying to pull off behind the scenes. This book kept me engaged the whole time, whereas Wolf-Speaker left me on the outs several times.
I loved Kaddar. He was a good friend and someone genuinely trying to do good for his kingdom. I hope we see him again because I liked his dynamic with the Tortallans and especially with Daine.
Also, I didn't think I loved Rikash, or even liked him, until this line:
"Ozorne screamed..."I have magic! I-I have stormwing magic."
"Of course you do, sweetheart," Rikash said pleasantly, "Do you know how to use it?"
The sass on this one.
I don't have much else to say other than that this was exactly what I've come to expect from this series, but even more improved.
"Well, no, but everyone says they do." Someday I must read this scholar Everyone...he seems to have written so much - all of it wrong."
"There's drawbacks to any power, Your Highness."
"I have a bad enough time just knowing human sadness, let alone the sorrows of every other living creature."
"Scary with you is better than scary without you."