Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Epic Reading List Updated: Wild Magic

List Update as of February 7th

1. 'The Hunger Games' -Suzanne Collins
2. 'Alanna the First Adventure' -Tamora Pierce
3. 'Anna Dressed in Blood' -Kendare Blake
4. 'In the Hand of the Goddess' -Tamora Pierce
5. 'Graceling' -Kristin Cashore
6. 'The Woman Who Rides Like a Man' -Tamora Pierce
7. 'The Name of the Star' -Maureen Johnson
8. 'Lioness Rampant' -Tamora Pierce
9. 'Tale of Two Cities' -Charles Dickens
10. 'Wild Magic' -Tamora Pierce

11. 'Catching Fire' -Suzanne Collins
12. 'Wolf Speaker' -Tamora Pierce
13. 'Matched' -Ally Condie
14. 'Emperor Mage' -Tamora Pierce
15. 'Divergent' -Veronica Roth
16. 'The Realm of the Gods' -Tamora Pierce

Another Tamora Pierce book. Have I yet mentioned that I love Tamora Pierce? No? I love her. The only thing that stopped me from reading the whole book yesterday was having to get up for work this morning.

Wild Magic was my first experience in the realm of Tortall. I don't recommend this as it spoiled a few things from the Alanna books for me but it's not necessary to go chronologically and if you really want to skip The Song of the Lioness it is possible. Reading them out of order didn’t dampen my love for any of them.

Wild Magic is such a fun book. It's full of magic, animals, dragons, archery, wit. It is set in Tortall so place names and some characters are familiar. That being so, Wild Magic is very much about introducing Daine as a character and welcoming her into the fold. She’s greeted and fit right into the cast of characters the reader knows from Alanna’s series. It sets up the newest set of trials that Tortall is facing and it is Daine’s turn to save them.

This last time around I loved Alanna even more than I did before. This time around, at least with Wild Magic I adore Daine for her differences from Alanna. Even though she is older in the first book than Alanna was in hers she comes off younger and it's delightful to see her interact with older Alanna because she is exactly the sort of lost outcast you can see Alanna adopting. Plus, her crush on Jonathan makes me laugh.
She's spunky, fun, says what is on her mind. With her we get a lot more of the interactions that make Tamora Pierce's books so fantastic. She's relearning how to associate with people and with the peculiar court of Jonathan and Thayet. (We see a ton more Thayet who is awesome). On top of that she interacts with animals as well as people and Pierce takes great care to give the different animals different personalities. It’s especially fun to see her interact with her horse Cloud because they know each other so well and Cloud has as vivid a personality as Faithful did. (Though, I feel the badger is supposed to be Faithful’s substitute.) Knowing how her relationship with Numair progresses it is still fun to see how they are here. His fierce protectiveness of her is so funny because he's so dramatic and she's so practical in the face of it.
 Daine strives so hard to help every creature that she can no matter what the cost to herself. She's only just starting to learn her limits and the reader gets to learn them alongside her. Even from the beginning of this book to the end she’s grown and learned so much.

Admittedly, my favorite part is that since Wild Magic set in Tortall we get the awesome privilege of seeing all of the characters from The Song of the Lioness. It is everyone we already loved seen in a different way. Perhaps I’m still not ready to give up on the characters (Dear Tamora Pierce, More please?)
One of the coolest things, I think, about this is that somehow they do seem different when seen through Daine, even though the book is not in first person. Perhaps it is because Daine doesn't understand some of them the way Alanna did but it's a fun trick pulled off subtly.
I think this is highlighted by Daine's crush on Jonathan. Onua says that he has the effect on a lot of people. Alanna had a relationship with him but it never really came off as a girly crush and we didn't really see him with too many other girls to see that sort of effect, especially after Alanna and Jonathan’s fight since even Thayet puts him in his place when they meet. It’s amusing to see Daine so besotted with him.

I don't actually have too much to complain about with this one other than the fact that Daine overworks herself a number of times during the siege when I would have wanted to see more of the action. But even that, fits her character so it is hard to really be upset by it.

Wild Magic is a brilliant introduction to a new character in an old setting. Daine learns about herself and her magic so quickly that Pierce's fast paced writing suits her story. I recall the next book in the series Wolf Speaker being my least favorite of this quartet but after my experience with The Woman Who Rides Like A Man, I’m optimistic about my experience this time.

Even though this was hardly my first time reading it, I devoured the book. It's so much fun seeing old favorites differently. (How many times can I say ‘fun’ in one review?)

Overall Rating: Beyond Epic

Next up on the list, (FINALLY) is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. I’m excited to start this one.

Until next time,


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