I am THE BIGGEST Tamora Pierce fan ever. So to say I was looking forward to this book is a severe understatement. Daine and Numair’s story is by far my favorite. Did I have high expectations? Yes. Was I disappointed? Nope (except it didn’t have Daine in it, but it never was going to, but still, she’s my love).
Arram Draper is a boy 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 danger. 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. 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.
Oh. My. God. I screamed when I got this in the mail. Tamora Pierce singlehandedly helped me love fantasy. Her protagonists were some of the most transformative in my life. From Daine to Alanna, to her Circle Opens series I consumed Pierce books like I breathed air. I read them all and loved them for all different reasons. But Daine and Numair have been my favorite. They’re the only ones I own as a boxed quartet and they are well loved.
So I had the highest expectations going into this author of childhood nostalgia and into these characters whom I love dearly. I severely missed Numair. And I truly loved seeing him grow up and go through his awkward stork like phases. I wanted to carry him in my arms and cradle him.
There was so much in Numair that hit a tone within me: his social awkwardness, his love of books and learning, his feelings about friends and family. He reminded me so much of myself as a teenager and for that, this book was kind of special. Not only did it remind me of me as a child and teenager who felt more at home in a library and who thrived off books, but it felt like me.
Themes of the optimism of youth, the ways we miss the signs, and the mistakes we ignore were sprinkled throughout. This is a prequel. So many of us already know where the cards will fall in the end (with our beloved Daine). This made me want to re-read my Daine series so I can remember all the things that happened with our future adults (who are now bumbly teens).
The only downside was that not much happens. This is a prequel, but it’s a series prequel, so it’s a book that lays the groundwork. It slowly unfolds, and so if I didn’t already love my Numair I’m not sure if I would be as enraptured as I am. Then again, Numair is such a great character (and I guess so are Varice and Ozorne).
But this brought me back in all the right ways. And for that I am infinitely grateful and very much still in love with Tamora Pierce’s ability for world building and characters.
Are you as big of a Tamora Pierce fan as I?
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