Thursday, April 18, 2024

Where I praise but try not to spoil Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic

 Two years ago, I discovered Tamora Pierce through the Protector of the Small series, which I really quite liked.  So I decided to add Pierce to my authors to read list and her Tortall books in particular.

Last year, I read The Song of the Lioness, her first series.  Definitely had some early installment weirdness and didn’t feel as polished as the Protector of the Small books.

This year, I’m reading The Immortals series, the one be in between The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small in her Tortall books. (After that, I can just go in publication order)

And I have to admit that I went into Wild Magic not too excited. I had an idea of what the overall series would be like since it does get referenced in Protector of the Small. Daine didn’t sound as interesting or sound like she had as much conflict as the other two protagonists I’d read.

Instead, I found out that the Immortals was where Pierce stepped on the gas and the writing got really good.

Not that the Song of the Lioness is bad. It made Pierce’s reputation for crying out loud. But there are some rough edges (but that’s a different blog) If I had read it in the early 80s, it would have knocked my socks off.

But Wild Magic is a solid improvement, particularly in the actual writing style itself. There is an ease and confidence in the voice of the author. The world building, which took a couple of books to settle in, is very defined. And Diane is more complicated and interesting than I’d feared.

While the Song of the Lioness was never low fantasy, the Immortals steps into higher fantasy with fantastical creatures of myths and legends breaking into the world of humanity. I was worried that would be jarring. And it is jarring, but in the right way. The characters are not responding like Dungeons and Dragons PCs, who expect to see the world fantastic. Instead, they are confused and even terrified. It’s good stuff.

Wild Fire doesn’t rewrite the Tortall of Song of the Lioness. Instead, it expands and deepens it. And it left me eager to read the next book.

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