132. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Immortals Quartet, Book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 384p
Even in a world filled with magic, Daine Sarrasi's gift with animals stands out, and between her unusual gift and having to hide the secrets from her past, it's easier for her to connect with animals than people. It takes time (and some gentle and not-so-gentle coaxing from friends and mentors) for Daine to come to trust her new acquaintances.
I really enjoy these books and always like the strong women characters that Pierce writes, but she does have a tendency to do things like pound us over the head with the idea that something bad had happened in her past, long before we find out what it is. A few fewer - or more subtle - mentions of how she can't trust these new people with her secret because they'd surely hate her would have been just as effective, if not more so. Regardless, it's a good story and a fun, easy read.
133. Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Immortals Quartet, Book 3
Young Adult, Fantasy, 358p
Daine and her friends are sent to Carthack, to meet with the Emperor. Daine's duty is to see if she can heal the Emperor's pet birds and otherwise to stay out of trouble, but unfortunately for her, the god-touched don't have a choice about where and when they're called on to intervene.
Emperor Mage is another thoroughly enjoyable Tortall story. The Immortals series really improves with each book. I love Daine's interactions with the gods and how she chooses to use her borrowed power in a way that reflects her so very well (and which is not precisely the way she is expected to use it).
134. Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
Immortals Quartet, Book 4
Young Adult, Fantasy, 368p
Daine and Numair go up against a group of magical creatures of a kind they've never seen before and when it turns out that neither Daine's wild magic nor Numair's Gift can effect them, rescue comes from a surprising direction. But now they're stuck elsewhere while war threatens Tortall.
There are a lot of new and interesting characters introduced in this last book in the Immortals series, including various gods, dragons, and other immortals and magical creatures, and Daine's prejudices against Stormwings are tested. The realm of the gods itself is an intriguing place to read about, with different rules from the moral realm and wonders and dangers all its own. It's a fitting end to the series.
135. Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
Young Adult, Fantasy, 422p
A wonderful adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. I love this book - I probably liked fairy tales when I was a kid, but now the kind of story where the princess sits (or lays, as the case may be) around waiting for the prince to rescue her don't appeal to me. This is a much more active story, with the princess taking part in her own defense. The animal characters are fantastic - the different personalities they have are so appropriate to the species. And as always with McKinley's books, the description is incredible, with so much detail that the world seems to come alive.
136. *Gool by Maurice Gee
The Salt Trilogy, Book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 215p (read 110p)
ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
I found Gool a meandering, boring story with characters I had trouble telling apart, dialogue that didn't make sense, and a world I wasn't drawn into. It may have made more sense if I'd read book one of the trilogy, Salt, first but I couldn't find a copy.
136 / 160 books (85%)
60 / 80 *new books (75%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
37334 / 48000 pages. (78%)