Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book 9: Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce

As you can probably guess, this is the second book in Tamora Pierce's Immortals series. As the sequel to Wild Magic, Wolf-Speaker follows Daine's adventures in Tortall with her teacher, Numair Salmalin. In this novel, Daine receives a summons from the Long Lake wolf pack--wolves who once served as her surrogate family following the murder of her mother and grandfather--requesting her help with the human lords of the Dunlath Valley who are systematically destroying the area. However, once there, Daine and Numair find that not only is the environment surrounding the Fief of Dunlath being damaged, but there is also something else awry--and it stinks of high treason on the parts of the lord and lady of Dunlath who are, along with mages and Immortals from the southern empire of Carthak, attempting to overthrow the King and Queen of Tortall.
Daine and Numair become separated from one another and have to work alone to try and stop Yolane and Belden's treacherous plan before they destroy the valley--or worse, succeed at their plot.

This novel further develops the theme of animosity towards Tortall from the Emperor of Carthak, which becomes the primary theme in the last two books of the series. In this novel, Daine's powers also expand from simple communication with animals to the ability to heal them and enter their minds, and later transform completely.

Unlike the first book in the series, Wolf-Speaker is more of a straight-up adventure story and doesn't have nearly as much emotional and relationship development as Wild Magic did. While it was still a pleasant read, it was significantly less engaging than Wild Magic is and in my opinion almost expendable in the grand scheme of the series. Even so, Wolf-Speaker is not lost on the reader; anyone who enjoyed Wild Magic will like Wolf-Speaker as well.

Grade: B+
Rating: 10+ (advisory: mild violence)

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