Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Arram is a gifted student at a school for mages-in-training. He is plucked from the beginner classes and put on an accelerated course so that he can learn to control his overwhelming power and challenge his mind. His first months at school are lonely ones, but in his new, higher-level classes, he meets Ozorne and Varice who take him under their wing. At first, their friendship is straightforward. But as the complex adult world looms closer, fun is difficult to come by. Their studies become more intensive and they quickly become wrapped up in corruption and politics. Each friend has their own special abilities, but tensions rise when some talents are more respected than others. Arram once saw school as a refuge from all the turbulence of the outside world, but he soon learns that the life of a mage is anything but simple.
Tempests and Slaughter is the first book in a series which takes place in the same world as some of Tamora Pierce’s other books. However, without any experience reading other Tamora Pierce novels, the world is easy to understand, and a reader could have a full experience reading only this book. Pierce writes about magic in a way that makes it feel believable. She emphasizes the effort it demands and the training required, portraying it more as an unwieldy power than a simplistic trick. The three friends are each unique, and the book shows successful platonic friendships as well as friendship that develops into attraction. This book covers several years of the trio’s training. They are frequently gaining new teachers and mentors, and it becomes very difficult to keep track of each mage, especially with such unfamiliar names. Also, the book leaves many loose ends in the plot, paving the way for the next book in the series. For those who do not go on to read the next book, the ending may be unsatisfying.
*Contains mild sexual content, moderate violence, and mild language.