Genre: YA fantasy
Length: 294 pages
Setting: mostly the Kingdom of Carthak, soon after the events of Wolf Speaker
Summary: Short version: Daine is drawn into Carthaki politics
Long version: A delegation of Tortallans has been sent to Carthak to broker a peace deal with the Emperor. That delegation includes Daine because she may be able to heal the Emperor’s sick birds. She is the youngest in the delegation and is shown the sights by Kaddar, Emperor Orzorne’s nephew and heir. It seems Ozorne has been neglecting the gods of his kingdom and they’ve decided to make him pay, using Daine as a vessel. Daine is not happy to be used by the gods in that way. However, when Ozorne kidnaps her and Kitten (a dragon), she gets angry. Daine uses her temporary powers of reanimation to destroy the palace with dinosaurs.
Final thoughts: A highly enjoyable story that provides some details about a new country in this world. If you like Pierce’s writing, you’ll probably enjoy this book as well. I love the character of Daine. She can talk to animals (which I always wished I could do) and is very principled in her actions. She has a hard time understanding why or how people can be cruel. Because of her faith in people, Ozorne is able to kidnap her. Luckily, she inspires loyalty among her human and animal friends who arrange for her rescue.
We learn a bit more about the gods and the immortals in this book as well. Daine is used by the Graveyard Hag, although Daine doesn’t quite do her bidding. Daine is rather stubborn and gets very annoyed when forced into something. She’s a pretty good role model for any kid reading the story.
The audio version of the book was excellent. There’s lots of action that drives the story on without getting boring at all.
Title comes from: Ozorne was called an Emperor Mage because of his abilities and title. He was the main antagonist in the story, even though he wasn’t actively working against the Tortallans until the end.
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #88 for 2018 and #26 in my Finish the Series Challenge
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