Yet another book series I wish I had read before reading the Protector of the Small series, this tells us about Veralidaine Sarrasri, known as Daine. She too has a peripheral role in Kel’s story, but takes front and center here. We learn about how Daine comes to Tortall, discovers her magic, and finds love, just in time too, because Immortals that have not been seen in centuries have suddenly begun appearing again.
Book 1: Daine has always had a way with animals. More than a way, really. Running away from Snowsdale, the only home she’s ever known, she gets a job as a horse handler’s assistant for the Queen’s Riders. She finds Tortall much more welcoming than the home she escaped and meets Numair, a great mage who realizes that her skill with animals is actual a little known form of magic called Wild Magic. He takes it upon himself to teach her how to use her magic. But she has a secret, one which makes her hesitant to use her magic. Meanwhile, the kingdom is on the brink of war with Carthak–a kingdom that has the biggest army and navy around–and Immortals have returned to threaten them.
Book 2: Daine is called on to help by the wolf pack that saved her life. She and Numair go to Dunlath to find out what they need and uncover a much bigger danger, one not only to the wolves and the other forest creatures in the area but also to King Jonathan himself. New Immortals show up and not all of them are dangers to the kingdom as she thought. Daine also learns that perhaps her life and her destiny is meant to impact something bigger than she ever expected.
Book 3: Daine, Numair, and a small delegation from the king are sent to Carthak in hopes of forging a peace and preventing war. Daine is sent to heal the Emperor’s birds, which he seems to care about more than his own people. She’s not allowed to insult or anger him, even though he keeps Immortals in cages and keeps slaves. Numair must be careful, as the Emperor (his one-time friend) holds a grudge against him since their days in the mage university. But does Carthak’s Emperor really intend to make peace? Daine must figure it out, as well as learn to use the new power that the badger bestowed upon her–the power to raise the dead. It seems that her destiny–and the Gods–are not done with her yet.
Book 4: Daine and Numair are helping fight the growing number of Immortals besieging the kingdom when they are sucked into the Divine Realms. There she discovers the truth about her father and reunites with her mother, but they desperately need to return to Tortall where they are needed. The situation, they discover, is much worse than they first thought, as Chaos threatens to overrun the Greater Gods. Daine must also deal with an old enemy and new feelings.
I like this series too, as I have liked all of Pierce’s work so far, but there is one message that worries me a bit: the not surprising relationship that develops between Numair and Daine. The thing that bothers me about it is that it romanticizes a relationship between teacher and student (which nowadays is more than a little frowned upon and usually results in dismissal if not legal action). It’s true that in those types of time periods girls grew up and married earlier, but it still bothers me (even knowing–thanks to Kel’s story–that their relationship lasts and it isn’t just something born out of being around each other all the time).
This series gives us a while new insight into the Gods and Goddesses that we hear so much about in the other books. We again get glimpses of the characters that we learned to love in the other books.
There is one more set of books I need to read (about Aly Cooper, Alanna’s daughter and the descendant of Beka Cooper) plus the coming books from Beka Cooper’s series, but I hope to see even more from Tortall and the characters we’ve all met.