28 August 2010

Reading "The Immortals Quartet"

Tamora Pierce has written a number of fantasy series for young adults, all presumably in the same setting and involving heroes who fight and have magical abilities to at least heal themselves, which is pretty handy for when they get injured.

The Immortals Quartet is about Daine, a young girl with the power to communicate with most animals. Animals love her, and she understands them, and can even communicate with them from a distance. As the series develops, she  gains the ability to ride in animals minds to see what they can see, and through this also becomes able to transform herself in to animal form. Since the animals all love her and want to please her and fight for her when necessary, she is sometimes too over-powered to be interesting. She is so powerful that you always know she is going to be safe.

In her world, the immortals are all the beings who cannot die unless they are slain. This includes things like flying horses, basilisks, any kind of mythical creature. All these beings have been banished from the land, walled off in their own world by strong spells. However, when an evil genius starts summoning powerful beings to do his bidding, the wall begins to break down. This creates a lot of work for Daine, who finds that she can also communicate with the immortals.

The series is all a bit of chewing gum for the mind. I liked the opening of the first book because of the no nonsense way it began the story and kept moving along. This was enough to keep me moving through the first three books - especially after one of my kids got interested in the series and brought the rest of it home from his school library. So if you're the sort of person who likes the idea of a young girl who can talk to animals in a magical world, and you're not in the mood for anything at all demanding, this is worth taking a look at. For me, I enjoyed it to the extent that I am now trying the Lioness quartet, which is good in the same relaxing sort of way - but I miss the communication with the animals, especially the horses.

Morva Shepley

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