This is more like a really high three, but I’m rounding up because of sentiment. I still find myself wanting more from the Emelan books, and not getting it. They just take place in such a short period of time, and there isn’t much character interaction. There was even less in this one than usual, because the four main characters are split up, each character getting their own spotlight book while the others are off having adventures in other parts of the world.
This one is Sandry’s book, and the main arc is for fourteen year old Sandry to transition from being a student to a teacher herself, when she accidentally finds a young boy who appears to be a very rare dance mage. Pasco is a reluctant student, believing his powers are first, not real, then second, frivolous and pointless, largely because of his family’s expectations. Pasco’s appearance coincides with the multiple assassinations being carried out in Summersea against a merchant family by two rival merchants bent on revenge. They are utilizing a mage whose magic specialty is something they begin to call ‘unmagic,’ a very dangerous substance that is corrosive and eats normal magic.
The stuff with Sandry is great. Watching her grow into her new role and come to accept that things have changed was satisfying, but Pasco was way underused. He basically only functioned here as a way both to get Sandry to that point, and to have powers that could be unique enough to catch the bad guys. His relationship with Sandry was barely developed, and his role in the denouement was slight.
I listened to the full cast audiobook, narrated by Tamora Pierce herself along with the cast. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it was very jarring, as Pierce doesn’t have the most natural sounding reading voice. Some of the cast members were excellent, and some sounded very robotic. I’d reccommend sticking with the plain text for this one.
Not sure when I’ll get to the next three books in this quartet, as my library system doesn’t have them, and neither does audible. ILL, be a dear and please work fast for me. Plzkthxbye.