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The Numair Chronicles #1

Tempests and Slaughter

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Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Act fast! The first printing of the hardcover includes a collector’s edition poster!

465 pages, Hardcover

First published February 6, 2018

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About the author

Tamora Pierce

152 books83.2k followers
Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join groups, I'm going to turn them all down. I just don't have the time to take part, so please don't be offended if I don't join your group or accept an invitation. I'm not snooty--I'm just up to my eyeballs in work and appearances!

Also, don't be alarmed by the number of books I've read. When I get bored, I go through the different lists and rediscover books I've read in the past. It's a very evil way to use up time when I should be doing other things. Obviously, I've read a lot of books in 54 years!

I was born in South Connellsville, PA. My mother wanted to name me "Tamara" but the nurse who filled out my birth certificate misspelled it as "Tamora". When I was 8 my family moved to California, where we lived for 6 years on both sides of the San Francisco peninsula.

I started writing stories in 6th grade. My interest in fantasy and science fiction began when I was introduced to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien and so I started to write the kind of books that I was reading. After my parents divorced, my mother took my sisters and me back to Pennsylvania in 1969. There I went to Albert Gallatin Senior High for 2 years and Uniontown Area Senior High School for my senior year.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I wrote the book that became The Song of the Lioness fantasy quartet. I sold some articles and 2 short stories and wrote reviews for a martial arts movie magazine. At last the first book of the quartet, Alanna: The First Adventure was published by Atheneum Books in 1983.

Tim Liebe, who became my Spouse-Creature, and I lived in New York City with assorted cats and two parakeets from 1982 - 2006. In 2006 we moved to Syracuse, New York, where we live now with assorted cats, a number of squirrels, birds, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and woodchucks visiting our very small yard. As of 2011, I have 27 novels in print, one short story collection, one comic book arc ("White Tiger: A Hero's Compulsion") co-written with Tim, and a short story anthology co-editing credit. There's more to come, including a companion book to the Tortall `verse. So stay tuned!

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,434 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
March 1, 2018
I initially rated this four stars but did not write a review. For some reason, I wasn't ready. I had to go think about it some more before I could put my overall thoughts into words.

And that's when I realized something: I was rating this based on what I wanted it to be, what I was sure it would be before I started the book, and just generally what I expected from Tamora Pierce. But - and it pains me to say it - this is just not a four star book.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely enjoyable parts. Three stars means "I liked it", after all. It was very easy to get into, very easy to read, with the loping effortless style of a seasoned author who knows the audience she is writing for well. It is fun and formulaic, but spends a lot of time meandering, lacking direction or purpose. Almost all of the forward momentum of the plot occurs in the last fifty-ish pages, setting us up for what will probably grow into a good series.

As with the wonderful Alanna books, Tempests and Slaughter follows the protagonist, this time Arram Draper, through his years at a fantasy school. This magic boarding school definitely has more of a Harry Potter vibe, though. Arram, along with his two friends, Varice and Prince Ozorne, moves through the semesters of the Imperial University of Carthak, attending classes, making enemies, and learning from powerful mages.

Arram's day-to-day life makes up the majority of the book. Sure, events happen to stir things up, but it is a long time before there is any sense of something bigger at play, or an overall destination for the story at large. While character backstory and development is essential, there are several hundred pages where it feels like there is nothing we are reading towards. Instead, Arram gets his first erections and discusses wet dreams with Ozorne, which, you know, it's great that we're talking about this in YA, but I was left wondering-- where is the plot?

As the book winds slowly to a close without much of a climax, you can see how the author has developed certain plot points for future - and, I hope, more dynamic - installments. The theme of slavery seems to be of importance and I look forward to seeing what Pierce does with that. Let's face it, disappointments aside, I am definitely coming back for the next book.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,463 reviews9,618 followers
October 29, 2020
Meh, didn’t love it so much this time around. From 4 to 3 and unhauling hardback.

We got a cool poster in the back of the book!

I enjoyed this book but I do believe it could have been shorter with just the things that were in book. I'm hoping the next book will blow this one out of the water.

My favorite character is, Preet the bird. You will love him too! Trust me =)

I did love the other characters too. They were a lot of fun.

But for the love of all that's holy! WHY did I have to hear about Arram talking about his little boy peen! Yes, the teachers are supposed to give them the lecture when they are 12 and since he started the school younger, I guess they forgot about him. And then I had to read about Ozorne telling him everything about said peen!

I can't even people!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

Profile Image for Danielle.
458 reviews32 followers
February 6, 2018
Orignal Post Aug 30, 2013

Edit 7/11/14
The publication date got pushed back to 2015?

Edit 1/31/15
Excuse me? 2016? Is this a cruel joke?

Edit 8/31/15
It's been TWO YEARS since I found out about this book and there's still no official publication date.

Edit 1/7/2016
GoodReads hasn't updated it yet, but 2017 is the new expected publication year. 2017.

There will now be three books instead of two. BUT COME ON!!

Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.5k followers
November 27, 2018
if ‘harry potter’ and ‘the name of the wind’ had an illegitimate child, it would be this book. the kind of child that bounced back and forth between homes because it couldnt decide which parent it liked better. this book is that child.

sadly, the fact that this story felt like a knock off of others wasnt the only thing that bothered me. its hard to believe, but there wasnt a central plot line. i mean, there was a lot going on in this - enough to fill 480 pages worth - but it was all filler. there was no opposition, climax, or resolution. it was just random stuff, but there was so much of it that it felt like there was a lot happening, when in reality there wasnt. its so bizarre. i think little hints were dropped here and there in regards to some major event, but it surely didnt happen in this book. maybe in the next one?

also, before picking this up, i had no idea this was part of a larger series that contained 20 other books. i realise that it was not necessary to read those books prior to this, but i couldnt help but feel like that might have bumped up my enjoyment a bit. it definitely would have helped with the world building and to understand everything that was going on this particular world. oh well.

anyways, to my 100+ friends who have this on their tbr, im sorry this wasnt for me. but dont let my massive rant dissuade you. if you like magic and apprentices and kids trying to make their place in the world and adorable pet birds named preet, then i have no doubt you will enjoy this.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
February 6, 2018
On sale now! 3.5 stars, rounding up. Final review, first published on Fantasy Literature:


With Tempests and Slaughter, Tamora Pierce launches a new series set in her beloved Tortall universe, which includes over twenty books. Pierce backtracks several years to relate the youthful experiences of Arram Draper, who plays a key role in other TORTALL books, particularly the IMMORTALS series, as the powerful mage Numair.

When Tempests and Slaughter begins, Arram is a ten year old boy, just beginning a new year at the School for Mages, part of the Imperial University of Carthak. Arram is much younger than most of his schoolmates at his level, and he feels the age difference keenly; in fact, he claims to be eleven, but that does little to narrow the social gap. One day Arram gets in trouble in a water magic class for doing a spell far beyond the capabilities of most students at this level and then losing control of the water. He thinks he might be kicked out of the School for Mages, but instead he’s moved to more challenging classes, and to a more private room rather than a large dormitory. His new roommate is Prince Orzorne of Carthak, a thirteen year old boy who is the emperor’s nephew, and whose magic is particularly attuned to birds and animals. Arram and Orzorne develop a close friendship, shared by Varice, a lovely and clever twelve year old girl with an interest in magical culinary arts.

Tempests and Slaughter relates Arram's experiences over the next several years as he develops relationships with others as well as his magical craft. We get an in-depth look at several of Arram’s magical classes, particularly those that involve private instruction from various mage masters, such as water magic, fire magic, and healing. Arram’s only close friendships are with Varice and Orzorne, who is initially about eighth in line for the throne of Carthak … except that accidents keep happening to other heirs.

Tempests and Slaughter is a charming book, if episodic in its approach and rather meandering as we follow Arram through the years. In the last third of the book the plot begins to gel to some extent, particularly when Arram is drawn into a dark secret that may put him and others in danger. Carthak is a brutal country, with internal political conflicts, slavery, and popular gladiator battles to the death. Arram has the opportunity to help heal gladiators of their injuries and to assist the poor when there’s a major outbreak of the plague. Experiences like these help confirm his antipathy toward slavery and oppression. Arram believes he can influence his friend Orzorne for good, perhaps even convince him to end the practice of slavery in Carthak, but Orzorne has ambitions and ideas of his own.

Arram is an appealing if rather earnest boy who is sometimes incautious in his enthusiasm for magic and ferreting out the truth. The details of his magical instruction and experiences are engaging enough that I never got bored. Somewhat amusingly, Pierce elects to include some of the physical details about puberty from a boy’s point of view. It’s a very minor addition that struck me as a little clunky and off-beat in the context of this book, but perhaps a younger reader will appreciate it more than I did. We also get to know Varice and Orzorne quite well, as this new Tortall novel sheds light on two characters who will later play a significant role in the third and fourth books of the IMMORTALS series, Emperor Mage and The Realms of the Gods.

Tempests and Slaughter is written on an older middle grade level, but both young and older fans of the TORTALL books will enjoy learning more about Numair’s pre-teen and early teenage years. Now that the scene is set, I’ll be anxious to reading the next book(s) in this new NUMAIR CHRONICLES series.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. Thank you so much!

Initial post: Guess what just arrived in the mail today? I am seriously excited!!
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,496 followers
December 19, 2017
12/19/17 Update: GUYS, I REPEAT, I HAVE AN ARC, AGHHHHHHH: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc5Yq5RDk... 😍📚😍 MY LIFE IS NOW COMPLETE.

6/20/17 Update: THE COVER IS GLORIOUS. AND THE PREORDER IS NOW UP ON AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2tKJpUk >> And yes, I'm that girl, the one that met Tammy (finally!) at a convention and broke into tears. Because this author is my hero and the reason I write.

(ignore how bloody awful I look in this pic, haha!)

I have been waiting for this book for YEARS.


And I mean YEARS.

Tortall is back!!!!
Profile Image for Yusra  ✨.
249 reviews508 followers
May 15, 2018
Let us begin this review by drawing to attention something pretty insane. Something I don’t see in any of the reviews I’ve read but guys, it’s so apparent.

Tempests and Slaughter follows the story of young Arram Draper Harry Potter as he studies to become a mage a wizard. He has two friends that accompany him all through his years, a prince named Ozorne Ron Weasley and a clever kitchen mage, Varice Hermione Granger . Arram’s strong abilities catch the eye of the headmaster, Master Cosmas, Dumbledore and he takes a favouring to Arram . All three of these mages are so advanced that all there classes are taught to them privately by masters. These include a whole load of wonderful, talented masters such as Master Sebo Professor Minerva . But there is one master that is not as wonderful and loving to Arram as the others, Master Chioké Snape . There a frequent gladiator games Quidditch that occur, and Arram has a pet bird named Preet Hedwig is infinitely better . I could go on, trust me.

But you know, even if this was heavily based on Harry Potter, I wouldn’t be complaining. There was still a lot of originality and somehow, whenever I’d be sick and tired of the book something would keep me going. A new concept, perhaps.

The problem is the pace .

This ended up turning into torture at the end, skimming the pages and trying not to fall asleep. I was promised from some reviews that despite the slow initial beginning, at least the last 50 pages were going to have some action.


At least with Harry Potter there was intrigue, there was plot twists, there was action. Here there was nothing. I’m fine with reading about one time that Arram is healing plague victims. I don’t want to read another 100 more pages about it. Everything felt so bland and dry.

We are told that Arram is incredibly smart and amazing and so much better than all the students. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such a horrible case of show, not tell . Not once did I find him amazing? He did legitimately nothing?

If it weren’t for the talk of wet dreams and erections this could easily have been sold as a middle grade novel. God, the boy’s obsession with Varice was so annoying I was trying not to smack that girl with her own frying pan?

and it would be much appreciated if someone explained the significance of this title and the cover image because it doesn’t connect with anything in the story.

You’d think that if every few chapters is a new semester of his school life, the pacing will be pretty good. But it was rushed, lacked detail and just was so boring. How many times am I going to repeat myself? Many.

The only thing I did enjoy was the concept of gladiator games, as well as the focus on slavery. Musenda was wonderful and if there’s a love story with him in it, I’ll buy it in bulk (just don’t make Tamora Pierce write it, plz and ty). Even his character, near the end, came off as arrogant. which sucked.

I’m so sorry for this. I know Tamora Pierce is the queen of YA fantasy. I know I’m harsh and judgemental and rude and annoying and mean. I’m sure Pierce can write 1000x better than I will ever achieve in my lifetime. But this is the truth about how I felt, and that’s what my goodreads is here for.

If I’m being honest though, there is a high chance I’ll be picking up the sequel. From the synopsis it sounds like the pacing will be faster, or more interesting things will happen. Maybe Ozorne will finally do something about slavery.

To summarize ;

have you read And I Darken/Now I Rise? Ozorne is a much worse version of Mehmed.

have you read Harry Potter? this book is the boring, dreary version of that book.

so what’s my opinion, you ask? read Harry Potter and the Conquerer’s Saga instead.

Edit - I’ve actually realized that my dislike for this book may have come from not knowing Numair/Arram so you can officially ignore my review if you love him, you’ll probs love this ??
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews977 followers
March 5, 2019
Well, I finally understand the massive amounts of Tamora Pierce-hype! This was so good! The writing style was lovely and the world building was so expansive!!! I loved the magic system, as well, where everyone had different strengths in regards to the Gift. This is the first novel that's given me true Harry Potter-vibes, as it revolves around a magical school, too.

And can we talk about the talking animal gods? From hippos to crocodiles, I adored this fun-type of mythology! The Ancient Roman-obsessor in me also adored the usage of emperors and gladiators in this novel!

The book centres around three young students, learning to be mages: Arram, Varice, and Ozorne. Arram was the cutest and smartest character that I've read about in a while. He was a human sponge, who only wanted to spend his time learning and helping others. Despite being a very innocent and gullible child, he also has strong opinions on slavery, as he actually befriended a gladiator and cares for the man’s family. I can already see Arram as being one of the most powerful mages in the future!

Varice was a really sweet friend to Arram. I really appreciated that despite her obvious intelligence, she didn't impose it upon others. Rather, she was quite satisfied when using her skills in the kitchen or on clothing, without making it seem as though she wasn't a strong female character. I happen to enjoy female characters to actually like typically feminine qualities!

It was Ozorne that I did not like. Yes, he was rather generous with his spending cash (I mean, he was a Prince, so...that wasn't much of a stretch), but he was also quite a manipulative person, and was racist towards the race of people who were responsible for his father's death. I mean, if my father were murdered by…oh, I don’t know…a Swedish man, I wouldn’t attack every Swedish man that I came across in life. In addition, I can already see that there will be future clashes between Aram and Ozorne, as Ozorne sees no need to abolish slavery and has very imperialistic aspirations, should he ever become emperor. I, for one, am anticipating what the future will hold for Arram and Ozorne’s friendship.

There also wasn’t a great deal of plot in this novel. Rather, we get a day-by-day view of the children’s studies over the course of a few years. While this certainly wasn’t a negative thing, it definitely didn’t make me addicted to the story. Every time that I set this book to the side in order to do something, I felt no inclination to pick this book back up again. Despite enjoying it by the end, I was only interested in the book as I was currently reading it. Perhaps if there had been a bit more plot, I would’ve enjoyed this novel a great deal more. Regardless, I have very high hopes for the sequel! :D

All-in-all, this was a very enjoyable novel, and I can’t wait to read the rest of Tamora Pierce's books! :D
Profile Image for Rian *fire and books*.
493 reviews142 followers
January 4, 2018
This isn't really a review, more of a gush.

Okay so Alanna is my girl right? She's my bestie though she doesn't realize it. But Arram Draper has not so subtly stolen into my dark little heart and set it on 🔥FIRE🔥.

First off, thank you Tamora Pierce for like, all the books. BUT THIS ONE is precious. Not because it's Numair's backstory, but this book, though completely new to me, felt like coming home.

I see Ozorne as a teenager, I see Arram learning how special he is, I see gods and their immortal creatures and it's all new but it's not.

I felt so happy reading this because it added so much more to the magic of this world. It gave us history and depths to plunge. The Carthaki Empire has been expanded and given its "moment to shine", though maybe not as brightly as others would prefer. Slavery = no no.

It was so much fun to see from an early age Arram's magic grow, his struggles as a young mage in advanced classes, his friendship with the Leftover Prince, and him coming into himself. He truly was special all along and now we get to see it. (Like for real, dude has special written AAALLLLLLLLL OVER HIM.)

There were times this novel made me worry about some characters like you wouldn't believe and I'm so glad my worrying was fruitless. I don't know why I thought there'd be more death (oh wait... that title) but this novel was quintessential Pierce and this new story didn't disappoint at all. It was happy, fun, witty, and completely entertaining.

Of course now I'm expected to wait a year+ for book two and so of course I'll reread the series 3 times... at least.

Look if you loved any book Tamora Pierce has written in the Tortall realm you'll love this one.

BUT SERIOUSLY. I love this book. So much. All the love. Only love.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
February 5, 2018
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/02/04/...

Tempest and Slaughter was my first Tamora Pierce novel, and I loved it. The story follows protagonist Arram Draper, a gifted 10-year-old mage whose power rivals even that of students almost twice his age at the prestigious Imperial University of Carthak. But when his lack of training eventually leads to the accidental flooding of a classroom, it is swiftly decided that special arrangements must be made for Arram.

Suddenly, he finds himself transferred amidst a cohort of older students, to be given private one-on-one instruction by no less than five masters at the school. The special treatment results in Arram being ostracized by the other children, though he does end up making two very close friends, both of whom are also in the fast-tracked program. The first of them is his roommate Ozorne, an heir to the throne of Carthak (though there are seven others ahead of him in line, earning him the nickname of the “Leftover Prince”). And then there’s the kind and charismatic Varice, an intelligent and hardworking girl who loves cooking and working with potions. The three of them become inseparable, and even talk about the future when they will all fight by each other’s sides to protect their kingdom from the constant threat of war. But the more Arram learns in his lessons, the more uncertain he is that this is the path he wants to take. While there is glory to be had on the battlefield, his true passion lies in the less martial forms of magic.

As the years pass, Arram also feels his relationships with his friends changing. He begins falling for Varice, though he has no idea whether she feels the same about him. Around the same time, a series of accidents and tragedies befall the royal family, putting Ozorne closer to the throne. It makes Arram’s heart break for his friend because he knows the crown is not what Ozorne wants. Still, the prince needs the support of his companions now more than ever, and one of Arram’s best virtues is his loyalty.

Arram eventually grows up to become the powerful mage known as Numair Salmalín, a character who apparently features prominently in a lot of Tamora Pierce’s books set in the Tortall universe. But in Tempest and Slaughter, he is still just a young boy, and the series is supposed to chronicle his early life. Most of this first book is taken up by why goes on in his various classes and the amazing things he learns from his teachers, and unsurprisingly, like most “magic school” narratives for young adults, I found many of its themes to be very Harry Potter-like in their execution. It’s also a bit of a slow-builder, with no overarching conflict for much of the story. Instead, the earlier sections of the novel are presented as a series of Arram’s experiences with magic, and many of the challenges he faces are those related to the day-to-day life of being a student. This includes everything from the mundane (like trying to pass exams, make new friends, or dealing with bullies) to the more magical (such as crafting magical jewelry or mastering mage circle techniques). As well, there are plenty of unexpected delights to be found in Arram’s lessons, such as getting to meet a crocodile god while learning to traverse underwater, or having to take responsibility for raising magical animals.

Despite its somewhat rambling nature, I still very much enjoyed following Arram’s story. As interesting as his lessons were, my favorite part was reading about his interactions with Ozorne and Varice. The three friends come from very different backgrounds and have a lot to teach each other as they grow from children to young adults. Matters of puberty are addressed as Arram becomes more conscious of his changing physiology and emotions, even as his heart grows fonder for Varice. Meanwhile, Ozorne also grows increasingly anxious and moody as, one by one, the heirs before him are picked off by misfortune, leading Arram to begin questioning his future with the young prince.

Besides his friends, our protagonist has also bonded with others outside the university, including a gladiator slave whose harsh life has opened Arram’s eyes to a lot of the poverty and injustices occurring in the city. These sections highlight Arram’s innocence by exposing him to the more brutal ways of the world, but they also show he has a compassionate side and a strong sense of decency.

I’ll be honest here; not much really happens by the end of this book, but I think the author’s powerful character study of Arram and the intimacy of his tale will go a long way in making up for that lack of story progression. Throughout it all, I never lost interest. If anything, my curiosity about the book’s world has only grown, and I find myself wanting to read more of Pierce’s work. Perhaps I’ll take a look at her other series set in the Tortall universe while waiting for the sequel.

Audiobook Comments: Ari Meyers is a new narrator for me, and although I couldn’t find too many audiobook credits to her name, her performance sounded experienced enough and I also thought her voice well suited to portraying the many young and diverse characters in the story.
Profile Image for TheOriginalNikeGirl.
628 reviews46 followers
Shelved as 'tbr-books-i-own'
July 6, 2013
OMG, OMG, OMG, NUMAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Numair BEFORE Daine, at that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
763 reviews1,477 followers
February 8, 2018
A preface to this review: it’s not hyperbole to say that this is the book I have been waiting longer for than any other. I first read Tamora Pierce’s work in the early 2000s, and I remember being thrilled when Lady Knight came out in hardcover in 2002. It’s safe to say I’ve been anticipating the promised ‘Young Numair book’ for around fifteen years - over half my lifespan.

And now it’s here and… I can’t help feeling like if I hadn’t been anticipating it, I wouldn’t particularly care.

Here’s the thing. Tamora Pierce has done the ‘early years at a fantasy school’ thing before, three times by my count, and she’s done it better, with more sense of plot momentum and purpose. In all three instances, her characters had clear goals and threats - Alanna reaches for her knighthood while struggling to keep her gender secret; Kel spends her first year on probation; the Circle kids have to learn to live together or risk their futures. Tempests and Slaughter just… doesn’t have that. There’s no sense of destination. Events just occur, and while I can see how they’ll be groundwork for later books, it leaves this installment feeling almost pointless. I expected the climax to result in Ozorne becoming heir - a turning point for all three main characters, and one that approaches throughout the book as other heirs in the line of succession die - but even that hasn’t happened yet.

Don’t get me wrong - I appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to see into these characters’ origins. Ozorne is the most fascinating, because he seems genuinely sweet until he starts kicking people in the street - he’s volatile and at times terrifying, but I was left with a strong sense that the later events of his life were, to a degree, an accident of birth; that in a different family, he might have turned out okay. Anyone who’s read the Immortals Quartet knows the kind of emperor he will become, and his background doesn’t absolve him of responsibility for his choices or his crimes, but… it does make them even more of a tragedy.

Varice Kingsford is, too, a tragedy in the making. I’ve never disliked her; as she says in Emperor Mage, she just wants to make beautiful things, and that’s no crime. Here, we get to see her as a spirited, fiercely loyal young woman… but, simultaneously, as someone who takes no issue with the status quo as long as she gets to be in the middle of it. It’s easy to see how this will drive Arram/Numair away from her, as he grows stronger in his convictions that something is rotten in the empire of Carthak.

And Arram - oh, Arram. Confession time: I’ve been half in love with Numair Salmalin since I was about eleven, and so of course that affection extended to his adolescent self*. He’s fundamentally good in a way that I just adore, juggling for the children of typhoid patients and doing favors for gods and trying to satiate the endless spring of his curiosity. Like most of Tamora Pierce’s protagonists, his sense of justice gets him into fights he can’t win. And… also like most of her protagonists, he has to deal with puberty and his own sexual awakening. I should have expected this, given the frank way Pierce has always treated menstruation and contraception when writing about women, but reading about Arram’s first ‘morning wood’ took me by surprise. Still, I respect the fact that she didn’t shy away from that aspect of coming-of-age, and that Arram has several different romantic relationships in his adolescence - a realistic detail which is so often missing in recent young adult novels.

If this book had covered less time, but been more rich in its details and interactions, I think it might have been stronger. I know that Numair and Ozorne were friends, but I’m not as emotionally invested in that friendship as I thought I would be. Perhaps this is on me, for coming into this book with so many expectations, but I anticipated the friendship between Arram, Ozorne, and Varice being the heart of this series, and that makes it weird that long chunks of this book are spent with Arram away from his companions.

I’m still looking forward to the rest of the series, of course. Honestly, because I’d always sort of expected this prequel series to focus on Arram in his late teens at the earliest, I expect I’ll take to the later books better - there won’t be as much of a jarring disconnect between the anticipations I’ve built up and the reality.

(*reading about your biggest fictional crush as a child half your age is really Weird and kind of uncomfortable at points, and it required a bit of doublethink for me to get through it.)
February 20, 2018

Ugh you guys I am so ashamed that this book took me so long to read. Tamora Pierce has been my favorite author ever since I picked up Trickster’s Choice many years ago. Of course I was pissed to find out that I had basically ruined a lot of things for myself for picking up that duology first but I had no idea at the time! I spend the next few years DEVOURING every other book written by this gem of a lady. Alanna, Kel, Daine, Aly….all of these women have come to mean so much to me. I still to this day think about them when I’m going through something hard or scary and need a bit of bravery. I honestly think I took my sweet time because this book has been A LONG TIME COMING. Seriously. Her last actual novel set in Tortall came out in 2011. SEVEN YEARS AGO. And I mean she’s been planning a Numair series since then so it’s been a pretty excruciating wait if you ask me.

The most important thing to know about this book is that you will appreciate it 100x more if you’ve read her other series set in Tortall first. There are little teasers for what is to come in the Immortals series and you get to see characters that pop up again later as well which is one of my favorite parts of her books. I think that it would be a little slow if this was the first book of her that you were picking up and I also think that even with my love for her and Numair, that the title really didn’t fit with the more..it more or less seems to be setting up for what is to come on the horizon (which is totally fine but I think some people might be misled).

Arram Draper a.k.a. Numair for those of you who have read Pierce’s other series, was a damn treat in this book. He starts out the book as an eleven-year-old who has just started at the Imperial University of Carthak and by the end of the book grows into a young man of 14. I LOVED HIM SO MUCHHHHHHHHHHH. Just by reading this first book I have come to realize that we barely get to know him at all in the Immortals series. He is kind, he is thoughtful, he is fiercely loyal, and powerful. Like really, really powerful. I enjoyed watching him come into this gift and loved every single one of his Masters that helped him explore different aspects of his power. They all cared so deeply for him that even if you didn’t know he was going to become one of the most powerful mages in the world, you’d know there was *something* special about him.

It was also so very interesting to see a young and not-yet-so-complicated Ozorne and Varice. It kills me just wondering what that breaking point will be to send Numair over to Tortall and completely sever ties with this two young people that came to be his best friends in this book. Quite heartbreaking if I’m being honest. Reading this makes me want to go read the other books ASAP to see what kinds of things I pick up from this book. The part where Ozorne gave him a book on shape shifters had me dying. I just whispered to the book *yes, that is a book about your future wife----pay attention* bahaha. And someone talked about teaching him wild magic too. TOO GOOD. Sigh. If you’re a Tamora Pierce fan I HIGHLY RECOMMEND and if you haven’t been introduced, I say start at the very beginning with the Song of the Lioness series. You will not regret it.

*side note: if you previously loved how each of her series had one sassy animal that hung around with the main character and just kind of *made* the book, there's one in this one, too. :)

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Profile Image for Nancy.
565 reviews34 followers
May 17, 2018
Oh, whoa.
I love my kid.




Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews787 followers
February 20, 2018
If you have read the Immortals series by Tamara Pierce is Numair Salmalín is a familiar name. In her new series, The Numair Chronicles do we get to know Numair Salmalín before he became a famous mage. When he was still Attam Draper.

Tempests and Slaughter is the first new book in a new series by Tamara Pierce, and when I got the chance to read this book couldn't I turn it down. And, I'm glad that I decided to go for the book because Pierce has written a fabulous YA fantasy book that can be read by young and old. The book is almost 500 pages thick, but it's never a dull moment. I have to admit that I got some Harry Potter vibes reading this book, two boys and one girl studying magic? However, storywise are they pretty different. However, I do think HP fans will love this book.

I found the story to be interesting straight through. When the book starts is Arram almost eleven years old and the story will progress until he's fourteen so one gets to follow him as he grows older (of course together with his trusted friends Varice and Ozorne) and reading about him becoming more and more powerful. Even as a teen is he a great mage that just needs to learn to harness his power.

There is a lot of events in this book and I particularly liked the latter part of the book, when Arram has to help the wounded gladiators. Gladiator games are a big thing in this book, and Arram has a hard time dealing with that since he is against slavery and the barbarity of gladiator games.

I found this the first book to be an excellent start of a new series and both new and old fans of Tamara Pierce will love it!

I want to thank Random House for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
Profile Image for Beth.
1,144 reviews113 followers
March 11, 2018
Well. This calls to mind that first Patrick Rothfuss book - it's all "super talented guy wows people at exclusive school". (I hate those stories.) At least the Rothfuss had some stakes and conflict, though. There is no conflict here. This is is a prequel that skates by on its name-dropping, on the Daine books, confident that its readers will read more into Arram and Ozorne and Varice than it bothers to develop. And that playing-on-the-Daine-books stuff makes this book sloppy:
He saw [Varice] collapse into giggles. "Oh, I wish I could have seen it!" she cried.

Then and there Arram promised himself that he would marry her one day.

And once you ask that, "WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS BOOK" is the inevitable followup. It doesn't develop any characters in a new way - Arram, still super powerful! Ozorne, still likes birds, hates people! Varice, still pretty and a good hostess! - and it recycles previous Pierce plotlines. Numair goes to renew medicines during a plague. He gets a random bird to care for. An heir dies out at sea.

(People who are born powerful and just need education to teach them spells that will focus that power seldom make interesting story subjects. There's no character growth, and there's also no conflict in independent study. He even gets along with all his teachers.)

And this is narrowly focused even for a school story. Numair doesn't take the standard classes or learn in a typical classroom setting - because he's so ~special - to the book's detriment. It means you only know he's special because his friends are constantly telling other people in his hearing. It means the pacing is atrocious and the passing of time and the importance of these subjects aren't developed well. It means things like Numair dating are mentioned months later, as asides, and this after reinforcing how busy he is; where exactly do all these undeveloped asides fit into his life?

The writing is sloppy, too. Here's an early example:
He began to turn over new and different magic in his head. And since he hadn't had any fresh surges of oddness, he began to relax.

One place where he could not relax was Master Girisunika's Essentials of Water Magic class.
I MEAN: what a sloppy transition! Why bother talking about him relaxing, then, if you're going to contradict that in the very next sentence?
Arram fought to sit, not wanting his friend to see him lying flat like one of the dead, still on his cot, his skin gray. Arram scrambled forward, horrified.
These two sentences are just one example of weirdly juxtaposed thoughts! The second sentence feels cut-and-pasted from somewhere else. Is he exhausted and lethargic and embarrassed? Or is he scrambling and horrified? I have no idea what's supposed to be going on here.

Anyway, this is primarily a bland school story obsessed with day-to-day minutiae that's really a story of how Numair is destined for Tortall because he's so talented and anti-racist and anti-slavery. If it were less boring, it would fit right in with the Daine books.
Profile Image for Greyson | Use Your Words.
538 reviews34 followers
May 9, 2019
The Numair Chronicles Series Ratings:
Tempests and Slaughter: ★★★★
The Exile's Gift: Possibly Lost interest in series

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

It’s just as Master Sebo says, Arram decided during their ride home. Each bit of stone tossed into the river creates ripples, which create still more, which intersect with other ripples, each making a new pattern in the water. There is no way to tell what might result, once you pick up a stone and throw it. We can only be ready for where the power takes us.

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate this cover please? Oh boy, I don't even know where to start with this one. 

Tempests and Slaughter follows Arram as he studies at the Imperial University of Carthak, a school to teach mages to control their gift and find the best field to use it. He's the youngest student in his class, he works closely with the masters of the school to nurture his raw, and sometimes, uncontrollable Gift. His gift seems to attract him nothing but extra work and trouble but Arram has devoted friends, Varice and Prince Ozorne by his side, helping him get out of trouble and, on occasion, helping him stumble into it. 

“Why do you do it, Master, if it’s so dangerous?” Arram asked.
“Because they are not undeserving of care. No one is undeserving of care. It is not their fault that they have become what they are,” Ramasu said, his eyes on the road. “They are slaves, chosen and groomed to become gladiators- which is to say, they are beaten, starved, and punished for their work. They grow old in combat and are slaughtered before their time.”

I'll start with the world. It really is fantastical. Pierce has a way of immersing her reader into a world that makes it hard to pull yourself back out. The story was far from perfect, but whilst reading and I never cared until I put it down. The only way to describe the University is similar to Hogwarts but far more diverse. You have the sage masters who genuinely want to help their students... for the most part. Like Harry Potter there is one master who I didn't trust, perhaps wisely so. There's students from all over this world studying in one school, learning totally different things. No one's schooling is the same. 
Outside of the school is a country that desperately needs progress and change. Slaves are everywhere, there's the games that pin warriors, who are seen as less than human, to fight until the death, along with an assortment of animals. There's a lot of dehumanization that occurred in this world, to balance this out the author had a lot of humanizing conversations between characters as well. Although there were some horrible and nasty things happening it was made very clear to the reader that none of it is okay. 

Using a move Varice had taught him, Arram got Diop’s hand in his and shoved it against the older boy’s wrist. Diop gasped: he seemed not to have known how painful a wrist could be when bent into a U.
“Walk,” Arram whispered to Diop. “Let’s walk to the door before the proctors get here.” Out of the corner of his eye he saw Varice and Ozorne rise to intercept the proctors. “Don’t call out,” Arram cautioned, “or I might get excited and break something.”

Arram is another sweet cinnamon roll boy and those are my favourite. He stutters his way through sentences, makes friends with the gladiators, wants nothing more than for slaves to be set free. Much to his angst, Arram's beliefs have him second guessing the life he had planned with his friends after they all receive their mage certificates, thinking of swapping it in for a life outside of Cathrak where slaves are no longer and he can be far away from the games.
I wanted to wrap Arram up and protect him from the harsh realities of his world. He is beyond sweet and caring and oh no, my heart. Arram is my son, I would take a shot of fire to the chest for him. I know, I know. He can take care of himself, clearly but I don't want him to have to, and risk jading this sweet, innocent child. But I'm not going to lie, I was very proud of him whenever he stood up for himself. 

“One can only remain wound up over books for so long before one has to do something wild.”
This novel was long, far longer than it probably needed to be, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. My problems all felt minor compared to how much I cared about the characters and their journeys. But they were still problems. 
By the end of the book I felt like nothing had really happened. Sure, loads of things had happened but it was slow, and everything was relatively minor. Maybe I've been ruined by all the big scaled fantasy in YA at the moment, where there are fights around every corner and you feel like your heart is in your throat. My biggest problem with Tempests and Slaughter were there was no high stakes, there were nearly no stakes at all. I just wanted more. So much more. 

“Shall I poison their breakfasts?” she asked. Her eyes were as hard as sapphires.
“Wh- who?” he stammered, but he could tell she had guessed the source of his bruises.
“I wouldn’t poison them a lot,” she reassured him with a sparkling smile. “Just enough to keep them vomiting all during examinations. Just so they’ll have to spend Midwinter making them up. I can do it. And I needn’t even use magic, so I won’t get caught.” She shook her head, looking sad. “So many kinds of sickness this time of year.”

All the secondary characters were fantastic, Varice was this incredible female character who was feminine in her kickassery, which is so often not given enough limelight. Ozorne is this complicated mess of a boy who you root for and also secretly hope will never make his way to the throne unless he allows Arram his ear. Preet, our sassy little bird friend is so adorable and an incredible addition to the story. 

“A party with the princess!”
Varice slung her arm around his waist. “Please don’t panic yet,” she begged. “I’ll let you know when to panic.”

All in all, I did really enjoy this book and I may give the next one a chance, though I will probably check out the page count first. Apparently this is part of the same world as a number of Pierce's other novels? Might have to check them out...
“How did she come to you?”
“She landed on my face.”
Ozorne was grinning when he joined Arram. “I don’t know if your luck is good or bad,” he whispered as he opened the door. “It’s certainly interesting.”

Profile Image for Justine.
1,132 reviews310 followers
May 29, 2018
My first book by Tamora Pierce! I was so happy to hear that Tempests and Slaughter could be an entry point to Pierce's extensive Tortall universe, because I have been wanting to try one of her books for ages.

I ended up quite loving this book. I will be completely honest, this isn't a story with a central conflict to be resolved. It is pretty much a character story about three friends at a magic school. The thing is, I didn't care because I loved those characters so much and was quite happy to just learn more about them.

I understand that in later Tortall books, these characters appear as adults and are important, but I was pleased not knowing at this point what their ultimate fates will be. There is enough foreshadowing in this book to know that they have much in store for them, and probably not all good.

This would be a great choice for readers middle grade and above who enjoy the magic school setting and character driven stories. I wish I could read the next chronological series in the Tortall universe, The Immortals, but I already know it contains spoilers for the next book in this series. I'll just have to wait until next year to read The Exile's Gift to find out what happens next.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
908 reviews164 followers
March 3, 2018

This is going to be an extra small review as I do not have power thanks to the Nor’easter and am doing this on my 4G and don’t want to lose more battery life. Absolutely enjoyed this wonderful mage story! The main trio of characters was entertaining and the dialogue and plot in this story is so amusing. The pages flew by because of the entertainment of the plot.

My quick and simple overall: entertaining and a great mage story!
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,395 followers
April 13, 2018
Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of Tempests & Slaughter in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and receiving a copy of the finished book does not affect what I think.


Tempests & Slaughter took me a long time to get through. It wasn’t even the biggest book I have read but due to the info dumping of the content, it really felt like a drag in some parts. By some parts, I mean a large part of this novel. It had some beautiful touches, like diversity and seeing a character grow up, but it really did have large periods of time where we just watch the main character study. The story itself reads like it is Arram Draper’s diary. It details almost every activity he does in the most excruciating detail. Which, at times, is great and other times I wanted to scream at the plot to get a move on since it was dragging.

I have never read one of Tamora Pierce book. I feel maybe I missed something that was leading up to this that is in her past books. I’m not sure. Maybe this was really just a high fantasy book and my brain wasn’t in the right headspace. I really think this was a case of ‘its me not the book’. So, anything I say shouldn’t be taken too seriously. I know this is a duology, so maybe once I’ve read the second book in this series I will dive into Tamora Pierce’s other books, so hopefully, this book will eventually come together better for me.

Arram Draper is studying to be a mage. Tempests & Slaughter follows his journey through his studies. However, we literally do follow his journey through studying. I wish I was kidding. We go to Arram to like every single class. We see him studying his magic and having basic interactions with his friends. There are a few events throughout that make it seem like the story will finally hit the climax but unfortunately, it never happens. I had so many theories of what may happen and I was just really disappointed. The story was so flat. That being said, there were things I liked that I’ll get in to. There really isn’t too much to say about the plot as a whole. I’m really hoping the second book binds this together.

So, I guess, let’s jump into what I did and didn’t like.


The storytelling of Tempests & Slaughter is beautiful. Tamora Pierce has a way with words and it creates such beautiful imagery throughout the novel. I know it seems like I’ve complained about this story feeling stagnant in some areas, but I really thought the writing was what did keep me reading. I honestly can’t fault it. It had elements of humour throughout and really dove into topics that are sometimes shied away from. It was interesting to read about most of the time and I really hope I get the chance to read more of Tamora’s writing in the near future. It really makes the story.


There are a lot of characters throughout this novel but there are three that stand out – the three main characters. Arram, Ozorne, and Varice are three best friends who do everything together. Hell, Ozorne, a prince, has plans for them after they all graduate from the academy. It was an interesting friendship to see grow over the series. You could see the group drifted apart at times but always came back together. All three characters are meant to be extraordinary and it is shown through the book.


Someone commented on one of my updates saying that the blurb for this story sounded very similar to Harry Potter. I have to disagree. I feel like whenever there is stories involving three young wizards/mages people always start comparing to Harry Potter. This series had a much different feel to it than Harry Potter. It stood on its own two legs and held it’s own. The main thing was that this wasn’t a middle grade book. This in no way felt that way. It was very clearly mixed with young adult in so many ways. It was definitely a combo I was unfamiliar with and took a little bit to get used to. I mean, this did take me longer than usual to read (five days).


Really, it’s high fantasy as heck. There is so much info-dumping as we learn the world that I kept getting overwhelmed. I’ve put this in the likes category of my review though because despite my complaint, I actually did enjoy the high fantasy element to this book. I don’t read a lot of high fantasy because of how much time it takes me to read it, but I really did enjoy where this book went and how Tamora Pierce built the world.


So. Damn. Dull.

I said earlier in this review that the book read like Arram’s diary. If you have ever read the diary of a ten-year old I’m sure you know it’s not interesting. Considering how brilliant Arram is, I really thought there would be some more interesting things throughout. But, Arram is happy to be quiet and listen, whether that be to his friends or his masters. It really had the story feeling like it was a standstill for around 80% of the book. The few exciting moments we got kept me hooked, but there really wasn’t enough for a book of this size.


I think that’s what Tempests & Slaughter was mainly doing. Setting up for the events of the second book. This book we just see Arram grow and learn, I think he’s around 16 when this book finishes? It seems it is all leading to something more, especially with certain events in this book. It just seems like there is something more and I really hope it is something incredible and dangerous (possible murder please). I have some theories, but after this book, I’m not even sure I should trust myself.

Overall, Tempests & Slaughter wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t a really a good book either. It had points of interest and some major points of disinterest. It was a bit of a struggle to read and I’m not even sure how to rate it. Some parts of the book fall under a four-star and others a one star. For now, I feel that a three-star is the perfect rating.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
March 2, 2018
The Imperial University of Carthak is a prestigious school, educating the brightest adolescent Mages throughout the kingdom, including promising young mage Arram Draper, the ten year old son of a thread merchant. Mages are a revered member of the community, educated in the artistry of healing, spell casting and the combative arts. Arram Draper is an intelligent, gentle young boy and an advanced learning academic of The Imperial University of Carthak.

Prince Ozorne is an interesting character and although charismatic, isolates himself from his peers at university. Beneath the debonair facade is a volatile and passive aggressive young man, his despair exoneration for the threatening and abusive behaviour towards friends and acquaintances.

Varice Kingsford is a wonderful young woman, a culinary artiste despite the displeasure of her family. Established friends Varice and Ozorne welcome Arram to the independent learning program where he will receive private tuition in each discipline.

In a kingdom where slavery is celebrated in the gladiator area, the Sirajit revolutionaries oppose the barbarism of the royal family, Prince Ozorne's father slain during the uprising and his son determined to avenge his father. Encouraged by his mother, Princess Mahira, Varice and Arram are concerned for Ozorne, the Emperor's nephew now second heir to the Emperor throne. Arram is introduced to the gladiator arena when rescued by Musenda, Gladiator and slave. Under the Carthak empire, slaves are imprisoned to serve nobility or destined for the arena where death is inevitable. Musenda is a gentle, compassionate man, financially supporting his widowed sister and her two children on the arena. Arram has seen the despair, the hunger of enslavement and the life threatening wounds throughout his placement as an apprentice medic, believing in freedom against slavery and a prosperous Kingdom.

Carthak is atmospheric and meticulously illustrated. The linear narrative traverses several years throughout Arram's education, as he begins to specialise in healing. Throughout his interactions with each discipline Master, Arram learns humility, compassion and the atrocities of slavery within the Kingdom.

Tamora Pierce is an esteemed and accomplished fantasy author, exploring a world enduring exploitation and injustice, revenge and slavery. Racially and sexually diverse characters epitomise a vibrant origin story of gallantry and valour. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Sam Maggs.
Author 125 books943 followers
August 10, 2017
**Spoiler-free review!** I think the first time I read about the Young Numair trilogy was on Tammy's "Upcoming Books" page way back in 2003, when I was 14 years old. I'm 28 now, and I can say honestly: this book completely lived up to half a lifetime's worth of anticipation.

Tempests and Slaughter brought back all the magic of the Lioness and Immortals quartets for me. It's no secret that I'm a huge Tamora Pierce fan, and Numair is my forever #1 man (hello, he's a Goldblum lookalike), but I admit I was little nervous about reading a Tammy book from a male POV. I shouldn't have worried, of course; Arram's story is treated with such grace and care that I quickly forgot all of my reservations. Plus, there's so much diversity in the book (of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, etc., etc.) that it more than makes up for the lack of a female protagonist. Fans of Tammy's work will be thrilled by all the references to past (wait, future?) series, and many of your Immortals faves make appearances. I just can't say enough good things about this book - it felt like the return to Tortall I've truly been waiting for.


my sonsband arram draper
Profile Image for Short  Reviews.
142 reviews35 followers
January 9, 2018
DNF at 255 pages.

Don't flame me yall, this book wasn't the worst I've read.

The writing is good, I can envision what is happening throughout the story, but for some reason the main character just... bores me. And for me, if the main character can't suck me in, the story won't be enjoyable.

Arram Drapper - the main character, is already called out as a chosen one somewhere in the book, his power is so extraordinary, and the author mentions about a dozen times that he's so young compared to the rest of his peers which got old really fast. He had the flaws typical of a chosen one as well - clumsy, stutters when talking to girls, doesn't have many friends, etc.

The main girl, Varice, is also a bit of a marysue. I literally haven't used that term in so many years, but I can't think of another word to describe her - she seems too perfect and little substance aside from being bossy, and into cooking. Can't remember much else about her.

The other main boy, Ozorne, was actually the best character out of the trio! I liked the prince, and reading his lifestory, and the strained relationship he had with his mother was also believable.

To be honest, I might finish this off, but maybe sometime closer to the publishing date. Or maybe not... it's too long, and reading about Arram attending his lessons for nearly every single chapter got old at some point.
Who knows? The book might have been interesting after the chapter I stopped at, but I may never know.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,316 reviews215 followers
January 22, 2019
This is my first book by Tamora Pierce, and I honestly really liked it. It has been sitting in my room since the day I got it.. but never opened it. In Tempests and Slaughter you will meet Arram, Varice, and Ozorne. If you think this trio reminds you of another famous trio, aka harry freaking potter, then you'd be thinking like I did.

Low-key, this was basically a version of harry potter to me. I liked it for that reason but it felt like I was reading something I've already read before. I will also say that this book did start off slow for me, which is probably why I hesitated to dive into this book, but it definitely picked up. I'm thankful that it did because I would've rated this much lower if it didn't.

The characters were pretty likable. Arram is so freaking sweet and definitely gave me harry vibes. Which means I basically fell in love with him instantly. Then there's Varice was a bad ass female mage. Besides them, Ozorne was such a hot mess. I loved him and even liked that he was a prince.

Overall, I liked that this sounded a lot like harry potter. I love harry and all the vibes it was giving me. Just wish that the pacing was a bit better.

Profile Image for Anne Osterlund.
Author 5 books5,517 followers
July 9, 2018
Arram hates being bored.

Fortunately the mages at the Imperial University don't believe in holding students back. Instead, they toss Arram into individualized classes, along with Varice--the girl Arram intends to one day marry--and Ozorne, the heir--many times removed--to the Carthak throne. One day Arram, Varice, and Ozorne will practice magic in a cave on behalf of the empire.

Maybe. If Arram can avoid flooding or burning down the University by accident. And Ozorne's occasional weird moods. And really making the crocodile god mad.

Actually, there are a million pitfalls in learning to be a mage at the University of Carthak. But Arram is up for the challenge. Mostly. Though the gladiator arena scares the _____ out of him.

Tamora Pierce's latest novel, Tempests and Slaughter, is actually a school story. With all the magic of a world in which a young boy can learn to walk on the river bottom, protect a magical sunbird of the gods, and determine the meaning of true friendship. A rich fantasy world, a relatable hero, and the kind of read one loves to sink into without worrying about ever coming up for air.
Profile Image for kris.
937 reviews186 followers
May 9, 2018
Arram Draper is a very special wizard with very special friends. Eventually he'll grow up to be Numair Salmalín, the very special wizard with very special friends.

1. I think I suffered a slight case of Stockholm syndrome while reading this book because I kept...justifying it to myself. Even though it's too long and too dull and too poorly written, I found myself excusing it.

2. It's still too long and too dull and too poorly written, though. Just to get that out of the way.


4. I kept expecting things to happen. For people to die. For things to get suddenly and actually real instead of narrated like some far-distant event that had no weight or importance. But lo, nothing had any weight or importance. Basically, Arram ends up learning some lessons and ultimately decides not to make any major decisions. It's all very...anti-climatic.

So what is the POINT of this book? Royalties? Headpats? The exploration of male puberty through the oh-so-cliche use of the word "member"? (WHICH: SEE #6.) The introductory point of Arram is about 2.5 feet away from Numair when we meet him and that's literally all height and probably 500 books. There is no actual internal growth to chew on and it is BORING.

5. This was just not well-written, sorry. See Beth's most excellent review for examples and better reasoning than I could ever develop.


Here's why this merits a whole complaint section of this review: because I don't believe for a goddamned moment that Arram—a curiosity-driven prepubescent boy—wouldn't have read something SOMEWHERE about erections and hormones and all that growing-up shit. Absolutely he's an absent-minded boy who wants to Know Things but you can't tell me that he wouldn't have sought out books about the maturation of mages and the impacts of puberty on magic or SOMETHING.

For him to wake up to a "strange" "tingling" "member" is absolutely laughable.

7. IDK my childhood is like fighting me right now but this was not good and you should not read it unless you also want to feel like this maybe?
Profile Image for Mel Anie .
157 reviews85 followers
September 29, 2018
Rating: 3,8

This book took me quite a while to finish. There were several different factors which made me put this book down so it took me 3 weeks. Don't get me wrong, Tempests and Slaughter turned out to be good, but not great, read.

Good points:

Tamora Pierce made an outstanding job with world building and character creation. Both were unique. Characters are funny and capturing.

I truly liked magic system in this one. There is a huge variety - one magician can learn many different skills (for example: fire magician can be also a healer).

Animals, smaller and greater gods. Preet is so darn cute and I really like this whole idea about gods which give this book a deeper layer in plot. I also hope that second book will explore it further.

Things I not necessarily liked:

Plots and scenes. There is simply too much. Everything happens too fast, especially actions which I would prefer to last longer. Due to that I was lost more than once and had to reread last few paragraphs to be sure what is happening (actions jump from one to another without any warning: Arram at school -> Arram sleeps, no bridge between those two).

Basically, my only problem was pace and those jumps in plot. Overaly, I really liked this book and I'm looking forward to read the 2nd book.
Profile Image for Rachel (Kalanadi).
722 reviews1,400 followers
February 20, 2018
This took me straight back to my happy place in Tortall. I ate this up and it was great to see Numair (uh, Arram), Varice, and Ozorne as kids at university.

I have to admit that I don't see this book appealing as much to new fans of Pierce. It's not the best place to start with the Tortall universe and certainly Numair gets a splashier entrance in Wild Magic. I loved it because I was already heavily invested in Numair from The Immortals quartet. I already knew Numair as an adult and what will eventually happen with Varice and Ozorne, which made the end of Tempests and Slaughter feel weightier.

Others may be bothered more by the slower, detailed pace. Half the book is the three main characters taking on more and more coursework at university. But for me it was about setting up the idyllic pace of the academic life, before they get a rude awakening that their childhood dreams to remain together might not survive the political winds of change, or war.
Profile Image for Adah Udechukwu.
621 reviews83 followers
May 22, 2018
Tempest and Slaughter was PERFECT. It was a refreshing read.
Profile Image for Laura (thebookcorps).
838 reviews172 followers
February 25, 2018
I am a terrible fantasy fan. Why? Because I’ve never read a novel by Tamora Pierce.

I am definitely going to have to correct that mistake by attempting to read her entire Tortall series, because, oh gosh, Tempests and Slaughter was magnificent.

In Tempests and Slaughter, Pierce returns to the very early days of her Tortall series by focusing on the childhood, and eventual rise, of the powerful mage, Numair Salmalín, who is introduced in Wild Magic (Immortals, #1). Originally known as Arram Draper, the book relates his first few years at the University of Carthak in the School of Mages, and a majority of the book is undoubtedly setting up for the rest of the series. But it was still highly enjoyable.

Tempests and Slaughter is the first pure fantasy novel I’ve read in a long time, and it’s such a welcoming feeling to return to a genre that you adore. While the characters tripped me up a little at the beginning of the book, Pierce’s clear writing – definitely something that is needed in fantasy – drew me into the story, and I was able to follow along perfectly for someone who is so completely new to the Tortall universe.

A lot of the novel is focused on Arram’s magical education and the development of his friendships with a girl named Varice (who is his lover in another series) and Prince Ozorne, one of the seven heirs to the throne of Carthak … who later, in another series, becomes one of Numair’s most bitter enemies. While Tempests and Slaughter did an amazing job at highlighting the deep friendship between the two boys, it still set up little moments of disagreement between Arram and Ozorne, and I am highly excited to read about exactly how they become enemies in the next book, The Exile’s Gift.

The novel progresses episodically, which means that there is no larger plot at hand: it’s basically Arram through his years at the university as he studies different forms of magic, meets a few gods, understand that slavery is abhorrent, and learns to utilise his healing Gift. However, there is still little snippets of a larger storyline, which I believe will properly come to light in the next book. In the meantime, I had a fun time pieces together the clues and having wild guesses. It was definitely an experience to come at this book with no knowledge whatsoever from the previous books in Pierce’s series’.

The history and culture in the books was so fascinating. Carthak is a powerful country that conquers at whim, practices slavery, and has very intriguing political issues. At the beginning of the novel, there is a large number of heirs to the throne – perhaps around four or five left – but by the end, there’s only Ozorne and an older cousin remaining. I have my theories, but I won’t share them in case they’re considered spoilers.

Undoubtedly, my favourite character was Arram. He has a very strong moral compass, and always tries to do the right thing. He’s shy, cautious, enthusiastic about studying, and fiercely loyal. He’s such a great protagonist and I loved reading from his perspective. Despite the fact that Arram could be a little obtuse at times, the reader has no issue reading between the lines that Arram cannot see and uncovering the secrets in the plot for themselves.

Tempests and Slaughter is a throughly enjoyable high fantasy novel that I recommend to Tamora Pierce fans and newbies, like myself. Although I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow along clearly – with my lack of knowledge – there was no cause for concern. The novel is readable, concise, and highly entertaining. I am so very excited to continue the series, now that everything has been set up in the first novel. In the mean time, I’m going to get my hands on a copy of the first Immortals book.

Thank you very much to Hachette Australia for providing a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
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