Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles #1) by Tamora Pierce

tempestsFinally, my first Tamora Pierce book and surely not my last! Arram Draper is the star of the show and apparently he has appeared in previous books, known to readers as Numair Salmalín.  This is where his story begins.

The setting here is predominantly the Imperial University of Carthak where readers follows three friends as they study to become mages.  Arram is a young student who has been advanced due to his magical potential.  As the story sets off we witness his ‘gift’ in action as he accidentally fills the classroom with water and nearly drowns his fellow classmates and master in the process.  From there forward Arram is removed to more intensive studies with 1:1 tuition provided by a number of masters who will now attempt to teach him better control.  Of course, being singled out in this way does nothing for his popularity with the other students but fortunately Arram finds himself luckily situated in that two of his fellow students, also very gifted and similarly advanced in learning, befriend him and soon the three become inseparable.

Firstly, to address the elephant in the room – Hi Nellie, I see you over there waving your trunk.  Yes, this story obviously contains a number of similarities to Harry Potter.  A magical school, a standout student and a tight friendship with two other students, but, that being said I wouldn’t really say the two are alike other than on a surface level.  Magical schools are popular tropes for a reason and this is no exception and makes for enjoyable reading.  I found myself easily absorbed into Arram’s life at Uni and the constant ups and downs of student life.  Where this differs greatly from HP is in terms of the time period covered which advances quite quickly – I think we first meet Arram around the age of 11 and by the conclusion of this first book he’s over 14 years old.

There is a definite charm to this book and Arram makes a very easy subject to read and engaging character.  To be honest the actual plot is very light and yet it wasn’t until I’d advanced some way that that really occurred to me.  I would definitely say that this book is a set up book but I don’t really mean that in a negative way.  I’m simply pointing it out because I think if you pick this one up it’s best to be aware that the story is a little meandering and quite slow paced.  It certainly didn’t hamper my reading any, probably due to the writing style which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In terms of the other characters.  Arram’s two close friends are Ozorne.  Ozorne is a prince but with a long line of people ahead of him in terms of succession he’s known rather disparagingly as the ‘leftover’ prince.  Varice is beautiful and clever and Arram finds himself falling for her as the years pass by.  Musenda was a favourite character.  He’s a gladiator slave, I really enjoyed the chapters in which he took part and could happily read more from his pov.  On top of that we have some interesting masters, a crocodile god and a rather cute young bird that Arram undertakes to take care of and eventually seems to wow everyone that it comes into contact with.  Plus – the Hag – what a wonderful creation, a God who Arram seems to have drawn the attention of, maybe something he will live to regret, or maybe not.

Did I have any criticisms.  A couple.  I did experience a slight feeling of everything being too easy for Arram.  Things just fell into his lap, everyone seems to think he’s wonderful and I never really got a sense of him having to strive for anything – which given his incredibly punishing timetable is something of a surprise.  My other niggle was a sense of things feeling a little obvious – although tbh, at this stage, my theories on how this might go forward could be completely wrong.  I’ll find out with the next instalment I guess.

Otherwise, I found this a very good start to the series.  I imagine that for readers returning to a beloved world and a favourite character this must be an absolute treat and for others, like myself, who haven’t read this author before and so don’t know how Arram’s story will eventually pan out, this seems like a good starting point.  I look forward to seeing how Arram’s develops and hope that on the strength of this series I’ll be curious enough to pick up more stories from this world.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.



16 Responses to “Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles #1) by Tamora Pierce”

  1. Captain's Quarters

    It was certainly fun to read a take on this book from someone who is new to Pierce’s work! I have read all the other books set in this world and so for me it will be getting a back story on a beloved character. I will have to read this one sooner rather than later. Lovely review matey!
    x The Captain

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks. I enjoyed this – it was definitely thin on plot but I found myself not really minding and I guess when you’re giving a backstory to a beloved characters that’s already well known you have to keep within certain parameters.
      Lynn 😀

  2. sjhigbee

    What a great review! I haven’t read Pierce’s writing, either – but this one is encouraging me to consider tracking down her work. Thank you for sharing Lynn:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      It will be interesting to see how readers who already love her work feel about this one.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        I’m aware she is a writer I need to get around to at some stage…

  3. Zezee

    I agree with the Captain, it was cool to read your thoughts on it especially because it’s your first Tamora Pierce novel! She was one of my fav authors as a kid and I’m currently rereading her Tortall books, which I’m glad to find that I still enjoy. Can’t wait to get to this one. I just completed Wild Magic, which is when Numair first pops up in the series.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ahh, that’s an interesting comment as ‘wild magic’ is mentioned in this story. I feel like this series is going to pan out well and maybe I’ll then have to move onto all the other TP books already out there.
      Lynn 😀

      • Zezee

        I think that’s a great plan! 🙂

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This was my first Tamora Pierce book too! I liked it a lot, and I totally agree with you on Arram’s charm. I wonder what it must be like for long time fans of the author, who know the character as an adult!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it will be interesting to see if his charmed life continues really.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I have to be in a certain (forgiving) mood for a book where everything seems to come easy

    • @lynnsbooks

      It wasn’t a really strong feeling – but definitely something that did occur to me at one particular point, like wow, this boy is loved by everyone, including the Gods and fate.
      Lynn 😀

  6. maxinesobsessions

    I have this on my shelves but haven’t gotten to it yet. I haven’t read anything else by her either, so have no idea what to expect. People seem to love her books so much.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I thought it might be a good point to dive in – and I enjoyed it and look forward to seeing how the plotlines develop. I’m really interested to see if it will make me hunger to read the other books set in the same world and, if so, how they compare.
      Lynn 😀

  7. bkfrgr

    Tamora Pierce was one of my tween-/teenage favourite writers. I had no idea this was out or anything, but I’m super excited for it now that I do! 🙂 Great review! You’ve made me all nostalgic for the Tortall book … *scurrying off to dig them out* 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Finding out how TP fans enjoy this one is something I’m really looking forward to – it will be interesting to see the reaction – especially seeing as she seems to have such a huge fan base with readers who definitely feel not only love for her books but are full of nostalgia too.
      Lynn 😀

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