Book Review: Tempests and Slaughter – Collab With Larkin + Excited Flailing!
Tempests and Slaughter
by Tamora Pierce
Today I’ve invited my friend Larkin to join me in reviewing Tempests and Slaughter! We had so much fun when we reviewed A Curse Dark as Gold together back in October,* and we’ve both been looking forward to Tempests and Slaughter for ages, so we figured we’d do it again with this one!
Once again, we had a lot of fun, so I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
*Which was a lot of fun, so you can read it here.
(Also, just a warning, we’re careful not to spoil Tempests and Slaughter, but this is the prequel to one of her other series The Immortals, and we discuss it from the viewpoint of having read that, so if you haven’t read The Immortals, there are quite possibly spoilers for what eventually happens to some of the characters in this, if not for the book itself.)
Iris: I really, really, really, REALLY loved Tempests and Slaughter! I was so happy to be back in this world, and with these amazing, wonderful characters!
Larkin: Before I say anything about the book, I just want to point out that you were not back in the world, you were reading about the world again, you never (as far as I know) entered the world.
Iris: You are way too literal. I know what I mean, you know what I mean, and everybody reading this post knows what I mean.
Larkin: You don’t know that for sure.
Iris: Whatever. You are terrible at reviewing things, did you know that? You pick apart my wording instead of contributing your own thoughts. So contribute. What did you think?
Larkin: Meany. Okay anyway, the book! I love love LOVE it! I completely agree with you that it’s great to get to read about Tortall (or actually Carthak… Oops.) again, even if I don’t agree with your phrasing.
Iris: The plot in this was sort of meandering… There were certainly aspects of it that carried through the whole book, but this book wasn’t all that plot based.
Really, it was about
Numair Arram growing up. His school years, and his friendships, and learning healing. There’s other plotlines certainly, the gladiators, the shrinking number of heirs, and the dodgy teachers, but they seem less significant.
The slowness of it all might not be for everyone, but never once was it boring, and I enjoyed every second of it.
Larkin: I feel like you’ve said most of what I was thinking (partially since I was helping you think of plot points? Threads? Thingamugingers.) and so I’m going to say this, even though I’m not entirely sure if this counts, it seemed like it wouldn’t be as funny if you hadn’t already read The Immortals, a lot of my favorite details were things referencing his character in it.
Iris: I believe plot threads is the correct term. Not thingamugingers. And you didn’t help that much, I came up with most of them myself.
Iris: As for your point about The Immortals… I think you will certainly get a lot more out of this having read it, but I think this book also stands on its own perfectly well. I did however get a little bit more enjoyment out of it then I otherwise might have, simply because it’s always exciting to find a reference to another book you love.
Larkin: That’s what I meant. Thank you for helping get the point across, communicating’s hard.
Iris: Yes it is hard.
Larkin: It was so interesting seeing Carthak from a different point of view. I particularly loved getting to see the university from the inside. Okay, your turn. You have to think of more to say!
Iris: I don’t have any problem with that actually. I find it quite easy to think of more to say about this world.
Carthak is absolutely fascinating!
Larkin: It is, but that doesn’t make it easy to talk about.
Iris: You interrupted me. Rude. Anyways, as I was saying, Carthak is absolutely fascinating! It’s pretty screwed up, but I really love reading about it. Honestly I think I love reading about it because of how messed up it is. It’s such a richly developed culture, and it’s just so interesting.
Also, is it weird and morbid to say I really liked reading about the gladiators?
Larkin: YES!!! But I totally agree with you.
Iris: You interrupted again.
I mean, obviously it was awful, and I want it to stop, but the scenes that took place there, and the politics surrounding it were also really interesting. Either that or I just liked Musenda… Possibly it was just that.
Larkin: Yes I did interrupt you again. Interrupting you is entertaining. But anyway, the gladiators, and honestly just the slaves in general, I really do love reading about the politics of the games and the effect that they have on different people. To foreigners (and me, definitely me. Although technically I am a foreigner, I’m so foreign I’m from a different universe altogether.)(at least ones from non-slave holding countries.) they usually seem completely barbaric, but to the the people who have grown up with slavery they’re just a form of entertainment (which is completely terrible). And while slavery is a terrible terrible thing, it is quite interesting to read about.
Iris: It is so, so awful, but it was really well done, and there was a really real rawness to it. Not to mention it really added another layer to the story.
Anyways, I always love this world, and reading another story set here was amazing!
Iris: As much as I adore the world, the characters are what I really read these books for! They are all so richly developed, and amazing! Not to mention all the characters in this who I knew from The Immortals. It was super cool to read about them when they were so much younger, and seeing how they’d changed, but also seeing a lot of similarities was awesome!
First of all, there’s
Numair Arram. I know him as Numair from The Immortals, but in this he still goes by Arram. He’s, well, I never thought I’d think of Numair as cute, but he’s absolutely adorable at the beginning of this book. As the book goes on, he grows up, and while he’s still quite young, I can definitely see hints of the silly, geeky mage he becomes.
Larkin: I definitely agree with you that the best aspect of this book (and all Tamora Pierce’s stuff really) is the characters. I love Numair as an adult, and it’s so so so cool to get to see him growing up. Another one that I absolutely loved to read about, even though it was very strange, is Ozorne. Seeing his friendship with
Numair Arram was kind of heartbreaking, and honestly sort of confusing and hard to explain. He’s always been a very complex villain but reading this I almost get attached to him, but then he turns around and does something completely horrible that makes me hate him all over again.
Iris: I think it was more than kind of heartbreaking. Even in this, I don’t always like Ozorne (like you said, he does some nasty things), but I think he genuinely cares about Arram, and their friendship is so pure and sweet at times, especially at the beginning. It absolutely breaks my heart to know that it goes so bad somewhere along the line.
I also love seeing Varice in this. I never particularly liked her in The Immortals, but I didn’t hate her, just thought she was weak and cowardly. In this however, she is awesome!
Larkin: Yes she is! I completely agree with you she was weak and cowardly and, may I add, rather annoying in The Immortals, but as a kid/teen I really really like her. In this she had a much stronger personality, and was just a much more likeable character.
Iris: She really was, wasn’t she?
Larkin: I JUST SAID THAT!
Iris: I know you did. You weren’t supposed to actually answer that.
Larkin: Then you shouldn’t have phrased it as a question.
Iris: Argh! You are impossible!
Anyways. Honestly there are so many characters we could talk about, but if we talked about every single one of them this post would be insanely long. So. Let’s not do that.
Larkin: Okay, in that case we at least need to talk about Lindhall. I got so excited when he came in, I already liked him a lot from The Immortals so seeing him and getting to know him better in this was great. He was one of my favorite of
Numair Arram’s teachers (along with most of the other ones), I don’t honestly know what it is that I like about him other than the fact that he’s just a good person in a way that not all characters, even likeable ones are. And I guess he is rather funny at times.
Iris: Yeah, Lindhall is awesome! I think I partially loved reading about him because I love him from the Immortals, and I really love watching his relationship with Numair* develop! Even on his own though, he’s a wonderful character.
I also loved Musenda. I loved him from very early on, and he’s such a kind character, despite his awful situation.
Larkin: Yes! Musenda! I love him, he’s so great! I also loved him right away, he’s just one of the nicest people ever, and I think you may be understating just how incredible it is that he’s so nice, I mean he was about to be put into the arena against his will when one of the people, who as far as he knows is there to watch him fight for their own entertainment, falls out of the stands, and his first response is still to help him.
Iris: I seriously love Musenda! He truly is an amazing character!
Larkin: Yes he is!
[su_spoiler title=”Spoilers” icon=”chevron”]Iris: AND OH MY GOODNESS I FREAKED OUT SO MUCH WHEN I REALIZED HE’S SARGE!!!
Larkin: YES!!!! It was so exciting, I love Sarge and I was really happy to realise that Musenda and Sarge are the same person. Also from the very first scene that he was in I was bracing myself for him to die, so I was incredibly happy to realise that he wasn’t going to.
Iris: Yes, I was glad that he wasn’t going to die too, but can we just acknowledge the awesomeness of having more of Sarge’s backstory? I didn’t even realize that I wanted to know his backstory until now, but now I want even more information! Like how he ends up in Tortall, and how he even ended up a slave in the first place. I’m now incredibly curious!
Larkin: I know, I’m so curious too! [/su_spoiler]
Larkin: Can we talk about Ua? Or is she not an important enough character?
Iris: She’s an elephant who’s literally in the book for a page or two.
Larkin: Yes, but I love her!
Iris: She barely even did anything!
Larkin: I know, but she was just so sweet!
Iris: Okay, whatever. Obviously there’s a ton more characters we could talk about, but like I said, that would take waayyyy too long, so we’ll wrap up now, unless you have anyone else you want to talk about. NOT the elephant.
Larkin: I don’t actually think that is an invitation to keep talking, is it?
Iris: No it isn’t. It’s my way of politely saying shut up about the elephant.
Larkin: But I like the elephant!
*I’ve just given up on calling him Arram…
Iris: I loved Tempests and Slaughter! I don’t really have any complaints about it. I love this world, and I love these characters. Actually no, I have one complaint. THE NEXT BOOK ISN’T OUT FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER YEAR!!! I need it now.
Larkin: I also loved it! And the characters, and the world, and pretty much everything about it!
I share your complaint, and I think I should add that the timeline was slightly confusing, but it didn’t mess with the plot or anything like that so it didn’t take anything away from the story.
Iris: Yeah, I did find the timeline a tiny bit confusing… It didn’t really bother me, but I also have no clue how much time actually passed. Like you said though, it didn’t really take away from the story.
Overall, Tempests and Slaughter was amazing!
Larkin: Yes it was! And nothing that I can imagine is ever going to convince me otherwise.
Iris: Five stars!
Larkin: Definitely five stars.
I hope you enjoyed this wacky post… I’ll probably be doing posts like this with Larkin every once and a while, because they are SO much fun to write, so I hope you’re enjoying them!