There Wasn’t Even a MacGuffin- A Review of Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce

We’ve hit a feat guys. I have officially reviewed an entire series on this blog. It took about 2 years, but here we are!

And I have to say, I’m not sure what to feel. It’s the final installment of the Wild Magic series’ fault. The rest of the series was solid, gracing in the above average scoring for the first three installments. Book 4 hit below average.

As the once emperor mage Ozorne has awakened the god of Chaos, the world of Tortall has never been more under threat as immortals slaughter the lands. Daine and her mentor Numair must stop their enemy from bringing the all terrifying god into the world before it wounds up destroyed.

But oops! They got into the Realm of the Gods and the only way they can stop Ozorne is to get out again!

And I mean it was an oopsie. The literal 7 out of 10 chapters spent getting back to the mortal realm only served as an inconvenience and an excuse to meet Daine’s godly dad and a platypus with a “not Australian” accent. There was literally no other purpose to being in the realm, no powers for Daine to learn, no powerful magic MacGuffin to retrieve. It was like Lord of the Rings without the ring – just the walking. The world had peaked my interest and I literally got nothing out of it. Except dialogue between councils that went in circles to decide the fate of the characters for them. The solution would have been to just take this book’s climax and tack it onto the end of book 3. Appropriately, because I hated how book 3 ended.

Next complaint I have was the Daine’s character for once was inconsistent and too immature for a 16 year old. One minute she had a bloodlust and the very next she lost it and turned nurturing. Her bizarre changes in emotions literally felt like they were there to make the plot interesting (it didn’t). And the moral she had to learn in this whole book was not to blame creatures for acting the way that they do, sometimes it is just in nature, and that they should be forgiven. But she did it from the start? It’s like she unlearnt it in one chapter just to learn it again. What should’ve happened was the flat arc that changed the supporting characters instead.

And now here comes my biggest problem with this book. Where the hell did the romance with Numair come from? Literally the only foreshadowing that this would happen was him blushing at Daine when her clothes were torn and he could see her body. Daine showed no recognition of having feelings for him until they kissed and she was suddenly head over heels. And not to mention the moral grounds this crossed. Their 12 year age difference when she is under 20 years old, for example. And how Numair first met Daine when she was 12 and developed a crush on her as she went through puberty while he taught her. Numair himself even commented on how he had affairs with ladies far older than Daine and he still had a crush on her. Do people not recognise how creepy that is? Less worrying is how the relationship served nothing to their character arcs, but it is far less significant of an issue when I was disgusted to see how romantic that kiss was. Numair should’ve stayed a mentor or even became a brother figure. Psychologically and narratively, this relationship made zero sense!

What can I say? The series finished with a sour taste.

Realm of the Gods gets a score of 1/5. It was a MacGuffin plot without a MacGuffin.

But it doesn’t stop there, dear viewers! We have to rate the series as a whole!

Wild Magic4/5, a rich and enticing world that peaked my interest.

Wolf Speaker3.5/5, it didn’t acknowledge the events of book 1, but the fantastic characters made up for it.

The Emperor Mage3.5/5, overall fantastic until the climax ended.

Realm of the Gods – 1/5, it was pointless.

Tamora Pierce knew how to make a world and characters, though the writing could be stronger. It never had any particular flair to it that kept me engaged. However, the series’ main flaw especially in later books was the narrative – not connecting books, not knowing appropriate endings and even making an entire book pointless – that last point being especially bad when happening in the final one! Having studied narrative and letting it be the primary hook for me when reading a story, this makes this series a real bummer.

The Wild Magic series gets a score of 2/5. It’s going off the bookshelf.

Yours in writing


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