Rather Tame – A Review of Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce


While this book didn’t quite live up to its name, I wouldn’t call it a lullaby.

It still intrigued me even though I took a month to read it.

13 year old Daine is taken up by a horse trainer to help escort horses to the kingdom of Tortall. On this trip, Daine is shown to have a particular knack of animals. Later she learns it is not just a knack, as she gets caught in discoveries that could mean the destruction of the kingdom of Tortall – why she understands animals so well, what the strange demonic creatures are she has been encountering, and who has sent them there.

I picked up the entire Wild Magic series for $10 at a second hand shop to give the four books a read. This first book, while it wouldn’t have the most amazing or in depth plot, was still a surprisingly enjoyable read.

One point that made this so was how well it was written in third person. I typically stay away from the “God’s perspective” point of view as I call it, where you read everyone’s thoughts. In many cases it becomes difficult to track who is thinking what or if their thoughts are even relevant to the story. Pierce, however, wrote this well even without switching the points of view exclusively to scene breaks and chapters. The transitions between people’s minds made sense; perfect sense. Every thought felt like it had a purpose. I could engage with these thoughts easily.

While that was the biggest standout in the quality of this book, it doesn’t stop there. Well thought characters, world building, and the language used were top notch.

If I were to point out an issue, I’ll admit at times the stakes weren’t notable at times. It felt like they would only just get noticed when it was relevant.

But there is a big however to add into the mix. It was crafted well, but I wouldn’t consider myself as engaged with the plot as you might expect considering how well I said it was written. I appreciated it, yes, but I didn’t drool over it or spend five hours in one day reading it; that’s why it took a month to read.

Was this kind of fantasy book just not my taste? Maybe not. It’s like how there’s foods you like, and then foods you love. This book certainly wasn’t the literary version of fires for me.

But I’m not here to put you off.

Character I Loved

Ah, Numair. Charming Numair. He was in such a highly awed position as a mage and later a mentor, but he was so down to earth. I could just imagine thousands of different pleasant conversations I could have with him, and he’d never provide something boring nor something professional.

Character I Loved To Hate

This is probably the one character in the whole book that was written bad. Zhaneh Bitterclaws, the leader of the Stormwings, was revolting. Her existence was corny, and I had trouble believing the characters took her seriously. She was an adequate threat, at best. Her dialogue came out of children’s TV, squawking about karma and suffering. It would have been better if we at least knew her motives, but there was no evidence as to why she was involved in any of the plot instead of just serving as an obstacle.

Favourite Chapter

This goes to Chapter 3: The Hawk. The development in Daine’s character – her dedication and fading optimism – was beautifully written here. She truly shone here.

Favourite Serious Quote

“The person who commits an action is the one responsible for it, not the people he commits the action upon.”

Why am I so drawn to universally relevant quotes?

Favourite Not So Serious Quote

“But you didn’t point, or make circles, or chant anything-“

He shrugged. “Some people need those things. I don’t.”

She gasped at his arrogance. “Well, excuse me for breathing!”

I live for the chemistry between Daine and Numair. Those two make the entire book. And also, this is totally the feeling of living in a shadow, right?

Overall Verdict

A quality work that wasn’t wild, but still magical.

Wild Magic gets a score of 4/5.

Yours in writing


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