I just finished listening to a full-cast audio version of Wild Magic, by Tamora Pierce. This is the first book in Pierce's Immortals quartet, which is a follow-on series to her Song of the Lioness quartet. I had previously listened to another Tamora Pierce book (Circle Of Magic #1 : Sandry's Book), and I really didn't see what all the fuss was about. But I liked Wild Magic much more than I expected to. It's the story of 13-year-old Daine, an orphan with an unusual gift for communicating with animals, living in a land where many people have magical abilities.
Daine actually seems to be part animal: creatures flock to her, defend her, and will do just about anything for her. Sometimes, in fact, she fears losing her human self, because she bonds so completely with animals. Despite her abilities, Daine is a vulnerable young girl. She's ashamed of her common upbringing and the fact that she doesn't have the usual "gift" of magic, and she mourns her lost family. Her animal friends keep her grounded, however, and she has a blunt, unique voice that gradually wins over human friends, too.
Through her gift with animals, Daine gets a job as an assistant horse mistress for the kingdom of Tortall. There she is trained in her type of "wild magic" by mage Numair, and uses her gift to help Tortall to defend itself from enemies. And enemies abound, as a rival kingdom begins a series of stealthy attacks, drawing on the power of strange immortal creatures. Daine slowly finds her place among the people of Tortall, but finds everything she now cares for threatened by these attacking immortal creatures.
The full-cast audio of this book is excellent. Daine's voice is perfect, usually pleasant and young, but becoming almost strained when her friends are threatened, or when she has to yell to get attention. When Daine communicates with her mind, there's an echoing quality to the audio, so that it's clear that the words aren't spoken aloud. The voices of the other characters are, for the most part, distinct and recognizable (though I had trouble distinguishing between a couple of the women). I especially liked the voice of Sarge, a relatively minor character, but one who's voice stood out. I don't usually think that full cast audios are necessary, but I did enjoy this one.
Overall, I thought that Wild Magic was an engaging story, featuring several strong characters, and detailed relationships between the characters. Tortall is a fully realized world, and I look forward to visiting again.
Book: Wild Magic (Immortals)
Author: Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Original Publication Date:
Age Range: Young Adult
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.