Wild Magic (The Immortals, Book 1)
by Tamora Pierce, read by Full Cast Audio
8 CDs – 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Themes: / Fantasy / Magic / Wizardry / Youth / Magical Creatures / Horses /
In Wild Magic’s Book One: The Immortals, Tamora Pierce has created a cast of strong women and made a world in which they fit naturally. The whole book takes place from the point of view of Diane (Carmen Viviano-Crafts), a young girl escaping from a dark secret in the highlands. Daine hires on with a horsetrader, Ouna (Raquel Starace) How delightful to meet a female horsetrader in a fantasy novel. Too often, such strong female characters overplay their roles but each of the characters in Wild Magic seems balanced and very real. So it troubles me that I felt like Ms. Pierce was playing games by withholding information that Daine surely knew, especially because she does such a delightful job at inviting me into Daine’s thoughts.
I do not mind the tension she tried to create by keeping Daine’s “dark secret” from me at the beginning, but after a time, it began to wear on me. I spent chapters hearing Daine’s thoughts about how she had to escape her past, without ever knowing what that past was. I finally discovered that she had gone mad and was afraid that it would happen again. Once I knew that, I was able to really worry with Daine. But poor Daine wouldn’t tell her friends what was bothering her. While I can understand her reluctance, as the book continued she was given no reason to continue hiding her secret and plenty of reasons to ask for help. When she finally does reveal her past in all its gory detail, Numair the Mage, basically says, “Oh, well I can fix that.” And does, in two sentences.
So, after all of that build up, Daine’s problem is solved with, almost literally, the wave of a magic wand.
In a similar vein, I listened to paragraphs of buildup as something was attacking the band of travellers over the water without having a clue about what it was. I knew everyone was preparing for an attack. I knew people were frightened, but I had no idea why. It turned out to be a gryphon that Daine was able to befriend.
With that said, the world of Wild Magic is fascinating. I am curious about which of the threads in this volume will carry over to the next books. Many of the scenes were resonant with emotion, I just wish I hadn’t had to guess what was happening in so many of the others.
Full Cast Audio does a fantastic job of bringing Ms. Pierce’s book to audio life. In particular, I need to note Daniel Bostick who played Numair the Mage. His voice built pictures in my head every time his character spoke.
Posted by Mary Robinette Kowal