cover image Tempests and Slaughter

Tempests and Slaughter

Tamora Pierce. Random House, $18.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-375-84711-0

In the intriguing first book of Pierce’s Numair Chronicles, set in the medieval fantasy world of her Tortall books, she provides an in-depth look into the magical education and youth of Arram Draper, who later becomes the powerful mage Numair Salmalín. At age 10, Arram is the youngest mage in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak. His raw talent or Gift is enormous and difficult for him to control; it both gets him into trouble and gets him noticed. He quickly makes friends with his roommate, prince Ozorne Tasikhe, and the lovely and kind Varice Kingsford. Although Pierce touches on weighty subjects including slavery and the environment, they’re balanced by the relatively lighthearted adventures of Arram and his new friends. She makes the most of the university setting, hinting at possible conflict ahead by way of Ozorne’s wish to avenge his father’s death. Pierce’s many fans will thrill to discover the backstory behind one of their favorite characters. Ages 12–up. Agent: Craig Tenney, Harold Ober Associates. (Feb.)