When Daine is sent to Carthak as part of a Tortallan peace delegation, she finds herself in the middle of a sticky political situation. She doesn’t like the Carthaki practice of keeping slaves, but it’s not her place to say anything—she’s only there to heal the emperor’s birds. Her worries only expand once she learns that her own power has grown in a dark and mysterious way.
As the peace talks stall, Daine puzzles over Carthak’s two-faced Emperor Ozorne. How can he be so caring with his birds, and so cruel to his people? Daine is sure he’s planning something—a terrible, power-hungry scheme. And she knows that she must fight this powerful Emperor Mage; the life of her beloved teacher is at risk.
...the prince replied, his tone superior. "If you had a croc after you in the water, you wouldn't be so quick to stand up for them,"
"They came after you personally?" She couldn't see this painted fellow doing anything that might wrinkle his clothes.
"Well, no, but everyone says they do,"
Someday I must read this scholar Everyone, she thought as she bit her tongue to keep from giving a rude answer. He seems to have written so much— all of it wrong.
4.5 stars, rounded up
Set in Carthak, Emperor Mage is an excellent departure from the expected in the Immortals series. Not only does Daine get to interact with a number of new, exotic animals, but we get to see some interesting politics, an intemperate emperor mage, and a meddling god. Whoever invited Alanna to peace talks, by the way, has obviously never met her. You don’t bring a trained warrior with an infamously short temper to sit through hours of minutiae. But best of all, in my opinion, is the glimpse into Numair’s past – both the good and the bad – with the introduction of Lindhall and Varice.
The descriptions of Carthak could not be more contradictory or complicated. Going into Emperor Mage, we’ve been conditioned to believe the worst. With the release of immortals into the mortal realm for nefarious purposes, the attacks on Pirate’s Swoop and throughout Tortall, and the planned coup in Dunlath Valley, all orchestrated by Carthak’s emperor mage, sending a convoy of Corus’ most important people into the eye of the hurricane for peace talks seems like a terrible idea. And that’s all without even mentioning the fact that Carthak is a slave nation. However, as soon as you get into the university, Carthak becomes a scholar’s paradise. The number of resources and the studies and research taking place there seems incredible, it’s just too bad they’re contributing to such a corrupt city and society.
An exciting story with a bit of mystery, a lot of excitement and some new characters. Zek, Lindhall, Kaddar, and Bonedancer are all excellent additions to this already incredible cast.