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Coming straight from the Song of the Lioness series, it may be hard to believe that any protagonist could live up to the standards that Alanna set. Daine, however, is arguably an even better, more interesting character to follow through the Immortals series. She’s fiercely independent, thanks to the traumas in her past, and I find it hard to believe that anyone would not be envious of her wild magic and ability to communicate with the animals around her.
I love that starting a new series in this universe doesn’t mean having to forget about all the characters beloved from the previous one. Checking in with Alanna, George, Thayet, and Jon (just to name a few), several years after the completion of Lioness Rampant. Having even a glimpse into the lives they’ve lived and the outstanding people they’ve become feels like an excellent throwback to the Song of the Lioness. Outshining this is how incredible the new cast of characters in this book are. Onua and Daine make an incredible team from the first chapter, the Queen’s Riders are full of unique, interesting people, from Sarge to Miri and Evin, and Numair is as good as it gets in a mage, teacher, and friend. Add on the introduction of immortals and wild magic and everything feels new and shiny in a familiar setting.
Daine is introduced as a young girl, grieving for her family and tortured by her past and fears for her sanity. She has a knack with animals which is sometimes uncanny, and she keeps to herself, guarding her secrets. As she spends time with Onua and is introduced to her world and her friends, she starts to relax and to trust, especially when Numair approaches her about her wild magic and how he could help her to control it. Even with everything changing in her life, seemingly for the better, she struggles to let her guard down and let anyone fully into the horrors that have taken place in her not-so-distant past.
I loved every page of this book. Daine’s magic is unique to the Tortall universe we’ve already learned so much about and it opens a new dimension of depth and interest, especially with the new immortals appearing with no warning and no explanation. So much of the upcoming series is teased in this first book and it reminded me of how much I love the Immortals series. Daine is an incredibly kind and sweet character, despite the pain inflicted upon her in the past, and this is reflected so clearly in the way she interacts with the animals around her. While it takes her a little longer to warm up to the humans around her, she is an honest and loyal friend. I’m so excited to start Wolf-Speaker because I know from experience that this series only gets better in the next instalment.
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