Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
Published by Simon Pulse on June 1st 2005
Series: The Immortals #2
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Young Adult, Young Adult Fantasy
Length: 344 pages Source: Amazon
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When humans start cutting down trees and digging holes in peaceful Dunlath Valley, the wolves know that something is wrong. They send a messenger to the only human who will listen -- Daine, a fourteen-year-old girl with the unpredictable power of wild magic. Daine and her closest companions heed the wolves' cry for help. But the challenge they are about to face in the valley is greater than they can possibly imagine...
If someone asks me what my favorite books were when I was younger, why I want to be a writer, why I love fantasy or why I still – as a 25 year old adult working in Finance – have an imagination, all fingers must be pointed at Tamora Pierce. I started reading her books when I was 9 or 10, and they have stayed with me and I am happy to keep up with her writing even now, and I have gone back a re-read her series many times. Pierce is a world builder, and an excellent one at that, and even though Daine is fourteen in this novel, it is easy to fall into her world.
The Immortals was the first series I read by Pierce, and relatively unique in its storytelling as the knights are side stories and her training is one-on-one and more nomadic, unlike the Circle of Magic series. Wolf Speaker is fun because Daine begins to fall into her abilities as a Wild Mage and finds a few fun surprises. As this book is written for children and not angst-ridden teens or scrutinizing adults, the tone is relatively light and her troubles are few as she adapts to the world around her and her abilities. Additionally, Pierce gives the underlying message of the importance of respecting the natural world around us and not succumbing to greed at any cost.
This gets three stars because Daine drives me nuts. She’s very emotional and is written that way purposefully – the characters around her also get exasperated with her. Her abilities are interesting, the little dragon Kitten is interesting, the story is a bit light (as aforementioned – children’s book), her teacher Numair is interesting, but Daine takes a little bit of patience at times, like listening to a self-righteous, whiny pre-teen (appropriately so) and I think perhaps the intentionality of this tied with my reaction just sort of goes to show how adept of a writer Pierce is….
My recollection of the series is that Wolf Speaker was my least favorite of the four and I look forward to Emperor Mage.