In the tenth chapter of Emperor Mage, the only way I can cope with metric ton of feelings I have been given is to create a list, so just know that going into this review. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Emperor Mage.
Chapter Ten: Steel Feather
- The sheer arrogance that Daine displays at the beginning of this chapter didn’t creep me out. Instead, I saw a woman determined to avenge her best friend’s death, to stop this whole system of violence and dehumanization, and to tear apart the spoils of imperialism. It’s weird what hindsight can do to a person, you know? I still think that chapter nine is horrifically unsettling, don’t get me wrong. It’s a very intentional thing that Tamora Pierce. She shocks us with Numair’s death, and then takes us immediately into a revenge scenario, as if this book suddenly became Carrie. (I really love Stephen King, y’all, so don’t be surprised if I reference him.)
- She has no patience for the soldiers and mages in her way during this chapter, and the only thing I want to see from this book is Daine at least considering the weight of her actions. People died because of her. Granted, they’re not people I am particularly sympathetic towards. They defended a slave-driving emperor who purposely sought out war to make himself richer. Zero sympathy. Still, this chapter has the first deaths inherently caused by Daine in a more personal way. I can’t forget that the kraken drowned a bunch of people at the end of Wild Magic, but that wasn’t quite as direct as this here. Daine raised those bones with expressed interest in destroying everything here. She doesn’t feel anything for Chioké at all. Not that she should, you know??? I just mean that she doesn’t really react to his death. She’s so invested in her mission that it doesn’t even affect her.
- At the same time, it’s touching to me that she takes the time to stop, thank each dinosaur that fought for her, and bid them back to their world. My heart hurts.
- By the time Daine called on the bats for help, I realized just how powerful Daine was. She had so much at her disposal! All the time she spent in Carthak helping the animals or talking to them was now paying off. It’s a neat parallel to the end of Wolf-Speaker, though the context is much, much different. She used her power before to buy time, to distract, to delay; now, she’s using it explicitly for destruction. Like, who the hell is going to fuck with Daine after this? Pretty sure she just upstaged Alanna, y’all.
- Another bit of brilliance: Daine becomes a hyena, which helps the prophecy about Ozorne come true. It’s amazing.
- Of course, a big surprise is the respect that Daine earns from Rikash. He expresses regret that Numair died, and then he agrees to take Zek safely to kitten. Like, think back to how Daine reacted to Stormwings back in Wild Magic when she and Onua ran into them. Even in terms of how they’re perceived by the audience, this is a massive change! Oh god, I am so satisfied with the character development that both Daine and the Stormwings get in this regard. Bless.
- I had a blast with the way Pierce narrated the entire sequence where Daine was a hyena. She’s consistently done such a fantastic job writing from the point of view of animals and Daine as an animals. You get the sense that you’re right there, especially when she calls attention to details that we, as humans, wouldn’t normally pick up on. In this case, the sense of smell that a hyena has is vastly different not just to us, but to the way wolves used smell in Wolf-Speaker. We’re able to appreciate the fact that Ozorne has layers of smells, you know? That’s amazing to me!
- This chapter is more violent/gory than I expected, especially the battlefield scene. Eek!
- I was not disappointed with Daine’s showdown with Ozorne, not in the least bit. Again, Ozorne’s major flaw is that he underestimates everyone around him. However, I totally missed who would exploit this. I assumed that the title of the chapter referred to Ozorne using the feather Rikash gave him, but lord, that did not prepare me in the slightest for what was going to happen. I should have know that the Rikash would get his revenge for what happened to Barzha and Hebakh. In this case, he tricks Ozorne into using the feather, WHICH TURNS HIM INTO A STORMWING. HE CAN NO LONGER RULE OVER HUMANS OR USE MAGIC. IT IS SO BRILLIANT. The powers that got him where he was are stripped away from him! HUZZAH.
- “You forgot our earliest lessons, Ozorne,” said a voice behind Daine. HALK;SDFJAS NOW I KNOW WHO SAID THIS HOW DID I NOT CATCH THIS.
- Rikash expressing gratitude for Daine… lord, y’all, a Stormwing has given me feelings. h e l p
- “In the gateway stood Numair Salamalín.”
- Honestly, just watch the video for this. Just watch me squirm and nearly fall out of my chair. I didn’t understand this until Numair had to explain it to me. CAN YOU BLAME ME. Pierce sold Numair’s death to me completely. It helps that Kaddar and Varice actually thought he died. I COMPLETELY FORGOT THAT HE COULD MAKE A SIMULACRUM. Oh god, he’s alive, I AM SO RELIEVED. And I have an explanation for the body in Lindhall’s room!!! OH SHIT.
- “I thought they’d killed you. I lost my temper.” DO YOU THINK SO, DAINE. DO YOU. Oh my god, the way she says this, she sounds so childlike in the most adorable way possible.
- Where did the Graveyard Hag take the immortals??? I assume they got transported back to the Divine Realms, right? DON’T TELL ME YET, just thinking out loud.
- I know it’s cheesy, but reading the badger complimenting Daine is meaningful, y’all. It is! He’s so bitter and mad all the time that it’s unlike him just to be nice.
- Oh god, I love the fact that Kaddar was behind so much of this. I am so glad there’s a redemption story in this for him. Now, he better dismantle his father’s slave trade immediately. I’m curious if he was just acting when he purported to support slavery or if that’s something he’ll have to change about himself.
- Y’all, it is so great that the Graveyard Hag walks off with Kaddar, listing all the things she wants. I definitely think she’s kind of amazing? I have a better understanding of who she is (and her faults, too), so I’m comfortable with the fact that my opinions have changed regarding her.
- – We animal goes will see to it that they reach their proper homes unhurt. It is the least we can do. – YEAH, THAT IS THE LEAST YOU CAN DO GIVEN WHAT’S HAPPENED HERE.
- Oh god, what a satisfying end.
I’m ready for you, epilogue. I AM SO READY.
Mark Links Stuff
- I am now on tour!!! I have 26 events spread out across the eastern HALF of the U.S. and Canada. They are all free and all-ages. Come see speak about the Mark Does Stuff Universe and read terrible fanfiction live!
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- Commissions are still open while I am on tour! There may be a day or two delay to get them done, but I am accepting them graciously to help fund my tour!