Mark Reads ‘Emperor Mage’: Chapter 7

In the seventh chapter of Emperor Mage, Daine demonstrates her new power accidentally, saves Varice from rat attacks, and does the sweetest fucking thing ever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Emperor Mage.

Chapter Seven: Waking Dreams

Oh god, let’s talk about the three big reveals/plot twists that chapter seven gives us because THEY ARE SUCH HUGE MOMENTS. Lord, how? How am I going to make it through this book? OH, THERE’S STILL ANOTHER ONE AFTER THIS. Everything is Daine, and nothing hurts, y’all.


Initially, I was disappointed that Daine didn’t want to stay behind with Kitten to listen to the conversation that Numair, Kaddar, and Lindhall were going to have. I WANTED TO KNOW THEIR SECRETS. I wantED to know why Kaddar wass totally okay discussing such things with someone who was essentially banished from Carthak!!! That seemed like such a huge change in his character, and it was going to happen in another room.

Instead, Pierce takes this story in a direction that’s both pleasing and surprising. Daine ends up having to tell Kaddar and Lindhall that she now has the power to raise the bones/carcasses of the dead. It was funny to watch these academics try to nerd out one another to provide an explanation, but I was more drawn to what this meant for the story. First of all, we have characters being open and honest to one another, and GOD, that is so refreshing. Granted, Pierce acknowledges that they have limitations, in part because they’re so busy, but mostly due to Ozorne’s willingness to spy on anyone in his empire. Even in the case of the Graveyard Hag, we know Daine wants to tell her friends what’s going on with her, but she’s physically prevented from doing so. This shows me that these people are aware of how precarious a situation they’re in, and they want to keep one another apprised in case hell breaks loose. And that’s just smart planning! It’s best that they know as much as they can within reason about one another and where they are so that they can use this knowledge to keep themselves safe.

That being said, I still don’t get why the Graveyard Hag refuses to let Daine say anything about her. Even when I take into account what happens next, I’m so confused! It’s not like knowledge of the Hag could have stopped the rat attack, and the Hag is a goddess. She can do whatever she wants as far as I understand it. How is Daine going to derail anything she has planned? I DON’T GET IT, Y’ALL.

Rat Party!

A disaster. This is going to turn into a disaster, and I’m betting it happens within the next two days. At a banquet that Varice hosts, the Graveyard Hag lets forth a veritable PLATOON OF RATS from inside the very cake that Varice helped make. The prank – if it can even be called that – comes across as a portent to the guests. Understandably so! Though I’m not to sure the other guests are even aware of the Graveyard Hag goddess anyway, I suppose that doesn’t matter. A bunch of rats spilling out of a cake shaped as the royal palace? That sounds like a death omen to me. This isn’t even the most shocking part of this scene, however:

The man who’d broken her concentration was still yelling. “Majesty, even you can’t continue to ignore the portents! You must –”

Ozorne pointed; emerald fire lashed to wrap around the speaker, a Carthaki nobleman. Emerald flames leaped from his skin. He had time for one agonized shriek before the fire ate him up.


Hey, was this not enough? How about Daine going all DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE on those rats? It’s unnerving to me, despite that I know Daine controls those rats for a reason: She is trying to show the Graveyard Hag that she cannot treat her or other people this way. I don’t even think I could come up with another way she could have dealt with this situation. Still, the fact that Daine channels anger here seems monumentally significant to me. It has never really happened before. Daine gets irritated and mad, sure, but she has always kept that separate from her magic. I DUNNO, I AM JUST CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THIS MIGHT LEAD TO.

Waking Dreams

Y’all. Y’all. Amidst portents, raising the dead, knowing the gods are going to rain down hellfire on Carthak, and the endless confusion and terror of trying not to get killed in this place, Daine takes time out of her day to go to the animal menagerie and give these creatures waking dreams of the lives they might live if they were not in captivity. I simply cannot with Daine. It is such a noble, selfless, and beautiful thing to do, and I really believe it represents what Daine stands for. And look, it’s not that Alanna wasn’t a wonderfully moral and altruistic person, but Daine is a different kind of protagonist than her, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pointing this out. I guess I relate to Daine a lot more because I also had to run away from a broken home and from trauma, and I, too, just want to stop that pain in other creatures. So reading about her giving these animals the waking dreams just gets me emotional??? I DON’T KNOW HOW ELSE TO DESCRIBE THIS. Do you understand me?

These aren’t the only three things that happen in this chapter. I still want to know what the hell that thing is Lindhall is hiding from Ozorne. What else does he keep secret in his office? And what did he, Kaddar, and Numair talk about? For now, though, I’ll just sit here and be mad at another cliffhanger since clearly, authors need to design their books specifically for my analytic process. Right? Right.

H E L P.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– 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!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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