In the fourth chapter of The Realms of the Gods, Numair and Daine begin their journey through a bizarre world, and they learn just how serious the gods’ war with the Chaos realm is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Realms of the Gods.
Chapter Four: Travelers
Oh my god OH MY GOD.
- So, if you didn’t read my review for Blackout yesterday, allow me to repeat myself. As of the day I’m writing this, it’s been nearly SIX GODDAMN WEEKS since I read the previous chapter of this book. I wrote every post that went up during the Mark Does Stuff tour back in February (so that I didn’t have to stress about writing during tour), which means that an ungodly amount of time has passed since I was last in this fictional realm. I mean, I could have read more, but since I now have video commissions attached to all these chapters, I technically can’t just sit and read more without reading them on video. SO I DIDN’T DO IT. Oh, the pain, y’all. I have been sitting on that awful, unintended cliffhanger for WEEKS. This is the definition of suffering.
- It is a lovely treat to finally get back to this. I’ve since met Tamora Pierce at my Syracuse event, which was one of the best days of my life, and the experience has left me renewed and inspired to keep reading her books. And I just read this chapter and by gods, it’s yet another reminder of how much I love this, how surprising and thrilling it is, and what a wonderful privilege it is to get to experience these books with all of you.
- SO LET’S DO IT YES.
- Chapter four opens with the badger whining about Weiryn smelling. He is a badger. He smells. Oh god, animals being bigots to each other. What a good start!
- Oh shit, Sarra is bound to Weiryn’s lands for a century. Now I’m curious: What would she do after that century? Would she get her own lands? Are there promotions in the Divine Realms?
- I’m fascinated with how well thought out this entire world is! Any creature created in the Divine Realms serves itself. It’s quite literally a land of gods, and I love that.
- I have so many feelings about Weiryn’s gifts to Daine and Numair. He’s portrayed as a very serious and stuffy sort of father, but those traits both help show us what a big deal it is that he gives Daine the most perfect bow imaginable, or that he offers Numair a staff that is perfectly attuned to him.
- It’s clear to me that this book is turning into one that is specifically about a journey. It’s one of the most common tropes in fantasy (the heroes go on a dangerous and mysterious journey through strange lands!), and sweet babies, it’s pulled off so well. We’ve got all the weirdness that comes along with the Divine Realms, but something is just so hilarious to me as Weiryn explains these things so casually. Like, by the way, don’t drink from a body of water called Temptation Lake. The gods have a lake in their realm that tempts them. LITERALLY. Then there’s Long Drop Gorge. And the First Bridge. And Stonemaze. And I love these names, I love the strangeness of this all, and I’m so excited for what’s in the future for Numair and Daine.
- “Take no fruits without asking the bush or tree. If you don’t, you might spend a century with wild pigs trying to dig you up by the roots. Blackberries in particular have a very nasty streak.” THIS IS A MATTER-OF-FACT STATEMENT PRESENTED IN THIS BOOK. Oh my god, berries can get revenge on the people who eat them. This is pure joy, y’all.
- All this being said, I think I’m terrified of the Sea of Sand. That doesn’t sound like an adventure. I like that Weiryn uses the word “folly” here because it so properly conveys how foolish he thinks this is. That’s not to suggest this isn’t foolish; something this risky is bound to be impractical. But I also think it speaks to Daine’s dedication to her world. She doesn’t even second guess her decision to suffer through the Divine Realms in order to help the people of Tortall. That’s kind of beautiful to me.
- NOPE. BROAD FOOT MADE A POUCH IN NUMAIR’S CLOTHING. STOP THE CUTE OPPRESSION.
- “I promise. We – we’ll catch up on the time them bandits took from us.” No, I’m not crying, no, not at all, just scratching my eye, definitely not tearing up.
- It really is astounding to me that I understand just how jarring and important it is that Daine cannot hear the creatures around her. I have often brought up moments like this for past reviews of other books because this is one of my favorite things an author does. I love when a world or a character (or both!) is built up so completely and fully that I can appreciate scenes like this. After three books with Daine, we’ve come to accept that her magical sense of hearing is just a part of her daily life. So when it’s suddenly of no use to her because she can’t hear any living creatures, we know why this unsettles her.
- The First Tree. THERE ARE GODS FOR EACH TYPE OF TREE. Incredible. Gods, I really love this idea.
- Okay, I feel like the darkings are both super obvious and unendingly mysterious at the same time. They have to be connected to Ozorne, and I’m pretty sure he released them. That’s got to be what he’s using to spy on her. At the same time, they appear to be being independent of Ozorne, and perhaps that’s something the ex-emperor hasn’t considered. The darkings still follow Daine, which is probably on command, but they express joy and comfort towards her. Do they like her? What the hell does that scene where Numair appears excited after a darking interaction mean? I DON’T GET IT!
- I am here for everything regarding the Chaos realm and Uusoae. Y’all, it’s just so unexpected! I never could have guessed that Tamora Pierce would introduce a third realm and do so in this way! It’s incredibly surreal and disturbing, and she doesn’t care. I think that’s one of the (many) reasons I’ve responded to The Immortals so positively. This quartet honestly feels like an author realizing they can do whatever they want with their story, and then doing it. It’s refreshing, it’s exciting, and it’s a joy to read.
- Come on, the dream sequence where that bizarre bubble of a “strange liquid” bursts and butterflies swirl about is INCREDIBLE. I would love to see fanart of that.
- So, Daine now knows that Ozorne is behind what’s going on. (Granted, as I mentioned, it’s been nearly six weeks since I read the previous three chapters, so I can’t actually remember if Daine knew Ozorne was involved with the horrific attacks on Tortall. Pardon me if I’m just being dense! I did go back and read my three reviews before this just to refresh my memory, but I’m a bit paranoid I’m going to forget some crucial detail.
- Yet Daine gets no time to deal with this because Numair is bespelled by… something? I don’t believe it’s ever quite explained, but I initially assumed that he’d drank from Temptation Lake, and that was what was pulling him under. But upon a cursory examination of the facts, that doesn’t make sense. Numair is a powerful, strong mage; he doesn’t exactly seem susceptible to something so obvious, you know? Plus, he used magic to protect the camp. What the hell was going on?
- Real quick side note: I love that Pierce acknowledges that Daine mistakenly made herself a sea animal in a freshwater lake. That’s a neat detail.
- ANYWAY. HOW? HOW DID A MANIFESTATION OF THE CHAOS GOD SHOW UP? I realize that they were close to a chaos vent, but why did Uusoae choose to kidnap Numair and manifest as a lake god? Why Numair specifically? Was this a random attack meant to further lash out at the Divine Realms, or was he targeted?
- Oh god, so it’s ~destined~ that Uusoae will break free from her realm to bring the other realms into hers? CAUSING EVERYTHING TO DIE? This isn’t good. Don’t these characters have enough to deal with already??? TRAGEDY.
- Honestly, I’m bewildered by this book, and that’s a compliment. We’ve got Uusoae, Ozorne, the Divine Realms, and a whole lot of horror to deal with, and it’s only the fourth chapter. HOW? HOW IS ALL OF THIS PART OF THE SAME BOOK? Oh shit, y’all, I’m so unprepared.
Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am doing a live reading/Mark Does Stuff event at Borderlands Books on April 21st at 5pm. Come on out! I’ll have copies of my latest book to purchase and sign.
– 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!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!