05/25/2004 Entry: "THE REALMS OF THE GODS -- rebekah"
I debated on whether to post this to the group, since it is the fourth book in a four-book set, but thought why not. I know other people here enjoy YA.
THE REALMS OF THE GODS is the final book in Tamora Pierce's Immortals Quartet. In the first three books, Daine goes from a confused near-feral girl to a powerful wild magic wielder. She discovers the ability to directly communicate with any animal, as well as shapechange into them. Daine has come into her power at a time when greedy humans have broken the barrier that protected the human world from the world of the immortals - creatures from dragons to harpies to hypogriffs to giant spider-people. Immortals are formed of myth and never die unless killed. Some of the immortals are friendly, some indifferent, but a lot are inimical to humans. Daine and her new-found friends/family are fighting in an ever escalating war with evil immortals and their human allies.
At the beginning of book 4, Daine is travelling with her teacher and mentor, the legendary sorcerer Numair, when they are ambushed. They are saved when they are yanked into the realm of the gods by old friends and family. After initial relief, they realize they are now stuck in this realm while their friends are fighting desperate battles back home. Now they have to travel through hostile gods and a bizarre and dangerous landscape to find the dragons, who they know will have no interest in helping them. Daine is regularly tormented with true visions of the chaos and death back home. As they travel, Daine comes to realize that her feelings towards her mentor are much more than friendship. Numair himself has been in love with Daine for a long time, but since he is substantially older than her as well as being her teacher, utterly refuses to admit it. Eventually they make it back to the human world just in time for the final gigantic battle. Only after both of them are sure the other is dead do they admit their feelings.
The Immortals Quartet isn't my favorite Pierce series (Daine gets a bit _too_ powerful) but it's fun, fast, engrossing reading, with complex issues that aren't easily solved and people that aren't easily classified and undergo real change. Pierce brings in a wide range of mythological creatures, but doesn't overwhelm you with the need to get every last sphinx and unicorn in there. In particular, the darkings - tiny ink-blobs with unknown loyalties - are great. I just reread these because they have recently been released in hardcover for the first time with gorgeous covers, so of course I had to have them! (They are still available in mass-market.) --rebekah