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Tempests and Slaughter follows Arram Draper and his friends Varrice and Ozorne as they begin life at the mage school of the Imperial University of Cathak.

When I was younger I loved Harry Potter but I remember wishing that we found out more about the day to day life at Hogwarts and the classes our young heroes went to, rather than focussing solely on the overarching storyline of defeating You-Know-Who. Tempests and Slaughter fulfils my wish but also shows me why it’s a bad idea for a novel – quite frankly it’s dull. The entire book feels like 465 pages of padded filler – from copy pasted versions of Arram’s timetable I found myself subconsciously skipping over to over detailed exchanges that did nothing to further the plot. I was completely ready to forgive Tempests and Slaughter if, in the last 10% of the book or so a massive event had happened to tie everything together and set up the series as a whole. This doesn’t happen however, and the book completely fizzles out at the end. There is a wider political plot in there somewhere but it gets completely overshadowed and there’s a few interesting moments, but not enough to justify an entire book.

I am new to Tamora Pierce’s books but I was expecting great things from her reputation. I understand that Arram is an important character in another series and this is an origin story but it still needs to be interesting in its own right. Perhaps the smaller exchanges mean more if you know more about how Arram is later in life but it’s not enough for a new reader.

Again this may be because it’s a side series to another one but as a first time reader I also didn’t really fully understand the magic system. I couldn’t picture the signs they were using and I didn’t understand the rules which for a magic-based fantasy series is pretty unforgiveable. I also understand this book is classed as young adult but myself, and my younger self was fully cringing at the accounts of Arram coming into puberty and the frequent mentions of his ‘member’ – it just jarred with the rest of the book.

Overall perhaps if you’ve read the other series that Tempests and Slaughter is an origin to, it might be more interesting reading about the day to day exchanges of Arram and his friends. As a new reader though there is not enough plot to justify a 465 page book and what little there is certainly didn’t inspire me to pick up the next one. Thank you to NetGalley & HarperCollins UK – HarperVoyager for a copy of the ARC in exchange for a (very) honest review.

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