Immortals Book 3: Emperor Mage

Daine definitely goes on field trips a lot more than Alanna got to. The third book in her series takes place in Ancient Egypt Carthak, where King J has sent a peace delegation to negotiate with the Emperor Mage Ozorne despite all the shit he pulled in the last two books. Daine is ostensibly there to heal the Emperor’s sick parrots, but really the gods want to use her as an instrument of their displeasure with Ozorne. Specifically, the Graveyard Hag, patron god of Carthak. She’s an awesome cantankerous old woman who enjoys rats, hyenas, and raising the dead, a power which she briefly passes on to Daine.

Numair is also along on this mission, despite having fled Carthak years ago after betraying Ozorne in some vague way. It’s pretty obvious that Ozorne is still super-pissed, but Numair doesn’t worry about it because he has old girlfriends to fool around with, while jealously stopping Daine from having any kind of love connection with the teenage crown prince. Plus, there’s this moment, which, as Alanna’s BFF, I am just not going to stand for:

“Mithros bless. You look very pretty.”
Kitten chortled while Daine blushed. “You think so really?” she asked, feeling shy. “I know I don’t hold a candle to Alanna, or the queen–”
He held up a hand. “That isn’t strictly accurate. The Lioness is one of my dearest friends, but she is not an exemplar of female beauty. Years and experience have given her charm, and her eyes are extraordinary, but she is not beautiful. Queen Thayet is astoundingly attractive, it’s true, but you have your own–something.” He scrutinzed her. “You should wear blue more often. It brings out matching shades in your eyes.” (15)

Oh, Numair. Nothing makes girls like you more than explaining why they are not being “strictly accurate” about their looks. And is Alanna “not an exemplar of female beauty” because she is smart enough to spurn your creepster advances, unlike the 15-year-old you are currently perving on? It’s comments like these (and the nickname “sweetling” he uses on her towards the end) that give this book a creepy rating of 3 out of 5.

The Checklist

Animal Companion(s): Kitten (dragon baby), Zek (monkey)
Magical Bling: Silver Badger Claw
Love Interest(s): Prince Kaddar!
Song of the Lioness Character Sighting: Alanna, Gary, and Duke Gareth are all getting their diplomacy on!

The Play By Play

Chapter one: Guests in Carthak
The badger god is pissed that Daine is in Carthak because the gods are about to lay the smackdown on Ozorne. But, since she can’t leave, he gives her raising-the-dead powers. Duke Gareth repeats to Daine over and over to behave herself, but she ends up jumping into the river to save a monkey.

Chapter two: Imperial Welcome
Daine meets: Master Reed, Nuamir’s old magic teacher, Varice, Numair’s old girlfriend, and the Emperor. Emperor Ozornse is one suave cat who loves his jewelry. Daine heals his birds.

Chapter three: Hall of Bones
Everyone goes on a tour of the menagerie! Daine meets some hyenas who think the Emperor is hilarious, and then discovers the “Immortals” section of the zoo! She thinks it’s weird that there are Stormwings in cages here, even though Ozorne is allied with them. She has a confusing encounter with an old slave woman, and briefly brings a dinosaur skeleton to life in the hall of bones.

Chapter four: Strange Conversations
Lord Rikash, the head Stormwing from the last book, is here! He is full of sarcasm, and is shocked when Daine tells him there are stormwings in the menagerie! Apparently it’s the old stormwing queen the new king claimed to have killed. Daine meets some animal-trainer slaves from some animal-worshiping tribe who insist that she must be the child of a god. Rikash gives Ozorne a gift of one of his steel feathers, saying if he’s ever in peril, he should plunge it into his skin and he will be spirited away safely. Numair yells at Ozorne when he can’t find Daine one morning, and Ozorne is all “Yeah, it is totes sketchy that you are probs sleeping with her” It hurts because it’s true.

Chapter five: Palace Tour
Prince Kaddar takes Daine on a tour because the peace talks are le boring! They go to the temples, which are dusty and awful, even the one for the Graveyard Hag, patron god of Carthak. Daine looks at the Hag’s statue and GASP it is the OLD SLAVE WOMAN! Kaddar explains that Ozorne has forbidden anyone to give money to the temples when they could be paying it in taxes. No wonder the gods are pissed! Kaddar’s friends laugh at Daine because Tortall is so weak they need a woman as King’s Champion. Then Daine kicks their butts at archery. So she’s slightly full of girrrrrl power, but she’s no Alanna.

Chapter six: Carthaki Magecraft
Some statues of Ozorne get struck by lightning? A SIGN? Numair tells Kaddar “trifle with Daine, and I’ll trifle with YOUR FACE” and Kaddar is all “WTF, dude, we are just talking about animals, you are way weird.” The statue of Carthak’s founder runs away shouting “Woe”. A SIGN? The peace talks are not going well, because Ozorne apparently wants the Tortallan princess to be Kaddar’s child bride.

Chapter seven: Waking Dreams
Some rats jump out of a cake! Maybe a sign? The Graveyard Hag is all “I gave you my raising the dead power to deliver the smackdown on Ozorne!” Kaddar and Daine sneak into the menagerie at night.

Chapter eight: The Badger Returns
The animal tribesmen slaves are also sneaking into the menagerie to leave offerings to the immortals since they are scary. Daine goes early in the morning to visit the Emperor’s birds and finds the reason for their illness is they’re eating the lead paint. The Emperor invites her to eat breakfast with him, then poisons her with a date rape drug and locks her in a secret prison cell after explaining his plan of framing her for some slave rebellions as a reason to stop the peace talks. Since Numair will obvs come back for her, he will get to kill him and then start a war!

Chapter nine: Daine Loses Her Temper
Luckily Zek steals the key to her cell and sets her free. She secretly meets with Kaddar and the animal tribesmen slaves, and Kaddar tells her Numair was found and killed yesterday! Daine is PISSED and tells them to get all the good people out of the palace, because she is going to deliver a smackdown. She makes a deal with some rats for their wild magic and wakes up all the dinosaur skeletons with orders to destroy the entire palace.

Chapter ten: Steel Feather
The hyenas have escaped from the menagerie and are going to hunt Ozorne; Daine changes shape and joins them. They track him to the Immortal part of the menagerie where he attempts to use Rikash’s magical plot point feather. Surprise! It turns him into a stormwing! He flees from Lord Rikash (who shouts “Ozorne, my precious, where are you?”) and Numair is alive! It was just some magical copy they killed! The Graveyard Hag takes her raising the dead powers back.

Kaddar is emperor now, and Daine demands that he free some slaves, like the animal tribesmen. No one worries about where Ozorne has gotten to. It’s cool, I’m sure he won’t be back in the 4th book or anything.

Previously: Wolf-Speaker
Next: The Realm of the Gods

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