[Yeah, I broke down and bought the hardcover book. Even read it through my hurting thumbs and bedtimes.]
The title promises all sorts of gore, but to my mind, it doesn't deliver. Which is probably ok since lots of readers under twelve will demand to read it, especially familiar with Pierce's earlier books. Which means nine and ten-year-olds will be reading it. Many young good readers demand syntactically difficult reading matter than their years might suggest.
Oh, there are gladiators maiming and killing each other, murder, and other mayhem, but the telling of the tale foregos the the graphic descriptions. Most of it also occurs off stage, and the book itself is more concerned with mending than slashing. The book even casually includes light sexual references. At the same time, it doesn't feel like Pierce is pulling punches as you read.
My problem is I'm an adult, even, very close to being an old oldie. Yet I recently immersed myself in Crenshaw, a middle grade novel for ten year olds. And, I pushed through a 400+ page book in about three days, in spite of my thumbs, thinking the book was tame. I guess what I'm complaining about is the almighties deciding the book is for 12 to 17 year olds. My kids would have read the books when they were 10 and will still read it when I toss it into the family lending library. Why are there age boundaries on innoucuous material? [Yeah, I know. Guidelines. But the subtext gibbered at me while I read.]
Tempests and Slaughter lacks the tension of Pierce's female warrior novels. This doesn't mean that nothing happens during Araam Draper's first years at the mage university in Carthak. The tension of good storytelling is there in spades, but it's more intellectual than brawny. [I resisted the temptation of saying "brainy".]
Read a sample and other people's reviews on
My Writing Rut
Am still editing On the Run. Guess I won't be done until April sometime. I still have copy edits to go, too, and the decision on how I'm to publish the novel.
While I'm working, I'm going to take a holiday. I've been hankering to re-read some of Pierce's other books. I've decided I'm going to read the quartets from the Lioness series to the Protector of the Small. Sorry I can't sent you a postcard from Tortall.