Tempests and Slaughter


There are some things that you have to enjoy as a kid to continue enjoying as an adult. My best example of this is to reference Christmas specials. Growing up my family watched the same specials every year, including the Grinch, Rudolph, Garfield, Frosty, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, among others.

Watching these specials for the first time as an adult is difficult if you have no warm memories or childhood attachment to them. They make no sense, are easily picked apart, and some of the themes are not as accepted in 2018 as they were in 1963. While I can see everyone’s point, I see watching them at least once as part of a holiday tradition, even if it’s only me keeping it.

When I picked up Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce, I did so because many around me said she was a queen in the world of YA fantasy. She was everyone’s childhood hero. The accolades across the first few pages of this book include names I trust like Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J Maas, Marie Lu, and Rachel Hartman. Authors whose books I loved, and so if they loved Pierce’s work, I most likely would as well.

Having not read any of her books when I was younger, it was difficult for me to see what was so mind blowing about this book. These characters have magic, they are more powerful than others their own age, and they are at school, which makes a lot of the story about sleeping, chores, classes, eating, and sleeping again. As a special bonus, the first few chapters gave me insight on the behavior of the main character’s penis awakening, which was odd but not surprising to find in a YA novel I guess?

There also wasn’t a HUGE EVENT to give the book a proper climax. It was like reading the journal of the main character if he cataloged all of his movements. I wanted to know more about the gods and what they kept warning was coming. Arram (the main character) has an affinity for water magic and meets the crocodile god, who gives him a small sunbird (stolen from another god) to watch over while he hunts for a gift to beg the god’s forgiveness with. I also expected that to come to a head, but it never did.

Perhaps if I had read her books when I was young, I would have more context for this book, or more patience for an author that I grew up loving. Coming to her stories as an adult was like sitting in a boat in the middle of a calm lake with no oars and no wind – relaxing, interesting scenery, but at the heart of it a boring, flat experience.

But again, I want to make the point that I am not saying the writing was bad or that young people would not enjoy this story. I think they would very much. But I think, as much as the husband thinks Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is ridiculous and nonsensical, coming to this as an adult prevents me from truly appreciating Pierce’s art. I’m just too old to get into it.