Tempests and slaughter by Tamora Pierce

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The Numair Chronicles book 1. Lothian, 2018. ISBN 9780734418678
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Magic, Wizards, Sorcery, Puberty. Arram Draper is the youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, and his gifts are so great that he is constantly being put into higher classes with older students. When he meets Varice, a clever girl with kitchen magic, and Ozorne, the left-over prince, he finds two friends who help him fit in and the three of them form a bond that will have far reaching consequences.
In this long, slow moving and absorbing story of the boy who will become the great mage Numar Salmalin, featured in Pierce's previous Tortall stories (Song of the Lionness series and The immortals series), the reader follows the schooling of the three friends. It is fascinating to see the growth of Arram's skills and beliefs and follow his encounters with gods, a sunbird and the friends that he makes among the gladiators and creatures in the river. His curiosity and well-meaning nature will endear him to the reader, who will empathise with his feelings about slavery and follow his ability as a healer and water wizard with great interest. Meanwhile Ozorne is schooled in the magic of warfare and the reader knows that danger will follow from that, while Varice is shown as a caring attractive girl who has great social and culinary skills.
I had read the books about Alanna (Song of the Lionness series) many years ago, and found the story of Arram so fascinating that I immediately borrowed the four books in The immortals series to find out about Arram (Numar) as a grown man.
Tempests and slaughter can be read as a stand alone story, and fans of the books originally set in Tortall will especially welcome this new series about a favourite character. Books by Tamora Pierce are must reads for any fantasy lover.
Pat Pledger