A new Tamora Pierce book! About the origins of Numair! YES! I waited SO ANXIOUSLY for this book to make its way through the line of holds at my library and get in my grabby hands, and I was rewarded. Tempests is classic Tamora Pierce. It's set in Carthak, not Tortall, but the themes and feel are exactly what I was expecting. I love diving back into my favorite fantasy worlds, and Tortall ranks right near the top. (It might be the top, I haven't sat down and attempted to rank them - that would probably be a futile effort!)
My only issue with the book, really, is that it feels like an introduction. I know it's the first part of a trilogy, but the rest isn't OUT YET! So I feel like I've read the first third of a story and now I have to wait. Tempests introduces a LOT of story threads, and resolves exactly none of them. It managed to do so without leaving us on a cliffhanger, though, so there's that, at least. I'm probably going to go re-read the books around Numair's adult life to tide me over until the rest of this trilogy comes out!
I think my favorite character overall was Enzi - he was hilarious and obstinate and I'm looking forward to the rest of his storyline.
I was surprised but pleased to see a gay couple as side characters - and that it wasn't mentioned the character was gay until his husband arrived on the scene. It wasn't a defining point of his character, his spouse just happened to be male. I've said it before, but I love seeing the change in fantasy - it's gone from “that's strange or scandalous” to “absolutely no big deal, people have differently-gendered partners.” It will be even lovelier once real society reaches that point!
Final verdict: Tempests and Slaughter was an excellent addition to Tortall, but if you like books that resolve their storylines, you might want to wait until the rest of the trilogy is published. If you can't wait, just expect that you won't get many answers from this first book!
You can find all my reviews at Goddess in the Stacks.