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Children's LiteratureBook III of Tamora Pierce's reissued "The Immortals" quartet finds the young heroine Daine part of a diplomatic mission to the enemy realm of Carthak. Now an attractive and mostly ladylike fifteen, she has been included among the luminaries because of her wild magic gift-the ability to commune with and sometimes take on the shape of animals (all par with Pierce's fantasies.) It seems the Emperor Orzone has an entire aviary filled with sick birds. But wait-first Daine impetuously leaps from the royal barge to save a tiny monkey from drowning. With Zek now added to her personal menagerie of animal sidekicks (which includes the dragon, Kitten) it's on to the palace. Here the plot stalls amidst courtly intrigues until Daine finally gets to prove her prowess and save the day in a denouement that has her unseating the nasty emperor in favor of his nicer nephew. Along the way she also manages to completely destroy the opulent palace with the aid of a museum full of resuscitated dinosaurs (don't ask.) Book I is still the best. 2003 (orig. 1995), Atheneum, Ages 12 up.
— Kathleen Karr