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Wild Magic
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Gr 5-7- In this exciting fantasy that includes some characters from Pierce's ``Song of the Lioness'' quartet (Atheneum), a young heroine named Daine, who has a special way with horses, comes to accept and perfect her own type of ``wild magic'' after she is hired as an assistant to a horse-mistress of a mythical kingdom. Daine learns to channel her healing skills and to develop her power to communicate with animals, the latter of which she uses to fight vicious immortal monsters, the Stormwings. There are many gory encounters, most of them involving female fighting champions, including Alanna, the king's champion knight. Those readers who enjoy a swashbuckling imaginative adventure will enjoy this story, which is filled with all types of creatures and all sorts of magic. Some may be a bit confused by Daine's visions and by the extent of her power, which seems to allow her to revive even the dead. The ending leaves Daine undecided as to where she will settle and certainly points the way to a sequel. --Yvonne Frey, Peoria Public Schools, IL

In this first volume of a series, Pierce returns to the world and characters she introduced in her Song of the Lioness fantasy epic. Here, she tells the story of Daine, a 13-year-old orphaned girl with an extraordinary talent for communicating with animals. The teenager is swept up in the first skirmishes of a war, and is forced to master her fears and learn how to marshall her magical abilities. Trying to make the sequel to four previous novels stand on its own is no mean feat, and Pierce has a lot of exposition to relate. By telling the story through Daine's eyes, she allows new readers a chance to ``catch up'' on who's who along with her heroine. Although this device proves effective for the most part, some of the scenes are a little bewildering. However, Pierce's inventive descriptions of Daine's apprenticeship as a Mage, her riveting battles with griffins, dragons and other monsters, and her delightful, egalitarian ideals more than compensate for this minor flaw. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)

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