I first read a Tamora Pierce book over 15 years ago. I adored her Tortall series --especially Kel and Aly's books, and they all imbued within me #girlpower. From Alanna, I learned to not let gender expectations keep me "in my place" as a female. From Daine, I learned to treasure what makes me different and special. From Kel, I learned that dedication and hard work are so vital to success. And from Aly, I learned even the smallest and most "insignificant" people are important and worthy of love.
I shipped characters before "shipping" was a term. I was in a fandom when it pretty much was exclusive to Star Wars, Trekkies, and Potterheads. I was obsessed with these books that showed me that girls kick butt, whether they have a sword in their hand or not.
As such, I was ecstatic when I heard the long foretold Numair series was finally going to have its first book published! I even secured an eARC on Netgalley. But as I reflected on how much of my strength I owe to Tammy, I grew nervous. I was anxious that I wasn't going to like it the way I didn't enjoy the Beka Cooper series. I was worried that the #girlpower that was vital to middle and high school me would be made irrelevant with a male protagonist. That really worried me as I have made #girlpower books --or even just female protagonists and female authors-- an important aspect of my reading habits.
And, yes, the #girlpower that was so central to my love of the Tortall books is missing in Tempest and Slaughter. However, that is to be expected since Arram is a male protagonist. When I was able to put aside my preference for female protagonists, I found that I really enjoyed Arram's tale. AND, like Tammy does with girls and periods and puberty, she addresses male puberty in Tempests and Slaughter. So, that bildungsroman aspect of Tammy's books is still present.
The only real downside is that the pacing is weird. Not the plot dynamics pacing, but the moving forward of chronological time pacing. I thought Arram was closer to 15 or 16 when the story reminds readers that he's only 13. And the time denotations are not evenly spaced at all. I'd prefer them to be stated more like parts within the story as a whole (i.e. Part I: Third-Year Student at the Lower Academy, Fall 435 - Spring 436; Part II: Fourth-Year Student at that Lower Academy, Summer 436). Since I have an eARC, perhaps that pacing has been amended.
Either way, I highly recommend Tempests and Slaughter for fans of Tammy. You won't be disappointed!