Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce (The Immortals #2)
When Daine is summoned to help a pack of wolves—dear friends from her old village—she and Numair travel to Dunlath Valley to answer the call. But when they arrive, Daine is shocked to learn that it’s not only animals whose lives are threatened; people are in danger, too.
Dunlath’s rulers have discovered black opals in their valley. They’re dead set on mining the opals and using the magic contained in the stones to overthrow King Jonathan. Even if it means irreversibly damaging the land—and killing their workers. Daine must master her wild magic in order to save both her animal friends and her human ones.
AUTHOR: Tamora Pierce
PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
LENGTH: 368 pages
AGE: Young Adult
Queer Rep Summary: No canon queer rep.
As the second book in a quartet, this doesn’t wrap up anything from a previous book, but it spends time with the wolf pack Daine mentioned in WILD MAGIC. There’s a new storyline which is a combination of spying and a “save the forest” style mission. The Pack summoned Daine because the local two-leggers are destroying natural resources and making the land uninhabitable with their new mining and logging projects. When Daine and Numair arrive, they discover that there are a lot of potentially hostile mages who have no reason to be there. The rest of the plot focuses on Daine’s increasing connections with the local wildlife, and her growing mastery of her magic. Numair leaves to get help, leaving Daine to figure out things without his aid for long stretches.
The entire plot with finding out the problem and saving the valley is introduced and resolved within this book. It introduces a bunch of characters and factions who may be important in later books, but this story is very well-contained. It doesn't specifically leave anything for later, but it establishes new situations for most of the characters who were established in this book. I know from the sequels that certain details and characters do or don't matter for later books, but the story itself doesn't really give hints. The two major exceptions to this are that Daine has been trying to find out who her Da is since the first book so eventually she'll probably get an answer, and that Emperor Ozorne has been mentioned a lot and will likely be important. Anything else might or might not matter later. Daine feels a bit older than the last book. Clearly not an adult yet, she's now fourteen and a half (an age where half years are important) rather than the perhaps thirteen of the first book.
This story is so self-contained, with backstory succinctly conveyed when necessary, that it could make sense when read on its own. It could make even more since to anyone who has read any of the other Tortall books, even if not WILD MAGIC. It only barely features previously known characters, due to the event which effectively traps Daine in the valley almost as soon as they arrive.
I like this one generally, and it introduces several characters who will be more important later. It also features an expansion of Daine's powers in a major way. Not bad, but I remember liking the later books more (we'll see if they hold up on re-read).
No Graphic/Explicit CWs
Moderate CW for depression, xenophobia, vomit, excrement, blood, violence, fire/fire injury, injury detail, medical content, body horror, suicide, slavery, animal death, death.
Minor CW for mental illness, fatphobia, bullying, self harm.