Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Series: The Immortals #3
The book opens with a group of familiar heroes headed to Carthak on a diplomatic mission. Young Daine is there to help with the Emperor’s sick birds, but her role of course becomes much more than that. I like that this book gives you a whole new culture. In other books you travel but not to somewhere so different. Of course there are new animal friends but there are also new human friends too and some of them from very unexpected places. Daine also gets to learn more about her origins. I think one of the things I appreciate about this installment is the fact that there is a time Daine acts almost completely on her own with no one to back her up and almost not consultation. Daine is growing up and handles herself well in this tangled web of diplomacy and deceit.