I grew up on a diet of richly rendered fantasy books, which included Pierce's Lioness quartet as well as the semi-sequel quartet Protector of the Small. Both of these convinced me it was ok to not fit into the perfect stereotype of what young girls should and shouldn't like - if I wanted to be a knight (or an archaeologist as the case was at the time) instead of a nurse, or a ballerina, then that was ok. (Nevermind that knights these days do not seem half as exciting as those in Pierce's Tortallan world.)
Somehow in all my readings, the Immortals quartet passed me by and I never got around to reading them until now.
These books are set directly between the Lioness and Protector quartets, so if you have read either there will be many familiar characters, but I also think it wouldn't be too hard to get into with no prior knowledge of the world in which all three series are set.
I'm going to go off on a brief tangent again before I get to my main point:
One thing that frustrates me hugely about YA fiction today is that mostly the female protagonists are fairly interchangeable. They are usually bland, and are either so perfect as to be utterly unrelateable, or so flawed that they are simply impossible to like (take Bella from Twilight as an example). There are, of course, exceptions to this, and this is one reason why I love Pierce's stories. The fact that most of the Tortallan books were written almost twenty years ago may have something to do with it, I'm not sure.
Anyway, back to the book.
Daine (Verilidaine Sarrasri) is possibly the perfect heroine/role-model for a young girl. Unlike tose other bland female protagonists, Daine is both far from perfect, and very likeable. She has untamed talents and gifts, which scare her until - with hard work and will power - she manages to master them. She has hurts and worries to overcome; she isn't always perfectly nice or perfectly polite, but does recognise her mistakes; and most important, she is actually willing to learn from these mistakes.
The writing itself is nothing special, but one of the benefits of this is that it is easy to read, without being patronisingly simple. The plot is interesting, and all the supporting characters are characters in their own rights - no Mary-Sues here. None of these things should quite add up to the full 5 stars though apart from one fact: I cannot for the life of me think of anything that is actually wrong with this book.
I am unsure whether the full quartet is as good (the second book was good, and interesting but not as much as Wild Magic) but this one entirely brings back to my childhood fantasies, and I loved it.