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Battle Magic

battle-magic
By: Tamora Pierce

Briar, Rosethorn and Evvy and visiting the mountain kingdom of Gyongxe, a mystical country filled with temples of many religions, the very earth is filled with power. Before there time is up though they are summonsed to visit the Emperor of Yanjing under the pretense of seeing his glorious gardens.
Things are not as peaceful and pleasant as the emperor attempts to make things seem on the surface. The mages sense and see things they do not like, amongst them the treatment of certain individuals, the emperor’s dark cruelty, a huge army and throng magic that underlies it all, keeping it all together. Unwilling to stay they leave and discover the Emperor as about to launch an attack on Gyongxe and he will do anything to stop the visiting mages from joining the other side. This is omething Rosethorn cannot allow as she has vowed to defend the First Temple of the Living Circle and where Rosethorn is bound to go Briar will not be far away, even if they do get separated for a while.
Another wonderful addition to the world first bought to us in the Circle Of Magic series. This is perhaps though, the darkest and bloodiest of the books, dealing as it does with genocide and war. Pierce uses this context to push her characters through emotional arcs that will forever change them. I won’t go too much into what they go through, the individual things they experience, because that would detract too much from the read itself, and it would be too easy to unintentionally leave spoilers. Rosethorn’s steadfastness, Briar’s stubborn loyalty and Evvy’s wonder and enthusiasm are still there shining through the whole time.
A bigger book than the other circle books but just as un-put downable.
Highly recommended.
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 1st Oct 2013
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9781742990170

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The Will of the Empress

the-will-of-the-empressBy: Tamora Pierce

Winding Circle is a long way away for our four mages, at least it is time wise and now they are all back together they find they can’t go back to the way things were. They all experienced things they don’t know how to share and this causes rifts between them. Then Sandry’s uncle asks the others to accompany her on a journey to Namor. It is a journey the reluctant Sandry has to go on because she needs to check out the lands that provide her income.

The problem is that Namorn is ruled by an Empress who is not used to people saying no to her and Sandry has no intention of getting married to the Empress’s choice and settling down to become a tool for the Namorese court. They quickly discover though that the trap isn’t just for Sandry, the Empress wants all of them to become her pets and she already has powerful mages in her employ to ensure her will is never thwarted. The Circle though is not without it’s own power, that is if they can remember what drew them together in the first place and if they can put aside their worries and start working together once again.

What a great read. This is a return to loved characters, ones that have changed and it is good to see characters go though changes like these ones have. The paths they travel on are difficult, the choices they have to make are weighty and the sort of things that would leave a mark on your soul, it is good to see an author give us characters who have changed as a direct result of their choices and actions.

More than any of them Sandry longs for things to go back to the way they were. She missed her family immensely and despite her words to them, never wanted them to go. She however is the most secure in her place, finically and status wise. She will always belong and the others don’t have that kind of security. None of them are without means though, Daja and Briar are very finically well off as their magic provides them with unique products they can sell for a tidy profit. Tris struggles with acceptance more than the others in that her magic is stranger, even more powerful, and with her new ability she is convinced everyone will think less of her.

Pierce has given us a very detailed and thus easy to visualise setting. The realism that shines through here assists in keeping us grounded in the four’s story. It is the breaks in the friendship that are what make this story so strong. We all know what it is like to fall out with friends or family, (or most of us do), it is a battle of wills and a learning curve of give and take. Pierce handles all this skilfully. The Empress is a master manipulator who has power to back herself up. She is a spoilt brat in many ways and it is nice to occasionally see those cracks in her persona. The way the four young mages work through what has gone before and what is happening now is an interesting journey and the overarching story is one that allows us to see how each of these youngsters have grown.

Once again Pierce has created a wonderful adventure within a fantastic world.

Highly Recommended.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 01 October 2008

Format: Paperback 550 pages

Categories: Adventure, Fantasy, Magic

ISBN 13: 9780545074551

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page

Street Magic

By: Tamora Pierce

Circle Opens series bk 2

Briar is a plant mage. His is incredibly skilled, especially for one so young. He can distil medicines, get a garden to grow in the blink of an eye and persuade a tree to trap a criminal. He has a very strong empathy with nature and plants love to reach out to him. His is a power that can kill just as easily as it can heal. Briar knows how important it is to learn how to channel your magical ability. While taking a walk through the Golden House Market he stumbles across Evvy. Evvy is a street rat who doesn’t realise she has stone magic, nor is she interested in learning how to control it. In fact she doesn’t want to learn anything from Briar. Briar knows she has to be taught and he tries to find a suitable tutor for her, however Evvy’s life is close to his past and he cannot leave her unprotected.

The Circle of Magic quartet are real ensemble stories, with a slight emphasis on one character, in the Circle Opens Quartet the players all get their own stories. Briar’s story is one that masterfully matches the person he has become with the person he was. Evvy is brash and stubborn and no match for Briar who has spent much time with stubborn and powerful female companions. I love the way Pierce has used this story to give insight into Briar’s past. This story is filled with wonderfully visual descriptions of the city of Chammur. Evvy is a fun character who is carefully developed throughout the course of this tale. I look forward to reading more about her. I have to say I loved the climax, it had me unwilling to put my book down no matter what the interruption. Once again a great story from a truly wonderful storyteller. I haven’t come across a Tamora Pierce book I wouldn’t recommend.

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 01 March 2008

Format: Paperback 255 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781862917835

Purchase: here or use logo on side of page to link to Booktopia

Magic in the Weaving

By: Tamora Pierce

Circle of Magic series bk 1

Sandry is of noble birth, rescued from a bricked in chamber, Tris is a merchant girl abandoned by her family. Daja is the only survivor of a shipwreck that wiped out the rest of her family. Briar is a thief, taken from certain imprisonment, for reasons he doesn’t understand. These four children are the new residents of the WInding Circle Temple. Even there they don’t really fit in and find themselves at Discipline under the guidence of Dedicates Lark and Rosethorn. These four children have something in common, their powers are unusual and manifest differently to most. When disaster strikes will they be able to work together to survive?

Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar are wonderfully crafted characters, at odds with yet somehow drawn to each other. Sandry is key to this and it is represented in her ability to weave. In each other they find friends who accept them as they are. The places they come from are well established and in a short amount of time you learn so much about each of them. The Winding Circle Temple is bought off the page by wonderful descriptions. For me characters are where Pierce excels. They are so believable, and I was drawn along with them every step of the way, cheering at their successes and pulling for them in their struggles. This book is a true ensemble story and well worth taking the time to read. Highly recommended. Pierce is my number one pick for readers 10+ who like fantasy and are seeking out stories with strong female characters, or even just good writing.

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 01 July 2007

Format: Paperback 240 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781862917446

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

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