Melting Stones – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, we’re finally up to the final review for the Circle of Magic universe!

There’s one more book planned to make this a quartet rather than a trilogy. And I seriously hope that book is better than this one. This is the one book I actually didn’t enjoy. So much so that I’m not re-reading it.

I just can’t.

It feels so different to all the other books and I don’t like that none of the original four aren’t in it. Potentially my dislike for this book is because Evvy is still quite young and the book is aimed at that younger age group. Compared to the other four who’ve grown up therefore making the books geared that little bit closer to my age.

Maybe because Evvy is younger I no longer connect to her, whereas I’ve grown up with Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar. Either way the writing FELT different to me and in a way the overall story felt too dramatic and over the top compared to Tamora’s other works.

In terms of whether you should read this one or not, personally. I’d say skip it. From what I can tell it adds no benefit to the overall universe’s story and so won’t impact your reading of anything else.

On the flip side. This is the second last book published in this world. So it stands to reason Tamora’s writing will have changed over time. I’m sure everyone’s does.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Boundary Fence by Alissa Callen.

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Battle Magic – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, although this book is set before the other two in this quartet it was published after them.

And it shows.

I had to re-read this because I’ve only read it once so couldn’t remember it well enough to write this review. Since I know Will of the Empress so well (I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read that one) some of the phrases, scenes etc were expected. Yet it didn’t feel as dramatic or intense as Briar made it out to be in Will of the Empress.

Given how much time was spent focussing on the lead up to the war, there really wasn’t enough time left to devote to proper descriptions of the war. By the time we got to the main war we were lucky to get one chapter to a battle that raged days. And then the Emperor wasn’t even there for the war to end!

Since I’d forgotten what happened I thought we were going to miss out on finding out how the war would end. Then in the space of what felt like a few pages it was all over. It was definitely an unsatisfying ending. I felt jibbed by that ended.

When the magic and development of the people was done so well throughout the book, I can’t believe how badly it was finished. At the same time, quite a few of the magical moments were so similar to ones in the Will of the Empress that I now want to re-read that again. While also hating on the fact that Tamora so easily “copied and pasted” those aspects. I think more effort could have been put in to make them more different so each book is unique.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Just Another Silly Love Song by Rich Amooi.

The Will of the Empress – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, after finishing the second quartet in the Emelen world I’m on to the final quartet. Even though there’s only 3 books published… And the 4th is an unknown as to whether it’ll ever get written and published…

I love coming back to this book. I think it’s probably my all time favourite book by Tamora Pierce. Even if the writing isn’t technically great and there’s some moments that feel clumsy and almost contradictory.

Throughout this book Tamora has woven a sense of female empowerment. From the ruler of the largest nation being a woman who doesn’t need to be married, right down to a victim of domestic violence doing what she needs to do to get out of that situation.

Every step of the way we see women showing it’s OK to be who you are and to make the most of your life without a man holding you back. Reading this for the first time when I was 16 and just starting to get a sense of my place in the world and where I wanted to go. This was amazing. It was so liberating to know that I could do anything, and be anything I wanted if I worked hard and didn’t let others hold me back.

Although it’s 14 years later, and I’m almost 30, it’s still great to be reminded of this empowerment. Especially when I’m feeling a bit down or like I’m struggling to achieve what I want. Reading this and getting that reminder that I can make it happen is such a great feeling.

Thank you for reading, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Worth Fighting For by Lasairiona E. McMaster.

Shatterglass – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, there’s been a lot of contemporary romances lately so it’s good to get back to a fantasy briefly.

The last book in the quartet follows Tris as she makes her mark in a new city. In so many ways this city makes me feel ashamed that I’m human. In a world where slavery is almost gone, this city essentially lives with it as it’s entire eco-system.

Tris’s ability to see past this cities ambivalence and see the people, what they’re going through and how broken the structure is, is amazing. As a teenager reading this for the first time, I was inspired to do better, be better and fight for what’s right.

I can’t say I’m as good as Tris at this. But the inspiration is there, and I’m reminded of it every time I read this book.

Tris goes even further by taking in an orphan, giving a hurt man a new lease on life, fixing a man-made drought, showing people that different is ok and changing a whole cities way of life. How could I ever measure up to that given how much ill will there is in the world? How could I possibly find my way of making a difference like Tris does?

I honestly don’t know any other book that’s touched me in the same way that this book did and continues to touch me. I think this inspiration is something that every young person should read to get, remember and take with them through all their journeys throughout the rest of their lives.

It’s such an important message that everyone needs in their heart to remind them to be better.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman.

Cold Fire – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, continuing on with Tamora Pierce’s book’s I’m up to Daja.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Daja because she was ostracised and banished from her culture yet rose above that to make something of herself in a way that goes against her culture’s traditions and beliefs. By staying true to herself and her magic.

What more could you ask of anyone?

The fact that Daja finds not one, but two students with vastly different personalities, skill sets and desires for their lives was great. She finds herself navigating not only the magical world in an unknown city and country, but she also needs to navigate the political and aristocratic marriage mart scenes.

Some of my favourite moments in this book involve Oakborn, the wood master mage, and Potcracker, the cook master mage. Some of Daja’s interactions with them are amusing, even after the 10th or more read of them. How often can you say that about books?

Growing up, I thought Daja was having a bit of a romance situation going on. However, looking back now I can see that it was never going to be a romance. But 16-year-old me didn’t know enough about romance to know this. And I was idealistic that maybe one of them would get lucky.

Whenever I go back to re-read this book I look forward to the balance of humour and action that is woven brilliantly throughout the book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Game Changer by Lasairiona E. McMaster.

Street Magic – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, I’m picking up where I left off with Tamora Pierce’s books. Today we get to see how Briar goes as an adult.

Briar is probably my favourite of the four so I was always going to have a soft spot for his books, but Tamora write his books in a way that I just can’t resist. Like with his book in the first series, The Healing in the Vine from The Circle of Magic, Briar’s story revolves around those in the slums. Specifically, those in gangs.

The way Briar has really accepted his magic, and his connection to plants is amazing. Every time I read this, I have certain moments, like the jasmine vine, that I just smile at. I can’t help it! It’s so sweet and touching to see a manly man so in touch with his green thumb.

However, the growth we see in his maturity as he accepts that he needs to teach Evvy about her magic, how to control it and even how to use it for good, is amazing. He’s only just finding his own place in the world, yet he accepts (grudgingly, like any teenager) his responsibility as a qualified mage and takes Evvy under his wing.

The fact that he cares for her in more ways than his magical responsibility is amazing. He fights for her in ways I feel like he’d only fight for his sisters. As a young teenager when I first read this when I didn’t have many close friends, this was amazing, and I wished I had someone who’d fight for me like this.

The lengths he goes to protecting Evvy is amazing. He doesn’t seem to care about his own health or life so long as he can save his student and friend. The fact that they have a friendship is easy to see, even if it took a while to get there.

When I’m re-reading Tamora’s books, this is one I always look forward to reading. It gives me the warm and fuzzies every time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Breathe of Passion by Lisa Kessler.

Magic Steps – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, I’m finally back to Tamora Pierce’s books! YAY!

I ended her books on the final book of the Circle of Magic quartet and I’m picking it back up with the first book in the Circle Opens quartet.

We left off with our four main characters roughly one year after arriving at Winding Circle at the age of roughly 14. We’re now 4 years later, they’ve achieved their Medallions (which signify they can practice magic without supervision) and have gone off on adventures. That is, all except for Sandry.

Instead, she stays home with her uncle to help him run his kingdom and in doing so discovers a new type of magic and an extremely old and rare type of magic. I love that she uses her powers to help her new student in the best possible way.

The fact that she waited for him to come to her rather than forcing her tutelage on him was so important to me growing up. I’ve always believed that if you have a reason to learn something you’ll enjoy it and become better at it. When I first read this book, I was thinking of my maths classes, how much I hated them and how much I sucked at it.

16 years later, now that I’m a learning and development professional I still believe this wholeheartedly. Creating that motivation and need to learn something is such a great driver, and studies have shown is much more effective for long term retention than being forced to learn something.

Throughout the book we see examples of how Sandry tries to create a comfortable environment where Pascal can feel comfortable. Rather than bring him to the palace she finds quiet places that he’s familiar with, and is comfortable in.

Even when everything was going wrong, murders were happening left and right, magic was all over the place and Pascal just wanted to do his own thing, she was able to stay calm. This kind of approach to life’s problems is something I strive towards, but can honestly say, I final really difficult to execute.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week’s series review will be the second last book in the Time for Alexander series, Soul of Time. And on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Bachelor by Sabrina Jeffries.

#4/1 – Briar’s Book – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, this week we have Briar’s book!

I found this book to be the saddest in the whole series across all three quartets (I know the last one isn’t finished yet).

Reading about Briar being forced to work in a civilian “hospital” managing a massive outbreak that is killing people, is highly contagious and resistant to all treatment is awful. Especially because they discovered it because his mate Flick caught it and was one of the first to die from it.

Map of Summersea Harbour during the outbreak

Reading about how oppressive that environment is gave me a whole new appreciation for our doctors and nurses who work tirelessly to help those in need. Poor Briar and Rosethorn worked from the moment they woke up to the moment they passed out caring for those around them and having their own life and energy sucked from them was almost heartbreaking.

I’m pretty sure if I was to read this now, I would end up in tears because of how sad the whole situation is.

And poor, sweet and considerate Briar was the one to realise that they needed their living plants around them to perk them back up. Unfortunately, it was too little too late and Rosethorn got sick.

Briar’s attachment to Rosethorn was so strong that he leaped after her into the world of death to bring her back because he wasn’t ready to lose her. To make sure they didn’t lose him, all three of the girls jumped after him to hold him secure to the world of the living.

Briar’s Book

That whole ordeal was tragic. If it wasn’t for the fact that I knew The Circle Opens was out, I’d have wondered if all four of them and Rosethorn were going to die trying to save her. Luckily, they were able to bring Rosethorn back with them and save her life.

But her speech and mobility were impacted because she was technically dead for a few minutes and so parts of her brain died. But we don’t really see too much of this in this book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Magic Steps, the first book in The Circle Opens quartet.

#3/1 – Daja’s Book – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, this week we have Daja’s book!

This one really hit me hard when I read it on so many levels. Daja is a Trader who’s been made an outcast because her whole family died, and she survived. Because of this she isn’t allowed to speak to a Trader ever again, and they aren’t allowed to even acknowledge her presence.

Map of the Gold Ridge area

When I was reading this book, I was at that impressionable age of 12 or 13 where bullying is really ramping up. For Daja, she was excluded because of some silly Trader law while I didn’t have the easiest time because I was an early bloomer in my yr. And boys can be horrible.

What made this amazing for me was that even though the Traders hated on Daja, her friends stuck by her and made sure the Traders acknowledged her and treated her better than they wanted to. Also, Daja being the caring person she is made sure the Traders survived even though they’d been absolutely horrible to her and her friends.

She put her own life at risk in an attempt to save their lives because she had a chance of surviving, and they didn’t.

Daja’s Book

Throughout all this time, Sandry, Briar, Tris and Daja had been battling with their magic becoming corrupted by the other’s magic and having to sort it out. I loved the little stories of how their magic got corrupted and the funny things that happened. But I can also agree that if it wasn’t fixed then it’d end in disaster.

Anyway, right at the end Daja is given a new staff that tells her story of her family dying, and of her bravery saving the Trader caravan which then ends with her being accepted back into the Trader world. I remember this bit being the first thing to ever get me close to tears from anything other than anger.

Of this quartet, this is probably the favourite for me. But I have others that rank higher in the Emelan world.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Briar’s Book.