loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #03: Circle of Magic Series by Tamora Pierce
I listened to all four audiobooks in this series in rapid succession right before signing up for CBR4, so I will treat them as one review since I can’t really separate them completely in my memory now.
The Circle of Magic series begins with Sandry’s Book, with the individual stories of four lonely, outsider children. Each is from a very different background (noble, merchant, trader and thief) and has either been abandoned or orphaned in some way. Each is found by a kind man, and taken to a private school of sorts. There each finds their way to a teacher and mentor who turns out to be a mage in a special kind of magic – a different kind than is well-known in this world. Given the title of the series and hints along the way, it is no surprise to anyone except the children’s characters that each posses their own rare kind of magic (weaving, weather, metal and plant).
As you can tell by the book titles, each of the four books, is from the point of view of one of the children (3 girls and 1 boy), but all four are still main characters in each book. The first book, Sandry’s Book is rather slow to get started as it introduces all the characters and locations and really is more about setting up the rest of the series. The four children are getting to know each other and figuring out their new lives. There is finally some real action with the group of four at the end which ends up binding them in a way that is important for the rest of the series. Together they form a completely unique magic which keeps changing and surprising them in the later books.
Surprisingly, since I read a lot of young adult fantasy, this was the first Tamora Pierce book I’ve read! I was a good, average, juvenile-young adult fantasy book that interested me enough to continue to the next in the series, Tris’s Book.
Tris’s Book begins soon after Sandry’s Book ends. The children are now bonded both my magic and by growing friendship. They are learning more about their abilities and how to control their magic, but still have a long way to go. However, there is a pirate attack on the way, before they are prepared. These are not the “nice” pirates of some stories, but the ruthless kind.
For me, Tris’s Book was the weak one in the series. I found it predictable and emotionally flat. It also depended more than I liked on the cliche of children not listening to what they are told to do and getting into trouble when they should have known better. However, by then I was invested enough in the characters to want to continue to the third book, and I’m glad that I did.