February 2, 2012

Thursdays with Macky • A Thread of Magic

Sandry's Book book cover
Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce
Series: Circle of Magic #1
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: June 24, 20016
Source/Format: Owned || Paperback

With her gift of weaving silk thread and creating light, Sandry is brought to the Winding Circle community. There she meets Briar, a former thief who has a way with plants; Daja, an outcast gifted at metalcraft; and Tris, whose connection with the weather unsettles everyone, including herself. At Winding Circle, the four misfits are taught how to use their magic - and to trust one another. But then disaster strikes their new home. Can Sandry weave together four kinds of magical power and save herself, her friends, and the one place where they've ever been accepted?

While writing this review, I had managed to delete around 2 pages of text simply because I was trying to gush intellectually. Writing this way is oh so much easier and less stuffy. Also, the incredibly casual tone just may prevent me from gushing about the series. Which is, I realize, going to be a running theme for all my reviews until I decide to review something I’m not too crazy about.

And boy, am I crazy about this series. Maybe it’s because I’m older and have experienced more things, but rereading this series for the nth time, I’m weepier about it. And not in a lose your man-card way (though I’m pretty sure they’ll take mine away again for getting the weeps over a book series).

This series is a family piece... and Sandry’s Book starts it all. Reading it the first few times, I never really did get why they called it “Sandry’s Book”. The whole thing is equal parts everyone’s story. If you read the other three books after this, each character gets most of the focus.

This time, however, I understand why Sandry gets to be the title character.

The Good

My goodness, but I love my Tamora Pierce books! And this here is classic Tammy in the way the characters lives are woven together.

The first couple of chapters that describe the lives of Sandry, Briar, Daja and Tris before being brought together ought to be the hook that snags you. If you don’t care about them in the first few chapters, chances are you won’t ever care about them at all.

But if they matter to you separate from each other - Sandry trapped, Daja shipwrecked, Briar sentenced to hard labor and Tris bullied and passed around - boy oh boy, are you going to love them together.

Four totally different lives, personalities, motives and hearts brought together by fate - that’s what this story is about. It kinda reminds me of the upcoming Avengers Movie (the one with Thor, Iron Man and Captain America directed by Joss ‘the awesome’ Whedon).

Joss’ pitch for the movie is that these superheroes shouldn’t even be in the same room let alone the same team. And yet ,that’s family for you. People so different from each other, who are left with no choice but to live life together. It is how they move from point A (“I don’t need you”) to point B (“We can never do this without each other”) that makes for a very, very interesting story.

Needless to say, my extremely geeky heart is ecstatic for May 2012 when the Avengers will show (that’s a shamless plug for those who missed it). And more to the point, that’s what makes Sandry’s Book one of my personal favorite stories. In the simplest and most natural of ways, Tammy weaves four separate lives together.

The Whut

Again, I am too much in love with this story to ever be confident that my take on it is objective. Reading the last page of Sandry’s Book has brought tears to my eyes. I never appreciated the ending then, not as much as I do now. Why? Well, I’m older and more sentimental. And I'm a sap.

Getting that out of the way, this leads me to the crux of what I believe to be the only downside of this story: you have to care about the characters to enjoy it.

They’re at “magic school”. It's not like the crappy one from Charmed (sorry Paige and Leo) and certainly not like the awesome one called Hogwarts. It’s a practically a cloister, since the “dedicates” who do the magic and teaching are all pledged to their respective gods and wear habits and stuff.  They do things like chores, and Tammy goes on and on about threadcraft, and smith work and gardening, herbs and weather things.

Unless you’re a huge nerd AND are immediate fans of the four kids, I highly doubt you’ll like the story at all. No evil wizards. No deep lurking evil. No “fate of the world is in your hands and you’re the only ones who can save it” moments.

I think you can really only be one of two things: so in love with this series or completely indifferent to it. I don’t believe there’s anything to hate. But you either love it or you don’t. No special mentions. Just pure indifference or extreme devotion.

The Awesome

At this point, I am in danger of typing in all-caps and repetitively saying how awesome this book was and how much I totally cried. To spare everyone the indignity of that, I won’t.

I will however say (with much contained emotion) that the best thing about this book is Sandry herself. Even if Tammy gets to explore everyone else’s hearts and journeys equally in this book, Sandry gets top billing. Everyone got to shine but in the end, if you bother to look closely enough, you’ll see how she was always meant to be the heart of this little family. She’s the key to bringing everything together.

I have an incredible soft spot for Sandry. Her courage, her determination… she’s like a little Helen Mirren (who was gorgeous and epic in that Bruce Willis movie RED). Am I in love with her? Well, I “grew up” with Sandry. I know what she’s like as an adult. I have loved her for as long as I’ve known her, and seeing the cheeky little noble girl and knowing the amazing young woman she’s become, out of my league as she may be, it’s safe to say I’m smitten in every way.

Also, until Jean Grey-Summers, I used to have a thing for blondes with blue eyes. Then I went through a redhead phase (call me nuts but Tris is a crush of mine too… you’ll see in the next quartet). Now I have a thing for dark haired, thin, nerdy little book bloggers who are also aspiring writers living in New Jersey. But I digress.

I’m a sucker for coming of age stories. Mostly because as an 80’s kid I grew up believing that the perfect childhood involved magic, battling ancient evil with your friends and falling in love with your best friend. Sandry’s Book may have only been 1 out of 3, but the 80’s kid in me agrees with the inner geek: This would have been one of the most epic childhoods EVER.

So if you want to relive yours, try this book. Nice and short, it's awesome read. It’s not YA yet, but it will be. Stay tuned as we spend the next few Thursdays watching these kids grow up!


  1. Good times! and how awesome that you started reading this series at around the time the kids were the same age (relatively) as you. :D it'll be like you grew up with them. but that's just the way i see the book characters i love.

  2. if you love Tamora Pierce this series is a MUST. haha.. she didn't end up doing full cast audio books for nothing. :D it's just as gripping as the Tortall universe.

  3. You totally shooould!!! She writes really endearing characters and weaves stories well. You get totally swept up in her worlds.... and her stories continue on. :D i'm reviewing the other 3 books in this series. :D hopefully by the end of the reviews you'll wanna pick anything of hers up. haha.

  4. I can't wait to read this series!! I LOVE Tamora Pierce and this is one of her series that I still need to tackle. Sounds AMAZING. :-)

  5. I have never read any of Tamora Pierce's books, but reading your review it sounds like I should check them out!

  6. Dang, this brings back a lot of memories. I read this book back in elementary or junior high (which is around 10 years ago now). Briar and Tris were always my favourites. Briar becaus he's a boy and Tris because she was the most like me.


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