July 12, 2013

Circle of Magic - Tamora Pierce

Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication Date: June 24, 2006
Source/Format: Borrowed from Mack || Kindle e-book

It is always, always, always a wonderful thing to revisit a favorite series and fall in love with it all over again! During the long weekend, I indulged in a re-read of the Circle of Magic series for PierceFest - and it was wonderful! I've always felt that this series gets less attention than it actually deserves. This makes me sad because it's really great! The Circle of Magic series offers the same strong storytelling and interesting variety of characters as Pierce's other series. The voice and characters, however, are a little younger, and it's set in a different world (Emelan, as opposed to Tortall).

Unlike Pierce's other novels, this series follows not just one, but four main characters - Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar. It gives readers a chance to get to know each member of the circle a whole lot better than they would have otherwise. It also ensures that you're never just stuck assuming what the other characters know, and are treated to a glimpse into each of their heads! Sandry is a nobleman's daughter, quick to sort out arguments, incredibly stubborn and very vocal about what she thinks is right or wrong. Tris is a merchant's daughter, who happens to be incredible passionate and prickly, but also intelligent and curious. Daja is a Trader girl, who enjoys the smith craftsmanship and is capable of taking care of herself. Briar is a street rat with a surprising affection for living things and caring for them. They create an unexpected mix of personalities, but as the story continues, they all become saati - friends that are almost like a family.

Their friendship is, in fact, one of the reasons I'm a strong advocate of the series. It's always heartwarming to witness people setting aside their differences and learning to get along; it happens so clearly in this book. Each one came to their friendship with defined opinions about other races, but slowly learned to care more about the values and character that the others demonstrated. It also helped that their unusual brand of magic was able to bond them for life too!

Each novel stands quite well on its own, but also manages to feel like a successive chapter in the story of these four friends. Sandry's Book tells readers of their separate circumstances, and how they are brought together and become united in a tentative friendship. Tris's Book moves the story further along, as their friendship deepens, their magic grows and they face the threat of pirates disturbing their home in Winding Circle. We learn more about the rest of Emelan in Daja's Book, when they are taken to the north and exposed to new cultures and new people. And finally, the quartet ends with Briar's Book, the most dramatic of the four as a plague strikes Emelan, testing their magic and abilities. It's an excessive amount of action-packed adventures, especially as the four are required to call upon their magic in each novel. But the kids grow up from book to book, so it seems like a reasonable amount of time passes between each crises.

I did remember most of the plot twists, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the books again! What I had forgotten was just how funny the books are. I cracked up while reading certain moments, and there is a surprising amount of humor laced into these tales. This is certainly a crucial element to include among the moments of friendship (which made me go awww) and the serious, battle mode moments as it balanced them out!

The Circle of Magic quartet is another well-crafted series from Tamora Pierce. She demonstrates her ability to successfully juggle the four different POVs - Sandry, Tris, Daja, Briar - from book to book, as well as weaving the unusual magic that each person possesses into a great story. What makes the book so great is watching the friendship bloom between them, as they reach a point where they're pretty much closer than actual blood kin. While I certainly want them all to stay together, (since it seems like they don't like physically being apart), I do know that the next series - Circle Opens - indicates a different path. It's time to read on and see where the adventures take them!

In case you've forgotten, we're hosting a big giveaway for the duration of PierceFest! Please see the details for that below:


1 set of any Tamora Pierce series (which is, at max, FOUR books)


1. The giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY, as long as Book Depository ships to you.
2. All entries will be verified, so please do not forget to include the correct information.
3. Winner will be contacted as soon as they are chosen. They will have 48 hours to respond with the pertinent information, or their win will be forfeit and another will be chosen.
4. The bloggers will not be held responsible for condition or timeliness of the book shipment, as they are being shipped by a third party organization. Please note that we will try to keep you informed of the status of your prize.


  1. I'm so glad that I stumbled across this! I just started Alanna: The First Adventure a few days ago and I'm really liking it so far! It's my first time reading Pierce's books, so I'm really excited for what's ahead of me.

  2. Ahh, I love the Circle books so much. As a kid I was all Tortall all the time, but as an adult I've begun to appreciate the Emelan books as they deserve; their diverse casts and intricacy of plot are outstanding. Recently I was lucky to get an ARC of Battle Magic, the upcoming Emelanverse book, and I can't wait for it to come out so we can all discuss it!

  3. I didn't know that Pierce had a series set outside of Tortall. This one sounds so cool, especially Tris's book because of the pirates. :) Once I finish the Beka Cooper trilogy, I think this will be my next Pierce series.

  4. I really need to start this series (as I've said before). And I've been making a conscious effort to incorporate popular/recommended books into my reading schedule. I will definitely put this on that list and read at least the first book in the near future! It just sounds like a series that has so much to offer. I'm excited!

  5. I just reread Sandry's Book a couple days ago! I was reminded of this series by this feature and it's got me hooked all over again. Tamora Pierce's fantasy novels will always be some of my favourites. Great review :)

  6. I have NEVER read Tamora Pierce, can you believe it? I actually own a few books of hers and I know that I need to just get on it already!I am so glad that you get to relive a favorite series with Piercefest!! I am re-reading all of the Marillier novels while Amy reads them for the first time and I am LOVING it!! Yay!!


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