It’s been a little while since I picked up a Valdemar book. Mostly because as much as I love them, they are often pretty heart wrenching. There is always some kind of abuse or emotional turmoil that just doesn’t seem to be as prominent in many of the other fantasy books that I read. So I honestly need to make sure that I’m in a good headspace whenever I pick up one of these novels… which I was when I picked up The Black Gryphon. And boy am I glad. It was enjoyable, fun and an absolutely great read. Even if there was still that signature Lackey tragedy that made the enjoyment a little less… joyful.
I really didn’t love how this story ended. Alright, luckily there is a trilogy to follow on. But seriously… the way that ended?!?! It was a freaking frustrating ending to a trilogy. Although I still loved it. And couldn’t put it down. And had a huge smile on my face even as I was screaming on the inside. Alright, I was also cheering on the inside, because after all, the good guys won and Sonea actually did get a bit of a happily ever after. Just not the one that I wanted for her…
This book was either going to be amazing or amazingly crap. Mostly because it is dealing with the backstory of one of my favourite characters in this series. That, and it is a bit of a departure from Pierce’s normal stories – it features a male protagonist going through his coming of age story, instead of a female. But, all in all, I was MADLY IN LOVE with this tale. I read it in 2 days… it would have been one, but my partner told me that I had to sleep…
Of the four in the Emelan realm, it is Tris that I have always loved best. And have always best been able to relate to. It goes beyond her love of books and frustration at the stupidity of others, to recognising that feeling of not quite feeling wanted and needed. So, as always, I LOVE to revisit her in any way shape or form… and honestly, Shatterglass doesn’t let you down if you’re like me and just longing to see how she turns into a full mage with her first student.
There is nothing more terrifying than an arsonist – at least, for someone who is from rural Australia. In Cold Fire, Pierce explores the motivations and the true destruction that such a horrible motivation can wreak upon a small community. Daja’s love of fire is also seriously challenged by the ways in which the destruction of life and property can come about. Actually, her whole outlook on life and the adventures of travel are seriously tested. Add to this the fact that she is forced to take on not one, but two fledgling mages. Add to this great storyline the beautiful Namornese setting, and this is a great story that is impossible to put down.
Briar’s past as a gang member and what that truly means is so beautifully illustrated when he is forced to take on his first student. Evvy is a street kid (as Briar was) but she refuses to join a gang. Her constant, stubborn refusal and her clear-sighted insight into the dangers and perils of this life are kind of dark, but in a great way, they force Briar (and myself as a reader) to look further into what this truly entails for a street kid. The added complexities of stone magic, and a city that breathes exhaustion from its very pores make this a great journey to undertake as Rosethorn and Briar travel further East from Emelan.
I always love revisiting a world that has swept me away. It was no different when I first started reading The Circle Opens series. Four years after the conclusion of The Circle of Magic series, Sandry is alone, moving in the adult world. That in and of itself would make a fantastic story, but the addition of Sandry’s first student makes this story irresistible. Add in a dash of crime, mayhem and mystery… and this tale is dark, twisted and brilliant.
There is something especially terrifying about the plague. Actually, there’s something that is horrible about being sick in general – the feeling that your own body has turned against you. The final book in the Circle of Magic Quartet is a great reminder of how potently terrifying an incurable disease can be. Especially when it can pass undetected from person to person. After all, if anyone can be sick, how do you trust those around you, even your own family?
Of all of the Circle of Magic books, it is The Fire in the Forging that I have always loved the most. There is something about Daja’s trials and choice throughout this story that have always hit a chord with me. We’re all faced with difficult choices about our futures at one point or another in our lives, and Daja’s is something that made it impossible to predict how the story was going to progress.
Tris’ story is difficult to envisage from the very beginning, but in The Power in the Storm, her feelings of insecurity, loss and confusion about everything that is going on around her truly come to the fore. But honestly, mostly I love this story because Tris is a character I can completely relate to – the feeling of isolation and not quite belonging is something that everyone feels. Especially when they are a teenager trying to figure out just who they are.