No matter how many times I read the Beka Cooper series, I am entranced by the stunningly simple and provocative words. This time, Beka is after forgers and her chase brings her to the bright and vibrant port city. Here Beka is not only forced to face up to a Rogue gone very wrong, but also her own feelings towards a man, and the first movements of a binary view on women that are beginning to surface. This story is not only a great addition to the world of Tortall, but it begins to tell the tale of just why Alanna is forced to hide her gender when she becomes a knight many generations later.
It doesn’t matter how many times I read this book – I love it every damn time. Although Terrier is another tale set in the world of Tortall, it is so incredibly unique and different from the other tales set in this world. Partly this is because it is set hundreds of years before the Song of the Lioness Quartet, but it’s also because Beka is just so completely different from the other heroines throughout the series. she is from a lower social class than any of the other characters, and occupies a world that is nothing like the rest of the realm of Tortall that we’ve been introduced to.
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.
The Circle of Magic was the first Tamora Pierce series that I had the privilege of reading. And it began an obsession that has spanned over a decade. Yet, every time I revisit Sandry, Daja, Briar and Tris, I am enchanted all over again. Especially when I’m in the middle of studies, and I just want to spend ten minutes drifting off to another, fascinating world.