Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic #1)

by Tamora Pierce

Paperback, 1999



Local notes

PB Pie




Scholastic (1999), Edition: Reissue, 252 pages


Four young misfits find themselves living in a strictly disciplined temple community where they become friends while also learning to do crafts and to use their powers, especially magic.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

6.73 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member bell7
Sandry, Tris, Briar, and Daja all don't fit in, for some reason or another. Sandry's parents are dead, and she was magically hidden in a room, alone. Funny things happen to the weather when Tris gets angry, and it makes her an outcast even among orphans. Briar was called Roach until he took a
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chance at a new life. And Daja is the lone survivor of a shipwreck, deemed bad luck to her people. None of the four think they have any particular gifts, but all four encounter a mage, Nico, who offers them a new life at Winding Circle.

I've read a few of Tamora Pierce's books, but this is the first I've read outside of Tortall. I was surprised to find that the narrative jumped between all four characters, rather expecting that each one - Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, etc. - would focus on one of them. Instead, the story jumps between the four, while keeping a third person narrative. I found the beginning very jumpy for this reason, but once they all go to Winding Circle it flows more smoothly for me. I listened to the Full Cast Audio, with the author as the narrator and various actors as different characters, and found it well done. The cast helped me keep the characters straight, and since I never read the book before, I didn't have any preformed ideas of how they should sound. Though I don't like this one quite as well as Alanna: The First Adventure or Beka Cooper: Terrier, it was a quick read and I'll continue listening to the series on my commute this week.
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LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
Four young mages are saved from terrible situations and brought together to learn and grow.

The beginning of this book never makes much sense to me. It jumps between the rescue of each character as though they're all happening at the same time, but they can't be because all four are found by the
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same person. Beyond that, it's a quick read with fun characters - I especially like Rosethorn, Daja, and Tris - and interesting worldbuilding that is outside the standard medieval fantasy setting.

Unfortunately, it has the problems that most of following Winding Circle books also suffer from: too many plot threads on too few pages, and some important events happening off-page instead of on. I enjoy rereading them from time to time, but I always wish there was more to each one.
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LibraryThing member maribs
Three young kids from different walks of life are brought together at the Winding Circle by the mage, Niko. Sandry, Briar, Tris and Daja are so different from each other but they all have magic within them that they need to develop and control. During there time in Discipline House, they also find
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time to become friends.

There wasn't much more to the book than the development of the characters. Most of the book is spent getting to know their backgrounds and their magical abilities. There was a bit at the end when they have to work together to save what they have found in their new home. Perhaps this is the setup for the action to come in the next few books.

I fear this is sounding like I didn't enjoy it but I really did. I read until I finished late into the night. I wouldn't have done that if it didn't grab my interest.

The best part, in my opinion, was how spinning yarn from wool was magic. It so is!
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LibraryThing member wealhtheowwylfing
Sandry hides from a smallpox epidemic in a cupboard--only to find that she's trapped inside. When her candle runs out, she is comforted by a glow in her embroidery.
Daja survives a shipwreck by willing a supply box toward her.
A petty thief, Briar is thrown in jail and tends to the moss he finds
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Tris is tormented at school, but her bullies find themselves threatened by wild winds.

None of them have traditional forms of magic, but Niko Goldeneye believes they might have hidden powers. He hopes to teach them to harness their gifts, before their uncontrolled power leads to tragedy. But though the children are thrilled to be taught, they're wary of associating with each other.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The characters' personalities come across in a ham-handed way, and their hidden fears and powers are hardly subtle. But I think that's mostly because this is YA for a younger crowd (under 15) than I'm used to. The magic is wonderfully described. No matter how exciting the action or weird the magic, I was always clear on what was happening. I've heard this mocked as having "weather for a villain," but that was actually a positive point, for me. The climax is "just" the children trying to survive being buried in an avalanche, but it was very stirring, and I was glad to find that the scope was kept personal. I'm tired of heroes having to save the kingdom, the world, the universe; it's a refreshing change to have them struggle to just save themselves.
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LibraryThing member chibimajo
The first in the quartet opens with snippets from the lives of 4 children. 3 are rescued from dire fates, and the 4th saved from madness. They are brought to Winding Circle where at first, they no more belong than they did in their previous lives. But finally, they come to learn they use magic in
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unorthodox ways and start training as mages. This brings the 4 together and they start to become friends. They learn, slowly, until a catastrophe brings them and their magic together with startling results.
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LibraryThing member gamermom2004
I love fantasy and this is a great fantasy novel. I can't wait to read Daja's book. I enjoy books about people coming into magic and not knowing what power they truly posess.
LibraryThing member Saieeda
Wonderfully well-written! The writing style is what makes this book stand out among Pierce's multiple other novels. The multi-person perspective adds something new to her retinue of young adult literature and makes the book that much more amazing, the characters that much more endearing.
LibraryThing member LaPhenix
A fun book. I would have enjoyed it more were it in 3rd person limited instead of omniscient. It also took me awhile to realize that the events in the beginning were happening at separate times. I found myself asking a lot "where is this going," but as the first book in the series, I think it was
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just setting up things to come.
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LibraryThing member navelos
Not much of anything happens in this book and the characters are very two dimensional. I suppose it's just introducing the characters for future books but so far
I think this is the weakest series I've read by Tamora Pierce.
LibraryThing member kayceel
A sweet fantasy by a truly wonderful author. Four young children, three of whom are orphans, meet at a school for mages, convinced they're there as a mistake. Slowly they begin to learn that they all possess a special magic and find something to appreciate in each other.

While I'm not crazy about
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full-cast audio, my eight-year-old daughter and I listened to this together and very much enjoyed it.

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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
I started reading Pierce's books at the recommendation of a friend, starting with her Tortall books. Pierce is one of those authors that gets better with every book, so when I finished the Tortall books and started the Circle of Magic books, I felt I was taking a step back, since these books were
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earlier than the more recent of those books. But I did like this world, this vision of magic very much, and soon the characters--and the books began to grow on me. This is Sandry's book, and it's centered on her more than anyone, but this is really the first book dealing with a circle of not just magic, but friends, so Tris, Daja, and Briar are important as well. Each is a distinct character, each has a special gift, and each has no one at the start and learn to rely on each other.
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LibraryThing member LaneLiterati
I remember reading this series as teen. It was just as good as I remember.
LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
This is (fractionally) my favorite Circle of Magic story. That's at least partly because this is the book with the most world-building - introducing us to all four of the kids and to their teachers, among others. I really like Sandry, her magic and her's funny, here and later it's
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mentioned that her parents were lightminded gadabouts who traveled just for fun. But every time I haven't read the series in a while, I forget that and make them my parents! Definitely a case of personal viewpoint coloring what I read...
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LibraryThing member AntiLeah
This seems pitched slightly younger than the Tortall books, though it has been awhile since I've read them, so I might be mis-remembering. And perhaps if it follows the kids as they get older it will mature, as the Alana books did. In any case, I enjoyed the book quite a bit even though it was a
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bit simply written. It was a bit short as well. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series.
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LibraryThing member EowynA
This Young Adult novel takes place on a fantasy world with magic as a normal part of the medieval-oid world. The story follows four young people: Briar, a thief with an affinity for plants; Tris, a merchant who feels and affects weather and nature; Sandry, a young noblewoman with an affinity for
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thread; and Daja, a Trader who understands metal and metalworking. The magic of these people is based on specific crafts. The story follows their education in their chosen fields, and growing up. It was a fast read, with interesting characters. It seems to be aimed at people in their early teen years, or younger.
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LibraryThing member alwright1
A group of very different young people who have lost much in the last year are thrown together in Discipline cottage where they discover they all have one very unusual thing in common.

This is the first time I've read one of Tamora Pierce's "Circle" books after tearing through her entire Tortall
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series last summer. This series is definitely for a younger audience. So far, I prefer the adventure of the other series, but I enjoy the characters in this one, too, and I'm sure the group here will get into plenty of mischief as they age. I'm excited about seeing what happens next.
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LibraryThing member urph818
While Sandry's book's written for a YA group of 15 years old or younger. I thoroughly loved listening to this audio book! Sandry, who comes to the Winding Circle community after she's found by Niko Goldeneye, a mage, hidden in a Cupboard following a small pox epidemic that killed her parents. She,
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like the other children found by Niko didn't always test out for magical skills and none of them follow the traditional forms of magic, but are believed to have hidden powers .Like anything Tamora Pierce writes, the magic is wonderfully described in this book. I won't give away the ending, but lets just say it was very stirring and refreshing that the scope of their powers were personal and real. I loved how they came together at the end to save themselves and one another, and bonded as friends only can.
Jack Murphy
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LibraryThing member humouress
The Magic in the Weaving by Tamora Pierce

(First of 8: Winding Circle series / First of 4: Circle of Magic series. Fantasy)

Gentle tale of children discovering mage powers

I see that this is also called Sandry’s Book although it doesn’t seem to me to be hers any more than any of the other three
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children who have all been sought out by the mage Niko and given shelter at Winding Circle Temple. Sandry, who has lost her family in the plague, is interested in weaving though this is considered below one of her noble birth; dark-skinned Daja has also lost her family but in a shipwreck - she is fascinated by metalwork which is anathema to Trader-born like her; street-kid Briar has an affinity for plants and they seem to love him, too; and red-headed Tris has been given up by her family because the weather seems to behave strangely around her.

They are all given a new home at Winding Circle and gradually come to realise that there is magic in the things that they love and that they are mages. Not really a spoiler because there are some fairly broad hints dropped from the beginning for the readers and the title spells it out, rather.

Despite their rough beginnings, they learn to work together and with their new community as well as with nature and natural laws as they learn how to control their newly discovered powers. Niko seems to have gathered them for a reason but we are not really told why in this book; it's something to look forward to finding out in the following books.

A gently paced story, suitable for juvenile readers which promotes the idea of working in harmony.

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LibraryThing member StarKnits
Of course i enjoyed this book Sandry learns to spin and weave!
LibraryThing member Rosemarie.Herbert
I originally reviewed this book on my blog - The Cosy Dragon. For more recent reviews by me, please hop over there.

Briar, Tris, Daja and Sandry hae been left without their close families and packed off to Winding Circle. All from very different backgrounds, and initially it seems like Sandry is the
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only one making an effort to spin them together. It's a great children's book.

The majority of this book is each of the characters finding themselves and their magic. It is a foreign concept to them that magic can be anything other than special words for a love spell, or an alarm spell for protecting special trees. I can easily see the magic in the simple things, such as growing plants. Some people have green thumbs!

Although the point of view is split between each of the four children, it still reads nicely, and I was able to get attached to each of them. If there was a fault in this book, it would be that I felt like Briar's character didn't get enough air time.

Something that struck me about the new titles for the books (each after the four main characters) was that they no longer really do justice to the story. I wouldn't have said that this first book was specifically about Sandry, it is more of an introduction to all four of them.

I couldn't tell you what attracted me to the book in the first place, because I've read it so many times that it is just comforting to me to read it. It is a very short read, I can read it in 1-2 hours, but younger readers would probably take longer. I've been reading and rereading this book for years now. I can still remember checking out ragged old copies of it from the high school library! Back then, it was called the far more descriptive 'The Magic in the Weaving'. Or now, a quick google tells me that that's the UK version and this is a USA version that I have. Anyway, I think it's unfair to call it 'Sandry's Book', as it is about the other three as well.

This book is certainly suitable for children, and some teens as well. No blood or guts, just If you're like me, and encountered this book earlier in your life, do you still love it just the same?
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LibraryThing member a-shelf-apart
I was always more of a Tortall girl, but I’m coming back to this series and remembering how much I love these characters too.

It’s interesting how age changes how I see the kids - I always related more to cranky bookworm Tris when I was a tweenager (with a bit of a crush on Briar, shush) by this
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time around I’m loving Sandry and her stubborn friendship and good humour.

Looking forward to revisiting the rest of the series.
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LibraryThing member bookbrig
Something about this story just didn't pull me in as much as Pierce's Tortall books. It's not bad, and there were parts I really enjoyed. I simply didn't love it as much as her other works. I may give the next in the series a try to see if it grows on me though.
LibraryThing member Linyarai
I love this series, this was a perfect introduction to all the characters and their world.
LibraryThing member DzejnCrvena
Took me two days to finish it because I had to reread the whole thing. If people ask if I like it, I'd say "it's okay". I can't say I like the story or prtoagonists that much (because I was not).
Two characters, Daja and Tris, get mixed up in my memory because they almost have similar personality.
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Sandry and Briar stand out in the group. I feel bad for giving the story a low rating; it's actually nice, I just got bored from 25% onwards. Too dense writing? I don't know how my younger self would enjoy it.
Why did I even read it? I just want to accomplish my main booklist goals that took me almost adecade to finish.
If you like it, then good. I may still recommend it for young-at-heart, adventure-loving readers.
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LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
I felt that this book started very, very strongly - enough so that I ordered up the 3 sequels when I was only about a third of the way through it.
Unfortunately, I felt that as the story progressed, it got much more formulaic - a group of young people are brought to a magic school by a mysterious
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but wise mentor, and each discovers that one 'element' of nature is their particular specialty, as far as magical talent.
Feel like you might have read something like that before? Probably.
However, the tale-telling is both charming and entertaining enough that I do plan on reading all 3 sequels. They go quickly, too.
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