While at Gold Ridge castle to the north of Winding Circle, Daja and the three other mages-in-training who have become her friends develop their unique magical talents as they try to prevent a devastating forest fire from consuming everything in its path.
Original publication date
And that's not even all of it. It's just too much. The book should be half again as long to encompass it all, and all the Circle books are like that. But this is one of the two Circle books that I reread occasionally despite the problems, because certain parts of the storylines resonate with me.
At this point, if you've been reading the series all along you know exactly what to expect. We move between the points of view of Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar, who have now been at Winding Circle for five months. Their magic continues to tangle in interesting and new ways. This time, I was happy to see that what "normal" magic is supposed to be like is a little more fleshed out, though I'm not sure I really understand why their magic is supposed to be so surprising. I'm looking forward to reading Briar's Book, since he's my favorite character of the four.
Listened to the Full Cast Audio CD edition in October 2007. I cannot get over how much I'm enjoying listening to Pierce's catalog - I just wish all of her titles had already been released on audio. I know they're in the process but, what can I say, I guess I'm just not patient
I keep telling myself that I haven't fallen in love with these characters like I did the ones in Pierce's Tortall series, but
Daja's magical iron-wrought tree attracts the attention of a local Trader band. Although Daja is the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and thus shunned for fear of attracting bad luck, the iron tree is so unique that the Traders are willing to trade with her to get it. Daja is finally able to drink the tea of her childhood, and speak to people with the same cultural touchstones, and it makes her terribly homesick. More than ever, she's aware of how much she's lost. But in losing her family, she also found her magic--and that magic is what just might save the entire band.
I love this series, and I love Daja in particular, from her strong broad shoulders (rippling with the muscle of forge work) to her difficulty remembering&appreciating roots (from the physical ones of a plant to the metaphysical ones of magic).
Tris, Daja, Briar and Sandry are still great friends, and their magics are twining together just as well as before. Unfortunately, that means that plant mage Briar is getting sparks of
Daja is trangshi, which means that she is unable to communicate with her Trader kinfolk. Her smith magery gets out of hand, and she is able to create a beautiful growing tree, which is seen by the Traders in the area. They want to buy it - but noone is willing to communicate with Daja.
Just like the other books in this series, there is a focus on the plot pushing forwards.The majority of this book is from Daja's perspective, although the other three children also have parts. There is some character development, particularly for the children learning responsibility for their magics.
In this book, it is possible to see how magic can kill someone, because they are trying to stop the forces of nature. Certainly this is a theme brought back by Pierce multiple times, that the forces of nature will sometimes have their way, no matter what people try to do to stop them. I don't think it's a bad thing - those of us in the real world have to deal with things like earthquakes and fires without the aid of magic.
I think out of all of the Circle of Magic books, this one is my favourite. Ever since I started rereading these for the purpose of reviewing them, I have been dying to get to this one! Daja's character really speaks to me, even though I'm decidedly not black or built like a smith. Her insecurities and frustrations, as well as her motivations are really touching.
Suitable for children and teenagers alike, I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy and magic. You could read this book without having read the first two in the series, but you will then spoil some of the plot of those for yourself. This book takes place almost immediately after Tris's book, while everyone is still recovering from the pirates and earthquake.