Cold Fire (Circle Opens, Book 3)

by Tamora Pierce

Paperback, 2003



Local notes

PB Pie




Scholastic Paperbacks (2003), Edition: Reprint, 355 pages


While studying with her teacher Frostpine in the northern land of Namorn, Daja helps the twin daughters of her host family discover their own magic and uses her powers to track an deadly arsonist.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

355 p.; 4.25 x 1 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member librisissimo
Substance: Excellent depiction of the progression of a hero to mass-murderer. The villain shows far more depth than the heroine.
Oddity: Pierce apologizes to PETA-friends who might be offended that the novel's characters wear furs in a pseudo-medieval northern climate. She does not apologize to
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anyone for executing a rather horrible death penalty.
In the other novels of this series, she has no qualms about letting the protagonists decide unilaterally to execute malefactors (nevermind that the villains unquestionably deserve their fates). Seems a tad unbalanced to me.
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LibraryThing member maita
Young Daja Kisubo travels with her Master Smith in search of training in the real world. Instead, Daja ends up the one training others. The twins of the host family she is staying with have magical abilities of the most specific kind. One is a cook mage and the other is wood mage.
Apart from that,
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trouble plagues the little town she visits. An Arson is loose and is wreaking havoc.
Nobody knows fire well enough except Daja. Working a forge gives her the understanding needed to track a killer and bring him to justice.
The story is more grown up than the previous quartet. Here, there is death and gore and the evilness of man. It is no longer s children's book.
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LibraryThing member hoosgracie
Daja has been traveling with Frostpine and they are spending the winter in Namorn with his friends. When she discovers the twins in the family have magic, she must find them teachers and teach them meditation herself. Meanwhile, because the city is built of wood, fire is a problem. She meets Bennat
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Ladradun, a local businessman who lost his family in a fire and is now a firefighter. When someone starts setting fires, they work together to stop them.Excellent book in the series.
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LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
This story had been bugging me for a while - I was remembering bits and trying to figure out how they went together. So I reread it. It's just as good as I remembered. Daja learns - well, several new things, but especially that she needs to rein in her judgment - not assume that someone is nice
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because she likes them. The setting is interesting, too. And this is the only Circle Opens story where the student(s) are largely irrelevant to the plot - neither of them either are the problem or cause it, they're just a (major) side-issue. I don't know why, but I think this is my favorite of the Circle Opens stories.
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LibraryThing member chibimajo
This is the most creepy and twisted Pierce book I've read so far. Daja and Frostpine are in the cold, cold north, where most of the houses are built from wood. Daja finds magic in the twin daughters of the family they're staying with and must teach them how to meditate and find teachers for them in
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town. She also befriends a local, Ben, who is teaching about firefighting in their country. But he's also a twisted, diseased man who is deliberately setting fires to teach his townsfolk the importance of his techniques. Didn't realize Tamora could write like that. Compelling.
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LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
As with most of the Circle books, there are so many plots and sub-plots going on that it's difficult for any of them to get the depth they deserve. In this book, Daja and her teacher Frostpine are visiting a city to the north. Daja discovers the daughters of their hosts have magical abilities, so
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they need to be taught, so she needs to find teachers for them and teach them meditation. There are lots of fires going on in the city and Daja starts developing a friendship with a man named Ben who set up a fire brigade, and she decides to make living metal gloves for him so he can be more effective in rescuing people. The aforementioned daughters are teaching her to ice skate. Frostpine is investigating counterfeit coins.

And so on.

Most of the plots overlap or converge at some point, but still it just seems like the book is too short to hold it all. Also, there is a mystery that the reader learns the answer to early in the book and the characters don't discover until near the end. I found that disconcerting and I would have preferred it handled differently.

For all its flaws, it's not a bad book, just one I think could have been better. I enjoy it nonetheless; Daja is one of my favorite Circle characters - maybe I relate to her because of the metalsmithing, and also the Circle characters have less of a tendency toward Mary Sueishness than the Tortall women.
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
I wouldn't start with this book--it's not a standalone. There is a prior quartet, Circle of Magic that introduces four young people who become friends and train together in magic, Sandry, Tris, Briar, and the protagonist of this book, Daja. After that quartet of books, in The Circle Opens series,
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each goes off into their own, and the order you read those four becomes unimportant. I find Daja and her mentor in this novel appealing, but also the very milleu this story is set in. I had fun guessing if this were set in a quasi-Scandinavia, or if Russia or Holland were the inspiration. I found the look at medieval firefighting (and firebug) also intriguing. The story itself is an interesting character study. The "villain" of this piece is not who or what one might expect and this works as a fine mystery as well as fantasy adventure.
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LibraryThing member FolkeB
Cold Fire, a fantasy novel set in Tamora Pierce's Magic Circle universe, follows Daja Kisubo through her life after she arrives in the northern city of Namorn. The book is one in a quartet of books that acts as a sequel to another quartet set in the same universe. The first set of books follows
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four young people as they learn to use their magic, and this second series centers around the (now) teenagers undertakings in new locations as they begin to travel and find their own students. Cold Fire sees Daja discovering two students she must train in the use of their magic, while she gets more involved in a dangerous series of fires that has been plaguing the town. Daja must attempt to balance her responsibilities to her students with the risks of her involvement in the suspected arsons that quickly grow out of control throughout the novel.

With quick pacing and a budding mystery, Pierce has created a novel that will not only grab young readers attention, but also manages to keep it. Throughout the novel a mix of confused feelings, responsibilities and concerns about the future keep Daja relatable to younger readers, but the focus remains on the plot, not romance. Pierce create wonderful female characters who maintain their integral place in the novels, instead of becoming part of a romance storyline. Though the novel may be alienating to some who have no previous knowledge of the series, it could be read alone, though some sections may end up confusing to the new reader.

Though occasionally repetitive, the heroines of Pierce's novels provide strong female role models who provide an image for girls that is not always seen in young adult fiction that centers on fantasy and adventure. Pierce creates these characters not at the expense of the men in the series, but as strong equals to them, and Daja is no exception. In addition to the story itself, Cold Fire provides strong female characters within the framework of a compelling, and beautifully created world.

Liz K.
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LibraryThing member alwright1
Daja travels north where she discovers two young mages and helps in a series of dangerous fires.

I hadn't realized just how violent this series was until this book made me think about all of them together. So far all of the children have had not only to deal with personal deaths among their families
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and friends, but also with serious questions about dealing with battle and dangerous criminals. For a series that I had really considered to be a children's adventure series that made me happy, it can be fairly dark. Still, the relationships that pull the kids through these times are what makes the series still full of love. I'll read the final book of this quartet now, and the following books are for audiences who are a bit older. I'm looking forward to them, as well.
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LibraryThing member ashooles
I really enjoyed the third installment in this quartet. The setting was lovely, and gave a very nice feel of the cold winter and the ice and snow. I enjoyed the Bancanors and the twins Daja was teaching meditation. Of the three so far, this would definitely have to be my favourite.
LibraryThing member susan259
This is probably my least favorite Pierce book. There is such an odd sour and bitter and creepy feeling to the whole thing that doesn't appear in her other work (evil yes, this no.). It feels forced and manipulative to me.
LibraryThing member wealhtheowwylfing
Hell. Yes.

Daja's book in the original Circle books was probably my favorite of the series, and her book in the second series is equally excellent. Just to give you some idea: I started this book when I got on the elliptical, and didn't get off until I was finished. Even for me, reading an entire
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novel takes awhile, but I was too wrapt to notice the time going by. That's how enthralling this book is.

Daja Kisubu and her teacher Frostpine have come to a series of islands to learn more metal magic. The islands are frozen most of the year, and Frostpine spends most of the book kvetching about the cold (even going so far as to meditate naked in the kitchen hearth fire, much to the kitchen staffs' amazement). Amusingly, it seems he chose his name without realizing quite how cold it gets where frostpines live. Daja is having the time of her life learning to iceskate and make metal filigree. Like the other members of the Circle, she stumbles upon an undiscovered ambient mage--and her equally magical twin sister. Unlike her friends, she manages to find teachers for their cooking and carpentry magic, but still takes on teaching them meditation. Unfortunately, what works for one twin is precisely the wrong method for the other, and vice versa. But Daja grits her teeth and bends to the task--even though it takes her away from her other interest, creating protective metal gloves for the city's head fire-fighter. Her work is particularly important, because an escalating series of fires has begun to strike the islands, and the firefighters and she are called upon to increasing heroics.

And wow, but Daja is a heroine for the ages.

review tbc
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LibraryThing member fred_mouse
* Review contains spoilers*

This is a young adult series, about a quartet of young mages who have come to the powers early and strong. It would appear that each of the books of this series stand alone very well - I have previously read book 4, with little or no problems due to lack of back story.
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This one started out very confusing, because it took me a couple of chapters to work out that the main character is *not* the same as in book 4! Fairly simple plot, no attempt to hide who the bad guy is, so there is the pleasure of watching the characters work it out. This is very well done, as to begin with the main character, Daja (a metal mage), has a great deal of respect for the bad guy, and the progress of this turning to distrust has been beautifully written
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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.

Daja and her teacher Frostpine have gone far into the wintery cold so that Daja can learnt from other metal mages. Like the other 2 books in this quartet, she unexpectedly finds
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herself teaching meditation and finding the gifted children the teachers they need. To complicate things there is an arsonist afoot, and Daja doesn't know which of her feelings to trust.

Once again, it is the teaching element of this novel that really makes me like it. It's great how Pierce has changed things up a bit about meditation because there are only so many descriptions of measured counting that a reader can put up with.

Daja really matures in this book. Although she is usually more adult than say Tris or Briar, occasionally she isn't as driven as Sandry to show off a good front. Here you can see that she really is a 14 year old in some ways (like trusting friends) but an adult in others (being concerned for her students who are only a couple of years younger than her).

The fires in this book aren't exactly nice to read about, particularly as they become more sinister and kill more people. It's nice though that Pierce constantly challenges the assumption that magic can fix everything. Sometimes it is also part of the problem!

The ending is a little too neat for my liking, but it's not bad. And it will keep you reading, no doubts about that. I would recommend this book again for children and teenagers. Pierce avoids describing anything too sinister, but perhaps those children with very active imaginations should take care not to read before bedtime. I wouldn't recomend reading it just before bedtime anyway, because you'll get too stuck into it and stay up late! This book is slightly longer than the others, and my copy has tiny font to make up for that.
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LibraryThing member Linyarai
This is one of my favorite series, I really enjoy these 4 as they get older and experience different things.

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