So I’m working through the Circle Opens quartet as part of TBR Intervention despite not having read the Circle of Magic quartet. Magic Steps and Street Magic were easy to read on their own, but I decided to go back and read the original series before continuing in order to better appreciate the maturation of the characters.
“With her gift of weaving silk thread and creating light, Sandry is brought to the Winding Circle community. There she meets Briar, a former thief who has a way with plants; Daja, an outcast gifted at metalcraft; and Tris, whose connection with the weather unsettles everyone, including herself. At Winding Circle, the four misfits are taught how to use their magic – and to trust one another. But then disaster strikes their new home. Can Sandry weave together four kinds of magical power and save herself, her friends, and the one place where they’ve ever been accepted?”
Pub Date: 1997
Sandry, Briar, Daja and Tris are young children (around ten) who are discovered and brought to the Winding Circle in order to learn to control their unusual forms of magic. The beginning of the book was very disjointed, with scenes for each character’s discovery by Niko. At first, I thought Niko had found them all on the same trip and was collecting them into a group before going to the Winding Circle, but then I realized each flashback was a different time period, though they were all jumbled together.
I enjoyed the childrens’ very antagonistic relationship, as they all came from different worlds and were prone to mistrust. Daja and Tris are inclined to dislike each other, Tris doesn’t trust Briar not to steal her things, Briar doesn’t want to be anyone’s friend, and Sandry wants to be everyone’s friend. As they settled into knowledge of their powers and learned to get along, they became gradual friends. Even at the end of the first book, they were still fighting every now and then.
Pierce stated that she wanted to write about craftsmanship magic for this series, where the characters have talents and abilities having to do with ordinary, everyday tasks like sewing and metalwork. It’s different, but still incredibly powerful, and Pierce really digs into each area and shows how the children can use thread, plants, metal, and weather to work insanely cool magic.
I’ll confess that I’m dissatisfied with the titles for this quartet. Sandry’s Book wasn’t really about Sandry so much as all the children and their journey coming into their power and bonding with their mentors. Also, as a title, that’s boring. (Sorry, Tamora Pierce, nothing personal.) Scholastic should’ve gone with the UK titles: “The Magic in the Weaving” for this installment.
All in all, this was a fine book, although I don’t feel as connected to the characters as I usually do with a Pierce novel. (There are more of them, and they’re very young, so perhaps it’s just me?) 3 stars!