Edit: Do you remember like two years ago when I was rereading all the Tamora Pierce books that were, like, my life in middle school? Me neither, but apparently that was totally something that happened. I finished reviews for a bunch of books too, that for some reason I never posted. I found them in my drafts folder today, so here they are! In case you were waiting on the edge of your seat to see how this series ended. Sorry about that.
Woo!! Powered through The Circle Opens series! [Edit: LOL] Clearly I like the Circleteers way better when they are either separate or older. Probably both! Of course, I liked this book the best since it’s about Tris, my favorite Circleteer of them all. Here are some reasons why she is awesome: 1) Weather magic=clearly the best magic, 2) she likes books, 3) she is generally annoyed at others, which is a welcome relief from the other suspiciously cheerful Circleteers, and 4) fat kid solidarity. Luckily Tamora Pierce didn’t harp too much on how Tris is The Fat One in this book. The cover art at least doesn’t seem to think it’s that bad:
Tris and her teacher, the fabulous Niko, are traveling far to the South in a city that has a ton of glassblowers and also a rigid caste system. Tris witnesses an inept journeyman glassblower magically create a living glass dragon by accident! And then have a tantrum about how NO HE DOESN’T HAVE MAGIC GO AWAY. Keth is probably the most interesting Circleteer student-mage of the series, because he’s at least 20! Luckily, Tris is the bossiest person in all of Circleteer-land so this is not really a problem. The main conflict in this book is a lot like Magic Steps (Book 1) in that there is a crazy murderer loose in the city and only Tris and Keth can bring him/her to justice! Unlike in Book 1, we never get anything from the murderer’s point of view, meaning his identity remains a mystery until the very end! Good job, Tamora Pierce, you have successfully navigated the crime/mystery genre! Instead, we occasionally get passages from the point of view of Dema, police mage who, damn it, is going to CLEAN UP THIS CITY no matter what it takes! He reminded me a lot of a less dead Wulfric Snaptrap and less seedy Sam Vimes. Plus, Tris has TWO adorable animal companions, who somehow don’t even annoy me at all!
Best New Character: Dema, the police mage!
Dema is from the First Class, which apparently means he is super noble and takes it as his role to protect the lesser classes. Since the murderer is going after street dancing girls, no one else seems to think it’s a problem, but he will not rest until the killer is stopped! Even if it means pissing off all of the city’s priests, who hate justice. The only thing missing was for him to constantly mutter about how he was too old for this.
Returning Character Honorable Mention: Nikolaren Goldeye!
Tris’ teacher is ALL ABOUT wearing the fanciest clothes possible and pretty much owning everyone at magic, which sounds like my dream job. He’s basically Numair from the Immortals series, without all that troubling pedophilia. Thanks for not making a pass at Tris, Niko! Since you’re in a Tamora Pierce book, I know it’s a constant danger you must guard against.
Tris’ Improvement Score: +0%=100/100
Oh, Tris. Never change.
Thing I Most Wish Was Real: Pet Winds
So with Tris’ weather magic, she can basically control winds. She uses them for all kinds of awesome things, most noticeably as personal, portable air conditioning in the hot climates, and one time to fly her up a flight of stairs. My goals in life include flying and never having to sweat again, so I am psyched about both.
Tris is exploring Tharios! She asks a garbage collector for directions, and the girl yells at her because she’s one of the Untouchables, a hated caste who handle gross things. You’re supposed to just ignore them! Tris thinks this is bullshit. She stumbles upon a glassblower who clears doesn’t know what he’s doing! He accidentally creates a magical glass dragon, and then tries to kill it! Tris saves the glass dragon and yells at the guy for not controlling his magic. The guy yells back that he has no magic and then breaks some things. Keth the glassblower backstory: he used to be a great glassblower whom everyone loved, but then he was struck by lightning and now he can’t do it anymore without screwing up! Boo hoo! His family kicked him out and now he lives with his glassblowing cousin trying desperately to regain his lost talent. Dema, police mage, is haunted by the ghosts of murdered dancing girls, demanding he find their killer!! Their bodies are always strangled and left dramatically in public places! Apparently Tharios is terrified of death and uncleanliness and the priests have to purify every place a body was found ASAP, which makes it impossible to dust for prints or whatever magical detectives do. He is super annoyed! Read the rest of this entry »