Early Book Review: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce is the third book in the Circle Reforged series, but in the sequence of events in the series this action takes place between Briar's story in Street Magic and Evvy's story in Melting Stones. As hinted at in Will of the Empress, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy have fought in an epic battle on their travels through the world.  Battle Magic tells the full story of their exploits. Disclaimer- I am a fangirl of this author and recommend her work to every child, teen, and adult that I can.

While visiting the first Circle temple in Gyongxi, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are invited to visit the emperor's summer palace and view the gardens. While they are initially treated like royalty, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxi and pose a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion. Accompanied by one of the emperor's prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxi to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With imperial soldiers hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle. But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?

If you have not read the other Circle books then you have no idea who any of these people are and should start reading with Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic, #1). If you do not want to start at the beginning, you can start here and enjoy the book, but it might take a while before you understand the interpersonal relationships and details of the world as a whole. I loved the detail of the characters and the growth each character faces. Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy each face personal challenges and are just such rich and deep characters that I was sad to see the book end. Even the 'secondary' characters were fully fleshed out and felt complete to me. I love the fact that Pierce can mention or allude to romantic relationships and not have to describe anything. She puts the complicated matter of love, in all of its incarnations, out there in a matter of fact way that is a refreshing change to so many other books but does not include anything that I would shield my youngest readers from while not talking down to older readers and adults. Likewise, she does not shy from the harsh realities of war and power hungry people, but it is done in a straight forward and deceptively simple manner. I am already eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the Circle Reforged series which is still unnamed but is scheduled for release sometime in 2015.

Every fan of Pierce should read Battle Magic. If you are not a fan then you need to start reading now. If you have not yet taken the time to read any of Pierce's books, then you should. If you like magic, characters that suck you in and feel real to you despite being in a very different world, and writing that is deceptively simple while not glossing over the realities of life then you should find the first book of any of her series and get reading. My first Pierce read was Tricker's Choice- but I have since read every single book that she has written. If you get started, you might find yourself doing the same. The book I would recommend starting with is Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1), because it was the book that started it all.
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