SANDRY’S BOOK (Circle of Magic #1)
By: Tamora Pierce
Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️’s
Synopsis: 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?
When I decided to participate in Nori’s Tamora Pierce Challenge, I thought I would start with the Emelan Universe books. I was tempted to read the Tortall books first – which I absolutely LOVE – but I thought I would try Tamora Pierce’s other series instead.
I first read Sandry’s Book back when I was in elementary school (after reading most of the Tortall books) and I didn’t like it at all. The magic system was really different from Pierce’s other series and the book had multiple POVs (4 in total). I found it boring and not that action-packed and I didn’t really like a couple of the characters. But now, having reread the book, I can say that it’s a lot better than I thought it would be going in a second time, HOWEVER, it’s definitely not my favourite of Pierce’s books.
The World – Emelan Universe:
I’m obsessed with books that come with maps! Like if I come across a book that has a map, it immediately somehow ends up on my to-reads shelf on Goodreads. *I have no idea how that happens???*
This is what the Circle Universe looks like:
The story mainly takes place at Winding Circle (directly south-east of Summersea), which is a temple of the Living Circle religion in Emelan. There you have dedicates, or teachers, who belong to either the Air, Earth, Water, or Fire Temples. Winding Circle is the home of a few great mages, including Rosethorn and Lark (who are dedicates responsible for Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar), as well as Niklaren Goldeye. The temple also houses children (who attend as students), as well as novices who apprentice under dedicates.
Overall, I really enjoyed the world-building. The only thing I wish that could have been included was a detailed map of Winding Circle, but you can find that in the second book in the series. As the reader, you get a little insight into the Circle world through the different backgrounds of each character and where they used to live before being brought to Winding Circle.
Speaking of the characters, I love how there’s so much diversity – Daja and Briar are both darker-skinned compared to Tris and Sandry, and there is definitely some conflict between Daja (whose a Trader) and Tris (whose a merchant), as well as Daja and other nobility in the book.
I also love how each character has his/her own individuality that makes them so unique. I will say that I found Tris’s character slightly annoying. I mean her lack of trust and anger definitely made sense because of her past, but it did bother me at times. I definitely think her character arc through the book was the greatest, which is a little weird considering the book is titled after Sandry. Briar has to be one of my favourite characters – he’s funny, likes to play pranks, and doesn’t like to follow the rules. Sandry is a really strong and confident character, but she also has her weaknesses. I just felt like the book didn’t focus a lot on her character, but was mostly focused on Daja and Tris.
The only problem I had about the plot was that it seemed a little too obvious where the story was going. The main characters didn’t really understand their powers and had no idea that they were actually mages until closer to the end of the book. As the reader it was quite clear that they were mages, but for some reason the characters were either in denial or just never seemed to consider that they had magic even when they were doing things that obviously weren’t normal.
Besides that there was a lot of foreshadowing of a big earthquake, and it made the ending quite predictable. I guess this partly had to do with the fact that I had read the book previously, but I forgot about how it ended. Reading through the book again, I definitely noticed all the big hints and knew what was going to happen.
The only other problem I had with the story was the lack of action. This is more of a personal complaint because I’m so used to the Tortall Universe, but this book definitely didn’t have a lot of “physical” action, but more “mind” action. There was one scene where the characters get into a huge fight with some boys in the Summersea market place that I really enjoyed, but besides that, the majority of the book focused on the magic process which is really a mental process and not a physical process (like waving the hand or using a wand…).
Overall, I really did enjoy the book and gave it a 3.5/5 ⭐️’s! I’m excited to see where the story goes from here 🙂