Tris’s Book: A wonderful character

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Circle of Magic 2 Tris's Book Tamora PierceTris’s Book by Tamora Pierce

This volume is the second in a four-part series called Circle of Magic and is also titled The Power in the Storm. Set in a fantasy realm over a one-year period, Tamora Pierce tells the story of four young mages who are brought together to live at the temple community of Winding Circle, to control and properly use their various powers.

The children couldn’t be more different, but their studies bring them closer together till they are bonded magically (unbeknown to their four mentors), each sharing in the other’s unique magic. Pierce claims that her inspiration comes from the olde-world handicrafts that are dying from our own world, such as weaving and metalcraft. Such things are channeled through into the mage’s powers, with the exception of Tris who is a ‘weather witch’ and can hear voices on the wind.

Summersea is still recovering from the earthquake of the previous book, but the damage done to the harbour defenses mean that Winding Circle is vulnerable to pirates. The children at Disciple Cottage are called upon to help strengthen the damaged buildings, and it is then that the pirates appear on the seas — and they have their eyes fixed on the riches of the temple. Once again, it comes down the children to rescue their beloved home — which isn’t easy considering their is a betrayer in their midst…

The tension and claustrophobia of the temple is vividly created, and the pain that the pirates caused heartbreaking. Most of the action concerns the mages and their teachers preparing the de fences, though I have to say that when the climactic moment comes, it’s over rather quickly. The turncoat within Winding Circle is obvious, and the subplot involving Tris caring for a baby bird is interesting, but a little needless.

However, the human element is something that Pierce is great at capturing and she does so here extremely well. Tris is a wonderful character, and perhaps the most vivid and interesting of all four of the children. Plump, with glasses, red frizzy hair and a bad temper, this bookworm has a prickly personality that often puts her at odds with most people, and she infinitely prefers a book to human company. Estranged from her unloving family, she is only now beginning to open up to the feelings of human affection. But it doesn’t help that the weather churns up whenever she looses her temper.

Each book also explore one of the friendships between the four, and this one mostly concerns Briar and Tris. The fact that such opposites, from such different walks of life can become friends is immensely touching. The other two children have segments of the book dedicated to them, and the bond between all of them is deep and realistic.

Not the best Pierce has to offer, and yet still a pleasant read with Pierce’s ability to create the shades of grey in what could easily be a black and white novel.


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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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