Book Review: Battle Magic


battle magicTitle: Battle Magic
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy/YA 

I loved Pierce’s Beka Cooper trilogy, so I was excited to pick up her most recent book, Battle Magic. Not long into the book, I began to wonder if it was part of a series, but couldn’t find any indication on the cover that it was. Afterwards, I did some research and discovered that it’s a continuation of other Pierce books in the Circle universe. So now I need to read those.

Plot Summary

Have I mentioned that I hate plot summaries? I love going in not knowing anything. So the summaries I write are a bit skimpy. Anyway…

Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are three mages who are traveling in the East, visiting various realms and learning from other magicians. But they end up caught in a massive war and have to choose their allegiances.

Pros

The characters in this book are well-developed. I found them especially interesting not having the background of previous Circle books (apparently Rosethorn and Briar feature heavily in the earlier series). There’s good age difference – Evumeimei is 11, Briar is 16, and Rosethorn is some age of adult. That range provides a good variety of  perspectives.

The magic in this world is fantastic. She brings out tones of eastern mysticism, but with her own twist.

Pierce doesn’t shy away from the gruesomeness of battle. She’s writing a war and she doesn’t pull her punches. Things get very dark before the end.

Cons

It is dark. Younger readers might struggle with that, especially some of the things that happen to Evvy.

Magic pervades every aspect of the story (it is in the title, so that’s fair warning, honestly). If you don’t like magic, don’t read it.

Young people without parents. Always young people without parents. Rosethorn functions as something of a mother figure, but the stereotype of young characters without parents continues.

Overall, I would just say that this is not a book for especially young or innocent readers.

Conclusion

Great read, especially for those who enjoy fantasy or Tamora Pierce specifically. Lots of depth, a bit of fun, and a very engaging plot.

Have you read Pierce? What did you think?

Know other really good fantasy books? I would love to hear about them!

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