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Author: Pierce, Tamora
When messengers arrive in Gyongxe "inviting" Dedicate Initiate Rosethorn and her two young companion mages, Evumeimei and Briar, to court to celebrate the birthday of the Emperor of Yanjing, Rosethorn is eager to go, but Briar suspects that there is an ulterior motive behind the invitation.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 161816
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 28.0 Quiz: 61332
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/13)
School Library Journal (10/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/13)
The Hornbook (00/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2013 Gr 7 Up—Pierce returns to the world of the Winding Circle to relate the events that befell plant mages Briar and Rosethorn and Briar's student, stone mage Evvy, between The Will of the Empress (2005), Street Magic (2001), and Melting Stones (2007, all Scholastic). The book opens in the kingdom of Gyongxe where the trio watches shamans dancing to call forth statues from the mountainside. Soon afterward, an invitation arrives from the Emperor of Yanjing, the powerful nation that borders the mountainous, god-filled Gyongxe. They travel to the emperor's court to view his famous gardens but quickly learn that he is a cruel man who keeps slaves and punishes gardeners and plants alike for perceived failures. Evvy impulsively decides to free Parahan, an enslaved prince, and is assisted by Briar, who, as a former thief, knows how to pick a lock. In return Parahan lets them know that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxe. Rosethorn is bound by her oath as a dedicate of the Winding Circle to return to Gyongxe and warn them of the invasion, and Briar and Evvy refuse to be left behind. The emperor has thousands of troops and mages trained in battle, but the friends can call on the plants and stones and Gyongxe has its own supernatural defenders. Pierce combines wonderful characterization with unique magic, realms, and creatures to create a splendid tale.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2013 In this standalone companion to her Circle of Magic series, Pierce chronicles the beginning of the war between the small mountain country of Gyonxe and the colonizing Yanjing, as referenced in The Will of the Empress (BCCB 1/06) and Melting Stones. Sixteen-year-old Briar, a renowned plant mage, and his mentor, the irascible Rosethorn, are joined by their twelve-year-old charge, Evvy, a spunky but powerful stone mage, as they journey to visit the famed gardens of the emperor of Yanjing. Once there, they realize the rumors of the emperor’s cruelty don’t do justice to the true ruthlessness of the man himself. After freeing one of his prisoners and tricking his guard, the three magicians flee the palace and travel to warn their friend, the God-King of Gyonxe, of the emperor’s plans to invade the God-King’s mountainous homeland. Despite the constant threats to the trio’s safety, the initial pace here is actually quite languid, allowing readers-particularly those unfamiliar with the other books in the series-to become immersed in the world and the various rules and religions that govern it. Evvy’s capture and interrogation by the emperor’s troops amp up the tension considerably and dramatically alter the emotional dynamic among the friends; suddenly, these three peace-loving magic wielders are consumed with vengeance and must balance their own desire for revenge with the responsibilities that their magic, and by extension the gods they believe in, force upon them. Indeed, faith and compassion are major themes here, set against a compelling war story that manages to capture the violence without glorifying it. Both familiar fans and readers just approaching Pierce’s canon will find this a satisfying, thought-provoking read. KQG - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.