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Battle Magic

Battle Magic

4.4 24
by Tamora Pierce

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NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tamora Pierce's long-awaited return to the magical world of Winding Circle -- now in paperback.

The drums of war are beating . . .

Mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are visiting the mystical mountain kingdom of Gyongxe when they are suddenly called away. The emperor of Yanjing has invited them to see his glorious gardens.


NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tamora Pierce's long-awaited return to the magical world of Winding Circle -- now in paperback.

The drums of war are beating . . .

Mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are visiting the mystical mountain kingdom of Gyongxe when they are suddenly called away. The emperor of Yanjing has invited them to see his glorious gardens. During their brief stay, though, the mages see far more than splendid flowers. They see the emperor's massive army, his intense cruelty, and the devastating magic that keeps his power in place.

When the mages discover the emperor's plans to invade Gyongxe, they race to protect its treasured temples. But duty, magic, and terror threaten to drive them apart. With time running out, can the mages come together to save their spiritual home?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for BATTLE MAGIC:

"Pierce combines wonderful characterization with unique magic, realms, and creatures to create a splendid tale." --SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

"Another winning companion to Pierce's highly successful Circle Quartet and Circle Opens fantasy franchises." --HORN BOOK

"A satisfying, thought-provoking read." --BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Publishers Weekly
In this exciting standalone novel that follows the events of Street Magic (2001), the plant mage Rosethorn and her students Briar and Evvy travel to Gyongxe, a Tibetlike mountain kingdom rife with gods and magic. They are then summoned to the larger neighboring Yanjing empire where the Emperor wants Rosethorn to visit his glorious flower gardens. The three mages soon realize that the Emperor is a monster who will torture or kill anyone who crosses him and who, having conquered the lands to the north, has decided to take Gyongxe. Rosethorn and her students flee Yanjing and join the smaller kingdom’s fight for survival. Pierce continues to use magic creatively (“He glanced at the wall paintings. The people and the creatures in them leaned forward.... the nagas, the winged lions, the giant spiders... were wriggling, as if they meant to peel themselves free”) and her protagonists, although not without thorns, are easy to love. The author’s many fans, the first generation of which have now grown to adulthood, should help make this tale as successful as earlier books set in the Circle universe. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Tamora Pierce returns to her Winding Circle series, but instead on writing the latest in the sequence of stories about mages who specialize in conjuring magic from plants and rocks, she writes a book in the middle. The book is advertised as a "Stand alone" but it very much relies on the knowledge of past characters, plot devices, and specific magical talents. Even if you are an ardent fan of Pierce, Street Magic, the book this story fulfills, was published in 2001 so it is likely the reader will have to revisit the earlier book to recall characters. Rosethorne, a teacher mage who specializes in plant magic, is traveling with Briar and Evvy, her students. Evvy is a gifted stone mage, able to discern to magic and enchantments trapped in stones. Her gifts impress the Emperor Weishu, the evil leader of the kingdom of Yangjing, a land that resembles China. So evil is the Emperor that he has imprisoned the prince of a rival kingdom in chains and a cage. Soft-hearted Evvy employs magic to released Parahan, the prince, and potentially incurring the wrath on Weishu. Parahan returns to his kingdom and promises to repay his debt to the mages by alerting them to an approaching war between the emperor and the land of Gyongye. Meanwhile, Rosethorne takes seriously her vow to defend Gyongye and sets a path to return home to confront the marauding Emperor. If you are a fan of Pierce's prolific fantasies and have the patience to flip back and forth to the glossary of imaginative vocabulary, this book will undoubtedly enchant you. However, if you start in the without reading earlier books, you will feel slightly at sea as stones move and flowers enchant with unfamiliar abilities. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Beth Karpas
This is the story of a war on the other side of the world, which Evvy, Briar, and Rosethorn fight. The three mages are traveling. Evvy is twelve, Briar, sixteen. Rosethorn, their adult mentor, is just six years past her brush with death. The trio has been away from home for two years and has only Yanjing to visit before heading home. They leave Gyongxe, ruled by a boy god-king who channels the voices of gods and listens to his people, and enter Yanjing, an empire under the complete and utter control of one truly evil man who thinks he is more than a god. The three mage travelers turn into mage warriors, not by choice, but by the need created by their own senses of friendship and honor. There is a certain joy in being able to return to a story you thought was finished, to revisit characters and learn bits of their history you did not know, knowing in advance they had lived to tell the tale. That is the pleasure awaiting Pierce’s fans in Battle Magic. The book, which takes place in the middle of the Circle Opens series, is complete within itself with well-developed characters and a solid plot which will win Pierce new fans who are in the enviable position of having all her other books yet to read. This is a graphic tale, not for the squeamish, but for those who are willing to travel through the slavery, torture, and horrendous battles with the mages, there are amazing creatures and new magic to discover in this enjoyable read. Reviewer: Beth Karpas; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
Pierce continues to fill gaps in her Circle of Magic sequence—here sending three of her mages eastward to defend the (Tibet-ish) land of Gyongxe against an invasion from (China-esque) Yanjing. Falling chronologically between the events in Street Magic (2001) and Melting Stones (2008), the tale focuses on plant mages Rosethorn and Briar and stone mage Evumeimei. They travel from small but mountainous Gyongxe to the rich palace of Emperor Weishu in Evvy's adjacent homeland and then back in a series of battles and tests of both magic and character. Though the popular author's prose and pacing are as fluent as ever, her efforts to elaborate on or at least disguise her cultural models are, at best, cursory, and her plotting is likewise paint-by-numbers. Having trotted from pillar to post, the central trio splits up at the story's exact center so that Evvy can go off to a first meeting with the animate mountain's heart that will be her traveling companion in later adventures, while Rosethorn and Briar essentially march in place, from a narrative standpoint anyway. The three reunite in time to see Weishu and his teeming armies engage Gyongxe's many major and minor gods in a climactic battle. Pierce herself has teeming armies of fans, guaranteeing that this routine, cozily predictable outing will be a huge seller. (map, glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Tamora Pierce is the critically acclaimed author of nearly thirty novels, including the Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens quartets; The Will of the Empress; Melting Stones; and, most recently, the New York Times bestselling Beka Cooper trilogy. In 2013, she was honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. She lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband, Tim, her rescued cats, and two parakeets. Visit her online at www.tamorapierce.com.

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Battle Magic 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Same plot, not done as well. I was VERY pleased to meet the Heart of the Mountain though. The worst part is that she skipped over one of the more interesting sideplots - Rosethorn's mission, and skipped over the opportunity to have anything very interesting happen with Briar's increased magical senses. I am still looking forward to Tris' adventures at University.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of Tamora's best. It explains so much that appears in the other two Circle Reforged books. Leaves you guessing even though the end result is known if you have read the other two books. (trying not to spoil for anyone). I highly recommend for all Tamora fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ever since I read The Will of The Empress, I've always been curious about what exactly happened to Briar, Evvy, and Rosethorn in Gyongxe. I was very excited when I found out there was going to be a book about it. I don't really know what I was expecting, but I can say it wasn't was depressing as I thought it would be. I think the worst part was over about half-way through. It follows the pattern of all the other "circle" books, so the really exciting bits don't come until the last 100 pages or so. It's not a book about fighting or a war so much as about the choices that were made during the fighting. With this I can say I've read probably every book Tamora Pierce has written and I recommend this book to anyone who has read and enjoyed the "circle" books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting, well crafted story, geared towards youngsters. Since I am not a youngster, I found Evvy's continuous whining and overdone naivite quite irritating. I much prefer the other girls from Rosethorn's dwelling to E vvy, and hope they will figure more prominently in future books.
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Kinneret_Katz More than 1 year ago
I expect better from Tamora Pierce, one of my favorite authors. This book was supposed to explain the PTSD Briar clearly shows in "Will of the Empress" and Evvy shows in "Melting Stones." While I feel Evvy's torture was sufficient and Rosethorn certainly suffered a bit, Briar's excuse for PTSD fell flat. He has lived on the streets, withstood a city-wide epidemic, fought pirates... one "typical" war shouldn't have made such an impact on him. And this is not to say I like torture scenes-- I hate them, but was willing to whether the book anyway for Briar's, Rosethorn's, and Evvy's sakes. However, it's a matter of believability, and I'm sorry to say that the "trauma" just fell through. Honestly, if this book was written by anyone else, I would give it 3 stars. It was well-written and well-crafted. But I am disappointed to have been let down by an author I hold in such high esteem. This was certainly below average for you, Tamora Pierce, and possibly even poor.
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vwhis More than 1 year ago
A pretty good book to read as it filled in from the previous series. I recommend this book in an addendum. Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors of all time....
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silverarrowknits More than 1 year ago
This is a tricky book to review, because I was not the intended audience. When I saw this book I got excited, because I have heard great things about Tamora Pierce. Unfortunately, this book was probably not the best place for me to start. This book is set in the middle of a longstanding book series within the Emelan universe. I was already supposed to have a relationship with Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy going into this book. I did not though, because I had not read the other books, so I took a long time to care about these characters. In fact by the end I only really cared about Luvo (a heart of the mountain god that they meet along the way) and Evvy. I am sure that if you are already familiar with these characters, you would have settled more quickly into this book than I did. You probably would have cared more about the rest of the plot too. I just focused on pushing through the book and hoping that I would start to like it better. Even though the characters and plot were not that interesting to me, I kept reading the book, because the magic and world building were amazing. Briar and Rosethorn use plant magic and Evvy uses stone magic. I would be interested in reading other books in this universe to learn about other ambient mages. I feel that this magic system opens up the possibility to all sorts of magic that you don't traditionally see, or at least magic that I typically don't see in books. I would love to see some fiber arts related magic and music magic too. I love the idea that magic can be based on crafts and the environment. Note: This book has a brief torture scene involving a child. Additionally, some animals are killed. I understand why these scenes are in the book. They fit in well with showing the cruelty of one of the characters. At the same time, I personally do not like reading torture scenes even if they are brief and "not too awful." I am not sure, if I would have have tried to win this book, if I knew that these things happened in this book. Again, these scenes are not gruesome by any means. I work with people who have experienced abuse in their lives, so I typically do not care to read about it for my fun reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She jumps up on the high log and looks down at everybody. "Greetings, and welcome to the first anual clan games. All leaders must meet me in the leaders circle, the next res. You must tell me who your competitors are for wich competitions. All are welcome and i hope you enjoy the games. May you have good luck."
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He walks in* ...