Cold Fire (Circle Opens Series #3)

Cold Fire (Circle Opens Series #3)

4.4 68
by Tamora Pierce

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The third book in an extraordinary fantasy quartet by acclaimed fantasy author Tamora Pierce. Daja and Frostpine expect to spend some peaceful weeks with old friends in Namorn. But things begin to go awry as soon as they arrive. First Daja discovers that their hosts' twin daughters are mages. Then mysterious fires begin to blaze across the frigid city. Daja… See more details below


The third book in an extraordinary fantasy quartet by acclaimed fantasy author Tamora Pierce. Daja and Frostpine expect to spend some peaceful weeks with old friends in Namorn. But things begin to go awry as soon as they arrive. First Daja discovers that their hosts' twin daughters are mages. Then mysterious fires begin to blaze across the frigid city. Daja works with Bennat Ladradun, to locate what seems to be a serial arsonist. Daja's magic saves the city from going up in flames, but nothing and nobody can save her the disappointment of learning that the arsonist is someone close to her own heart.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This volume, part of the "Circle Opens" quartet, follows the adventures of Daja, a smith-mage introduced in the "Circle of Magic" quartet. Daja and her teacher, Frostpine, have journeyed to Kugisko, a frozen port city, to spend the winter with old friends of Frostpine's. When a home goes up in flames, Daja's special magical ability to control fire is put to the test. During the blaze, Daja meets Ben, a local hero who has dedicated himself to firefighting after losing his family to a fire. Larger and more deadly conflagrations follow, and it becomes clear they have been set deliberately. Daja and her fellow mages must use their magic to catch the arsonist before more people die. Along the way, Daja discovers magical talent among the twin girls in her host family, and becomes their teacher. Kugisko's winding streets, fancifully carved wooden homes, and frozen canals evoke 18th century Russia. The characters are refreshingly multiracial and the fire sequences are exciting. However, the book takes a very long time to get going, and the identity of the arsonist is given away almost immediately. The reader may find Daja's meditation lessons as tedious as the twin girls do. 2002, Scholastic Press, Turner
In book three of The Circle Opens, the second series about Briar, Sandry, Tris, and Daja, Pierce returns her focus to Daja Kisubo, one of four gifted teenage mages whose magic is amplified by nature. Daja is a smith-mage, whose magic attunes itself to metals and metal craft. Daja and her companion, Frostpine, travel to Kugisko, a group of islands in the snowy Namom region, intending to winter with the wealthy Bancanor family. While there, Daja discovers that the Bancanor twins, Nia and Jory, also possess ambient magic: carpentry and cooking magic respectively. Unwillingly, Daja undertakes their training, struggling to teach her disparate pupils lessons she herself so recently mastered. Another problem, however, soon captures Daja's attention. A maniacal arsonist is targeting Kugisko's numerous wooden buildings, and Daja's power is needed, both to fight the fires and to discover the culprit. Pierce's diligent attention to detail will delight fantasy readers. Kugisko is at once exotic and accessible. Daja steeps readers in a foreign, inviting culture, watching in disgust as her host strains her tea through jelly, and adapting slowly to the Kugisko custom of using skates as transportation. Although the villain's identity is predictable, Daja's naïve ignorance toward the guilty party is believable, given that the arsonist is the one kindred spirit that Daja discovers in Namom. Although seamless and satisfying, this installment is perhaps Pierce's darkest work, emphasizing Daja's distance from her friends, as well as her responsibility toward her magic and the gruesome consequences of its misuse. Nonetheless, Pierce fans will devour this addition to the series. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard toimagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Scholastic, 368p,
— Caitlin Augusta
Daja is one of four teenagers with magical powers whose adventures, as they learn to control their gifts, are chronicled in Pierce's earlier fantasy quartet, Circle of Magic. Each volume of this subsequent quartet, The Circle Opens, set in a period like our Middle Ages, tells how each of these teen moves out into the world and takes on a student. In Cold Fire, 14-year-old smith-mage Daja is studying her craft of metalworking in a cold northern city. She finds herself responsible for two students, a pair of challenging 12-year-old twins named Jory and Nia, and helps them learn to control their powers and find appropriate teachers. She also befriends a sad man named Ben, who lost his family in a fire and now devotes himself to putting out fires—or is he the one setting them? Stocky, strong, dark-skinned Daja is an admirable heroine, forceful, brave, and bold. There's lots of fire-fighting action in this tale, and some grisly fire-related deaths, along with Daja's fascinating ability to control fire and metal. Along with the engaging premises and the realistic relationships and dialogue, I like the down-to-earth emphasis in these well-written stories on the need to constantly work on and practice skills, magical and otherwise (a subtle but important message for teens). Daja, for example, struggles to learn how to skate, and her growing confidence and speed pay off when she races along a frozen canal to save people in a hospital fire. Includes some notes from the author at the end, listing the calendar of her imaginary land and defending the use of fur in the story. (Bk. 3 of The Circle Opens quartet) Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for juniorhigh school students. 2002, Scholastic, 368p., $16.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT SOURCE: KLIATT, March 2002 (Vol. 36, No. 2)
Kirkus Reviews
Pierce turns somber in her saga of young mages-in-training (Street Magic, 2000, etc.), as the smith-mage Daja encounters a more sinister side to fire-and humanity. Daja accompanies her mentor Frostpine to the snowbound port of Kujisko to learn new skills, but herself becomes the teacher when she discovers the incipient magical talents of her hosts' twin daughters. She also finds a hero in Bennat Ladradun, who transformed his personal tragedy into a firefighting crusade. Daja lends her magic to his mission, rescuing victims from blazing holocausts, and crafting a pair of fireproof gloves. But when investigators suggest arson, she must confront the smoldering motivations that ignite to murder. Daja may have the least distinctive voice among Pierce's adolescent mages, but she more than compensates with the searing drama of her tale. While her efforts to train the mischievous twins offers some light relief, the overall tone is as dark as the northern setting. The devastation caused by the fires is described with graphic (though not gratuitous) intensity. When Pierce reveals that the obsessed Bennat is the arsonist, Daja's betrayal and disillusionment will be shared by readers, who have been accustomed of late to seeing firefighters in a heroic light. Yet Pierce also celebrates the virtues of control and craftsmanship, from the simple joy Daja finds in learning to skate to the blossoming of her pupils under hard work and discipline. An absolute must for fans of the series, the minimal backstory also makes this an exciting and thoughtful stand-alone fantasy. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Circle Opens Series , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

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