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Four young misfits find themselves living in a strictly disciplined temple community where they become friends while also learning to do crafts and to use their powers, especially magic.
The four come from varying backgrounds, but all have been misfits rankling against the restrictions that class and culture impose. Sandry (Lady Sandrilene fa Toren) feels "Good f'r naught but to be waited on and to marry." She longs to be useful and competent. Daja, the Trader girl, wants to be a metalworker, but making things is forbidden to traders. Briar, a streetwise thief, harbors a special affinity for plants, and Trisana, the Merchant girl, seems to have a direct line to the forces of nature itself. Mage Niklaren Goldeye brings all four to a disciplined temple community where their special gifts can flower. Pierce (Wild Magic, 1992, etc.) employs the trappings of magic, yet never invokes it as a convenient plot device imposed from without. Instead it appears as an inner strength that each of the fully realized, compelling young protagonists must discover and harness. Meditation and the Zen-like practice of hands-on crafts are their tools of mastery. First in a series, this is a rich and satisfying read.
The action is swift, the fantasy world nicely defined, and the ending will leave readers wanting more. With a multicultural cast and enough gender role-reversal to make a lot of people happy, this is a promising first title in a series.
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
[T]his is an enjoyable fantasy for middle-grade readers, who will look forward to the next book in the series.
--School Library Journal
Pierce has created an excellent new world where magic is a science
and populated it with a cast of well-realized characters. Teens will eagerly await the planned sequels.
Posted February 27, 2012
"Sandry's Book" is the first in Tamora Pierce's "Circle of Magic" quartet. (The foursome was recently followed with a sequel quartet called "The Circle Opens".) The four books do tell a series of events, but work just as well when read out of order.
The story opens with four children in four equally bad situations. As their stories unfold, the children--the daughter of a duke, a young thief, a Trader and a girl with a connection to the weather so strange that her own family abandoned her. As their stories, and magical abilities, intertwine it becomes clear that these characters have more in common than readers (or the characters themselves) would have thought.
Eventually, the children are discovered by Niklaren "Niko" Goldeye (I have been enamored with his name since I read this book when I was fourteen, still stand by the assessment that it's the best name ever). Adrift in their respective communities (or lack thereof), Niko takes them all to Winding Circle, a temple community where the children fall into a temple called Discipline where, finally, each of the four begin to find their place in the world.
Like any good fantasy, this book (and the series in general) features a lot of detail as Pierce builds a convincing world for her novel to inhabit. As a result, the story does describe the daily life and rituals of the temple. I had the misfortune of finding a negative review with the audacity to say that "Sandry's Book" focused too much on the occult. Aside from being completely inaccurate (such information comes up IN RELATION to the plot not to create some pseudo-subversive book on witchcraft), I found the trepidation distasteful and on par with saying Harry Potter should be censored because Hogwarts trains witches. Plus, aside from that, the information--like the information in so many challenged books--is harmless and only serves to teach readers something new (as every good book should).
Moving on from the issue of censorship, I liked this book because of all the strong female characters.
Three of the four main characters are girls. Not the secondary-character-type girls that sometimes populate fantasy novels of this type (a specific example being "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin). No, these girls are strong-minded and tough--two of my favorite qualities for book heroines. My personal favorite of the foursome is Tris, but Sandry is pretty cool too. A spunky noble, Sandry is an anti-princess discussion all by herself.
This book is one of the few that I feel could be solidy situated as a children's novel (although given some recent YA titles I've encountered, an argument probably could be made to place it there). The plot is straightforward, and the writing cogent, which make it ideal for a younger audience who lacks the experience to follow a winding narrative. At the same time, Pierce creates a story that is engaging and action-packed for readers of any age. I haven't gotten around to reading any of Pierce's books outside this series, but if "Sandry's Book" is any indication, I definitely should.
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2009
This a an excellent book for both young people & adults alike. Very entertaining. Tamora Pierce is a great author to read.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 12, 2011
The description doesn't give this book the justice it deserves. I've read all of Tamora Pierce's books with the exception of the Circle book series. I loved them all, but after reading the description was always off-put to read these books, boy was I wrong to not read them! I finally caved one day when I was looking for a book and gave this one a chance... now I cant put them down! Read it, you'll be happy you did.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 21, 2008
Posted March 23, 2000
I bought this book because it was published by Point Fantasy, which published Patricia Wrede's brilliant Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I was very,very disappointed. I could barely keep my eyes open to read the next dull incident Ms. Pierce writes about. Ugh! This book reminds me of my own failing attempts to write a good fantasy--It is simply BORING. Please don't waste even the few bux it costs for this paperback--read anything by Patricia Wrede, T. A. Barron, Madeleine L'Engle, Rowling (harry Potter) or whatever else you can find--these books are just so JUVENILE...
2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2012
Posted January 6, 2015
Posted May 6, 2014
The only thing that could have made it better is an explanation of the money system, with examples of what you could buy with one of a kind of coin. (ie. one silver astrel could buy you a milliliteer of cinnamon oil) This goes for all books with fictuous currency systems.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2014
Posted January 5, 2014
I was into the fantasy genre I think in middle school mostly then later in high school and so read this series and remembered Tris my favorite out of the main four. This one's about Sandry. Good start.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 26, 2013
Posted April 13, 2013
Posted February 22, 2013
This series is an excellent addition to Pierce's other works. Have loved and read these so many times in paperback that I finally tossed them in the recycle and bought on nook.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 28, 2013
Posted January 12, 2013
Posted November 3, 2012
Posted September 17, 2012
I have a soft spot for the Magic Circle, primarilt I think because it is my first forray into Tamora Pierce's immagination.
The Circle of Magic four part series is extremely fresh and contemporary in writing style and setting as compared to some of jer eaier and later works. Also unlike any other series she has written this series des mot address the emergence of sexualiy and desire like her other books ofr any other yoyng adult novel for that case. The rhetoric is both light and easy to read and good for a good Spring day. I hope u pick up this book and get to knpw the four heros of this quartet series.
~from my nook, not bad to rype on but i miss spell checker ;)
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2012
Posted July 4, 2012
Sandry's Book is a great start to the Circle of Magic series. It is my favorite Tamora Pierce series by far. The books are quick reads and they are a great mix of magic and coming of age. Great for young adults and mature adults, too!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 7, 2012