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Water & Fire

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In these, the first two books in the Circle of Magic quartet, acclaimed fantasy writer Tamora Pierce enchants her readers. With a heart-pounding mixture of magic and mystery, four outcasts with amazing abilities must learn how to use their magic — and trust each other — in a place where nothing is at first what it seems. Sandry can weave silk thread and create light. Tris In these, the first two books in the Circle of Magic quartet, acclaimed fantasy writer Tamora Pierce enchants her readers. With a heart-pounding mixture of magic and mystery, four outcasts with amazing abilities must learn how to use their magic — and trust each other — in a place where nothing is at first what it seems. Sandry can weave silk thread and create light. Tris has a powerful connection with the weather. Briar has a way with plants. And Daja has the gift of metalcraft. Between these four mages-in-training, they must save their new home, Winding Circle, the only place they have ever been accepted. This spellbinding collection also features Elder Brother, a bonus story. Set in the world of Tortall, a tree who has been turned into a human at the whim of a mage spell must learn how to survive.


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In these, the first two books in the Circle of Magic quartet, acclaimed fantasy writer Tamora Pierce enchants her readers. With a heart-pounding mixture of magic and mystery, four outcasts with amazing abilities must learn how to use their magic — and trust each other — in a place where nothing is at first what it seems. Sandry can weave silk thread and create light. Tris In these, the first two books in the Circle of Magic quartet, acclaimed fantasy writer Tamora Pierce enchants her readers. With a heart-pounding mixture of magic and mystery, four outcasts with amazing abilities must learn how to use their magic — and trust each other — in a place where nothing is at first what it seems. Sandry can weave silk thread and create light. Tris has a powerful connection with the weather. Briar has a way with plants. And Daja has the gift of metalcraft. Between these four mages-in-training, they must save their new home, Winding Circle, the only place they have ever been accepted. This spellbinding collection also features Elder Brother, a bonus story. Set in the world of Tortall, a tree who has been turned into a human at the whim of a mage spell must learn how to survive.

30 review for Water & Fire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carly DaSilva

    After reading Pierce’s The Immortals Quartet when I was younger I found myself determined to read just about everything by her. It was probably the first time I’d read something by an author and thought to intentionally look out for that author’s name on other books. So I came across her Circle of Magic series very quickly, and found it to be more of what I already loved, though The Immortals Quartet is still my favorite. Rereading books one and two was as much of a pleasure as I expected. These After reading Pierce’s The Immortals Quartet when I was younger I found myself determined to read just about everything by her. It was probably the first time I’d read something by an author and thought to intentionally look out for that author’s name on other books. So I came across her Circle of Magic series very quickly, and found it to be more of what I already loved, though The Immortals Quartet is still my favorite. Rereading books one and two was as much of a pleasure as I expected. These books get pretty grim despite their younger protagonists and less “mature” content. Because we follow these characters through two 4-book series and a capstone book, we see them in detail over a broader span of growth, and in turn the subject matter shifts. There are parts of these early books that are a bit mundane and dry to me, some humor that’s not quite as funny as it’s framed, but I know when I was younger, I loved it. I’m not going to say this isn’t a book for adults, because that’s just not true. But much like the early Harry Potter books, there are aspects of the writing that just speak more to a younger mind, in my opinion. Regardless, it’s a pleasure to read. Pierce has rich diverse characters in all her stories, and these books are great examples: three main girls, one main boy, two powerful lady dedicates overseeing the group, varied skin tones, backgrounds, body shapes and sizes, and all in a fantasy world. This was definitely a book that positively impacted my view of the world. Not to mention the magic. The magic mechanics in this series are super compelling. I love the way Pierce describes magic. I know this review isn’t really specific to these first two books, but I guess that’s because even though the books are named for characters and elements, and the title character does somewhat take the lead when it comes to development in their book, you really can’t help thinking of these four as a unit. No one really outshines anyone else. Everyone has something crucial to learn. Maybe I’ll be more specific in the next review. Regardless, the short story included in this 2-book collection, ELDER BROTHER, is wonderful. A brief tie-in to The Immortals Quartet that discusses not just a tree turning into a man (done well, I think) but also oppressive gender roles, a common topic of Pierce’s.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie Whitt

    I started reading Tamora Pierce with Tempests and Slaughter which I totally got the Harry Potter comparisons too but in reality it really reminded me of this series. I liked this story well enough, although I will say Tris is by far my fave character of the kids, who spend most of the first book being obnoxious and the second being inexplicably close to each other. Since each book is supposed to be the story of an individual I think it would have benefitted from focusing more closely on one char I started reading Tamora Pierce with Tempests and Slaughter which I totally got the Harry Potter comparisons too but in reality it really reminded me of this series. I liked this story well enough, although I will say Tris is by far my fave character of the kids, who spend most of the first book being obnoxious and the second being inexplicably close to each other. Since each book is supposed to be the story of an individual I think it would have benefitted from focusing more closely on one character instead of being a mishmash of all of them. I do still want to finish it and find out where the story goes, plus I'm just a huge fan of Pierce's world building and writing, so I'll definitely be continuing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rohan Malpure

    Tamora Pierce deserves a lot of credit for this ambitious book. She sets out to create an entirely new world and populate it with interesting characters for the readers to follow. While the main characters are pretty engaging and well-rounded, the world-building falls a bit flat. Some things are not well explained and the reader is often left confused as to the meaning of certain words, especially in the beginning. Is this a good book? Yes, but it's not a great one. A lot of the book's aspects fe Tamora Pierce deserves a lot of credit for this ambitious book. She sets out to create an entirely new world and populate it with interesting characters for the readers to follow. While the main characters are pretty engaging and well-rounded, the world-building falls a bit flat. Some things are not well explained and the reader is often left confused as to the meaning of certain words, especially in the beginning. Is this a good book? Yes, but it's not a great one. A lot of the book's aspects feel a little underdeveloped, such as the setting and some of the supporting characters. Granted, Pierce had her work cut for her, but it's hard to shake the feeling that this could have been something more. I have not read the sequels yet, but I'm hoping they further develop our protagonists and their world.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Lubell

    After seeing the author at Chessiecon, I had an urge to re-read some of her books. I actual read the separate editions but they're so short, I didn't want to count them as four books in my total so I'm writing up the combined version. The first book starts out slow as the kid characters start off in jeopardy, then are rescued by Nico the mage, and then the Winding Circle is introduced. It is good that there is some tension between the four with their different background especially as one is a t After seeing the author at Chessiecon, I had an urge to re-read some of her books. I actual read the separate editions but they're so short, I didn't want to count them as four books in my total so I'm writing up the combined version. The first book starts out slow as the kid characters start off in jeopardy, then are rescued by Nico the mage, and then the Winding Circle is introduced. It is good that there is some tension between the four with their different background especially as one is a thief, one a noble, one a trader who don't have a history of getting along. Sandry is a little too good to be true, although a Noble, she likes getting along with ordinary people. The second book, Tris' Book, is much better with real jeopardy for the kids, treachery (although a bit obvious that the traitor character was up to no good, even one of the kids suspects the character) and a rather spectacular bit of magic. I'm inclined to characterize this series as a bit more of a children's series (rather than YA) than her other writing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    April

    I read the first book of the two: Sandry's story. It was dissapointing in just how little actually happened. And if I hadn't just read to learn that the book was intended to be "Sandry"s I never would have guessed from the fairly even amount of "screen" time. I did enjoy the diversity of the characters and would hope they progressed a bit in the next book but that half will have to come another time I think.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I picked up this book at a book sale because I heard so much about this author...and I guess I can see where she would be good if you were maybe 9. But oh my god. The plot holes. THE PLOT HOLES! And she is apparently only capable of developing one character, and one character only. Never mind the fact that this was suppose to be two books - one about Sandry, and one about Tris - she can only develop Tris into anything other then a background character.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The 4 books in The Circle of Magic and the 4 in The Circle Opens are written for younger children in mind--no sex, etc. But The Circle Opens books plots are for more 'mature' readers--serial killers, etc. They do not contain the more innocent themes of The Circle of Magic, which younger readers would really love.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Massey

    The first half of the book, Sandry's Book, is pretty boring and is all set up until the end, when there's suddenly a plot. The second half, Tris's Book, is where the series really takes off and starts developing the characters an their magic well. I think Book 2 is probably the best in the first quartet. The bonus story in the back is really good too! I enjoyed it very much.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I love Tamora Pierce's books. Every book has strong female heroines which is why I bought the full set for my niece, who loves them too. I strongly suggest this and all her other books to fantasy loving females young and old!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    An imaginative read. I enjoyed the characters a lot and will read other books in this series. The last 1/5th of the book I did get a little lost. Maybe, I just wasn't paying attention enough. Very enjoyable.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kara Thomas

    These books were a little slow paced, but they are juvenile books. I think I would have loved them when I was younger. Still, I did like them. Every child who has been outcast in one way or another looks for a place to belong, even dreaming that one day they will be someone important.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jo Oehrlein

    (On a re-reading binge and finished this one 2/24/2013.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    LemontreeLime

    Written for a younger reader, but still a lot of fun.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marielle

    Loved the fantasy with magic hope and friendship in between

  15. 4 out of 5

    April James

    An addicting series you just cannot put down.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    I am working my way back through this series to decide if I want to push them on my oldest niece, and I am thoroughly enjoying my time with these books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Mohr

    I can't believe I'd never heard of this book before I read it. I would definitely recommend this at work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tabatha

    the beigning of a great friendship and powerful magic

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    Kind of innocent compared to current YA fantasy, which makes me all the more fond of it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    LOL_BOOKS

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR COMFORT BOOKS? MG AND YA BOOKS THAT WOULD BE IN YOUR BEST TEEN BOOKS LIST?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

  22. 4 out of 5

    Irene

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amelia Myers

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ivan Buchanan-Januskevic

  27. 5 out of 5

    Megan O'Brien

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bekah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wynne

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie Hayes

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