About the Book Series
The Circle of Magic Book Series is a series that is stuck somewhere in between children’s books, and young adult books. However, written by self-proclaimed Author for teens, it is not completely either of them. The genre is fantasy through and through and the writing style is a unique sort of Point-of-view style that really gets you involved into the characters. The Circle of Magic Book Series has four books, each of the books corresponding to one of the four main characters and being from their viewpoint. The First book is “Sandry’s Book”, next comes “Tris’s Book”, then “Daja’s Book” and finally “Briar’s Book”. The author herself claims that the books are aimed at teens, but personally I feel like they can be read and enjoyed at any age.
Synopsis of The Circle of Magic Book Series
Set in a different universe than Tortall, this quartet centers around four unusual young mages. Sandry, a noble whose parents died recently, has power with thread, from spinning and weaving to simple knot-tying. Daja, a Trader, is the only survivor of a shipwreck in which her family drowned. Declared to be bad luck and banned from life with other Traders, she is free to learn to work metals and, through metal, to work magic. Tris, the merchant’s daughter, is no orphan, but her family doesn’t want her. Briar is a street rat, a thief and convict. Only at the temple city of Winding Circle does he learn that his strange love of growing things is more than a need to garden.
Brought together in a house inside the temple city’s walls, watched over by the mages Lark, Rosethorn, Frostpine, and Niko, the four struggle to be friends, to exercise their magic, and to survive. Each book centers on one of the four, but make no mistake: they are bound tightly together, and the events that affect each of them also strengthen their connections to one another.
My Overall Thoughts
I really liked the Circle of Magic Book Series and I think it is very much underrated. I re-read it recently, so I thought why not review it for my readers? This series may seem like it is only for children, but please do not dismiss it so easily. It is one of the most well-written teen book series I have ever come across; in fact it is so well-written that I feel hesitant to call it a Teen book series at all. Young adult/teen genre books tend to have a negative association for crappy writing, (insert reference to Twilight here). And while, in most cases that is true, these books are masterpieces. They are not as popular as Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series, which I am also a big fan of, but are just as good. Everything, from the world-building, to the themes to the magic system is rich and satisfying in the Circle of Magic Book Series.
The Best Parts of the Series
The Circle of Magic book series has a lot of good points to get through.
Firstly let’s talk Characterization, arguably the most important ingredient in good story writing, pierce nails it wonderfully throughout the series. The main characters are all well developed, with a rich background and clear motivations. They have their flaws and their weaknesses. They earn each of their successes through hard work and whenever they triumph the reader feels like jumping up and down in shared happiness.
The main characters easily keep you invested in their well-being and the story line. The Side characters, while not as well-developed, are compelling enough. However the main highlight falls very distinctly on our protagonists and their relationships with one another. They start out ignorant about magic and learn as they go on, forging friendships and bonds in the meantime.
The world building in the Circle of Magic Book Series is marvelous and I especially adore the magic system. The system has clear-cut rules and limitations which keeps things fresh and entertaining. You don’t feel like, WHOOP – Dues Ex Machina here to save the day again. The system keeps the characters powers in check while also letting them grow and become formidable. I especially love how the magic system plays into the set-up of the world’s economies, cultures etc. Each of characters has unique powers that play well into the overall theme.
Speaking of themes (nice segue huh? Wink wink), can we just admire those just for a second? The theme of friendship is the most prominent of all the themes. It is weaved beautifully into the plot; the magic, the situation and characters all contribute to the representation. Of course, Pierce also addresses many other themes such as, the morality of thieving, family, community, culture and tragedy. As always, Pierce makes her world feel more real and gripping by not ignoring issues such as race, class divides, cultural clashes and a myriad of other somber issues. All those things have a prominent place in the story. However, the biggest takeaway is friendship, all in not a bad message to have.
I also admire the non-preachiness (yes I know this is not a word) of the theme; I am actually one of those people that cannot stand being condescended to. Especially when reading any sort of fiction, the second the author starts preaching, my mood sours immediately.( Incidentally, this is why I strongly dislike Paolo Coelho, he is wayyy too condescending. Ironically enough I have read almost every book by him because my dad kept buying them and I can’t resist a book lying in front of my face.) Getting back to the point, the author does not try to shove morals down your throat; always a good thing from my point of view.
Things That Were Meh
The plot of the series turns out to be a bit generic but, in general it is a character driven story so I do not mind all that much and it doesn’t take away from my enjoyment one bit. The plot has a few holes, and weird quirks, but overall it just serves as a backdrop to the character-building. The story in the first book doesn’t really have a villain and that’s alright; it just didn’t need one. As we progress the books each have individual story lines, but mostly they do not have concrete villains, rather a set of problems that the kids have to face and solve. In each case the books are more focused on the characters than the plot.
Since the world has so many conflicting and contrasting cultures and races it gets hard to keep track sometimes. Also, the world’s cohesiveness requires a bit of suspension of disbelief as all the systems are not clearly explained.
Since the story is aimed at a younger audience it does not have any sort of romance or mature content. This might be of-putting to some readers. (Personally I do not mind).
The side characters, sigh, what can I say, in many cases they are not nearly as well developed as the main ones. Many times you feel like they are just caricatures, especially during the first few books. However, they serve their purposes well enough.
My Final Thoughts
I loved these books as a teen and I still do. They have something to offer everyone. The best part is that the story does not end here, rather the kids grow up and their stories are continued in further books. I highly recommend you give them a go. Actually anything written by Tamora Pierce is usually brilliant; I have seen few other authors whose whole body of work I enjoy so much.
This review is the Author’s opinion, the author does not claim anything stated here as fact. If you disagree with anything written in this article please do not hesitate to sound of in the comments down below. However, please keep in mind that the author is not liable for any information stated in this post. It is purely opinion.
The Circle Of Magic Book Series and all of its materials are owned by Tamora Pierce. We are merely using some of them in this post to illustrate a point (fair use). If you wish for your materials to be taken down please contact us and we will remove them immediately.