Saturday, August 24, 2013

Battle Magic

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy that I picked up at the ALA conference, however, the book will be released on September 24, 2013. So the good news is is that you don't have to wait too long to read it. Eh?

I previously reviewed Melting Stones, HERE.

An amazon summary, "NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tamora Pierce returns to the magical world of Winding Circle.

On their way to the first Circle temple in Gyongxi, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy pay a visit to the emperor's summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxi, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion. Accompanied by one of the emperor's prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxi to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle. But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I think the series would have been a lot better if it had started with Battle Magic because a lot of what changed about Briar would have made more sense in Melting Stones and The Will of the Empress.

Since this is an advanced reader's copy, I will do my best not to reveal too much. My copy of the book is 440 pages long, and I will talk about the first 30% of it. That's page 132, which is in the middle of a chapter, so I'll actually talk about it until page 141, which is the end of chapter 8. Then I'll discuss my general reaction to the book.

The basic premise of Battle Magic is Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are first visiting in Gyongxi (the land that's said to be closest to the Gods-Gyongxi is pretty cool). They really enjoy the God-King's company (the kind of ruler of Gyongxi) but move on to visit the Emporer of Yanjing in the city of Dohan which has famous gardens in the winter palace. So of course Rosethorn and Briar REALLY want to go. Because plants. Because they're green mages.

Moving on.

So they get there and are treated with ridiculous ceremonies and traditions (which all of them hate), they meet Parahan who is a slave to the emporer an in a delicate political position because he's actually the son and a warrior of a powerful man and just complicated whatever. Parahan is fun, witty, and smart; he also becomes Evvy's friend of sorts.

So they meander around the palace and are finally shown the gardens and are basically shown a very cruel fate for the famous rose bushes because they succumbed to a mold of some sort. The Emporer turns out to be a bit crazy with his demands for perfection from everyone and everything and the whole party basically tries to escape as soon as possible.

Before they escape, Evvy sets off to free Parahan, Briar wakes up, realizes what she's doing, goes after her, and together they manage to free him and get back to their rooms with no one being the wiser. Parahan makes his escape in his silent warrior ways or something.

The party (Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy) leave the palace after a lot of inspections and what not because Parahan escaped and they could be hiding him, etc. They meet up with some traders who are supposed to take them on a round about way to the boat which should take them back home to Winding Circle, so they can see more plants on their way back. Yay plants!

However, Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy got wind that the Emporer wanted to take over Gyongxi for the country's treasures and basically to just own it because he's the Emporer and should own everything. Pompous awful man.

So they make haste to Gyongxi to warn the God-King and help if there is to be a war.

WHICH, if you read The Will of the Empress and Melting Stones, you already know there is a war.

You already know that Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy saw and did awful things that traumatize them.

You already know about Master Luvo being the heart of a mountain (so when he finally happens about halfway through the book it was my greatest OKAY, THE GOOD STUFF THAT WILL EXPLAIN OTHER THINGS MIGHT HAPPEN....EVENTUALLY RIGHT? ...OH....).

You already know that Evvy got her feet whipped horriffically and that she had a moment with Rosethorn where she rode on horseback and got off at times so the wounded or children could ride (a moment that is mysteriously absent in Battle Magic (SORRY SPOILERS BUT I'M MAD) but that moment could be explained away because it would happen while Briar is out of sorts unconscious for various reasons and his narration was the primary through that part).

My general reaction to the book still leaves me with way too many questions about Melting Stones and The Will of the Empress. I would have loved for the series to happen in chronological order and focus less on Evvy. I wanted to know more about Briar in general since he seemed so shaken through all three books in this series.

In my copy of the book there is a little note from Tamora Pierce which explains her reasoning for embarking on the series in the first place. I kind of question if she will have stories about Sandry, Tris, and Daja to bridge the gap from their last book in The Circle Opens series to the events of The Will of the Empress. In her acknowledgements at the end of the book, she has a thank you to the people who reminded her of details that she had forgotten about while she wrote Battle Magic. It concerns me.

As a reader, I kind of almost wish she would leave the characters alone. I mean, maybe have a new series with mages who kind of bump into Daja, Tris, Sandry, and Briar in the places they might have settled or traveled to in the world. As it is, I think the stories are getting rather large and harder to keep track of all the details that are presented.

Back to the content of the book, the war that happens (YOU KNOW IT HAPPENS, IT ISN'T SPOILERS), the writing didn't really seem to grasp the true horrors of war. I mean, there were HORRIFIC moments that happened in the book, the characters kind of seemed to shudder at them, but there seemed to be an emotional disconnect. The way they acted didn't seem to differ, they didn't become more cautious or anything, they still continued to do what they were doing. Rosethorn I can understand, but Briar and Evvy?

When you read the book (if you do), you'll understand what I'm saying (maybe).

I don't know, I kind of hope Tamora Pierce embarks on a new series, with new characters, with kind of shout outs to her old characters. I love her worlds, I love her characters, but this series was kind of disappointing.


However, I don't regret reading it since a part of me will always be excited about a new Daja/Sandry/Tris/Briar book.I guess that's what you call book love. Hehe.

Happy reading!

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