Shelves: fantasy , disappointment It almost pains me to give this book one star because I love Tamora Pierce and Winding Circle so much. But honestly this book really disappointed me. I think one of the major issues was that she had already hinted at so many plot points from her other books, which limited the direction of the story flow. We knew that they would be in a war, we knew that Evvy would meet Luvo, we knew they would be forced to do things that would give them horrible nightmares. These plot points were basically the It almost pains me to give this book one star because I love Tamora Pierce and Winding Circle so much.

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It whistled down the canyon, making the banners around them snap. Briar Moss was the older of the two, sixteen and a fully accredited mage of the Living Circle school in Emelan. He was the foreigner, his skin a light shade of bronze, his nose long and thin, his eyes a startling gray-green in this land of brown-eyed easterners.

He wore a green silk quilted tunic patterned with light green willow leaves, gold-brown quilted breeches, and the calf-high soft boots that were popular in the mountains.

He sat cross-legged on cushions with a traveling desk on his lap, but his eyes were fixed just now on the events across the river.

There five shamans from the Skipping Mountain Goat Tribe stood before a sheer rock face on the cliff opposite Briar and his companion.

Crouched near to the shamans were two horn players, a drummer, and three players of singing bowls. The musicians sounded their instruments. As they did, Briar started to feel a quiver under his rump. The longer the shamans danced, the more pronounced the quiver grew. The ruler of Gyongxe was an eleven-year-old boy with the ruddy bronze skin, long brown eyes, and short, wide nose of his people.

He was dressed even more simply than the shamans in an undyed, black-bordered long-sleeved tunic, undyed quilted breeches, and black boots. Like most Gyongxin boys and girls, he wore his shiny black hair cut very short, with one exception. From the moment he had been chosen as God-King, he had grown the hair at the crown of his head long. He wore it in a braid, strung with rings of precious metals or semiprecious stones, each a symbol of the eleven gods he served. He also wore eleven earrings, six in one ear, and five in the other, made of the same materials.

It does involve a little bit of shaking. It quivered, too. Briar scowled at the river, then at the dancing shamans. He looked at the group of people near the shamans, trying to spot his student, Evvy. There she was with some of the local stone mages and the warriors who had escorted the shamans. Suddenly he grinned. Ever since Briar and his companions had arrived in Garmashing between blizzards four months ago, the busy First Dedicate had made time in his day to instruct Evvy.

That morning he had told Briar that he, too, wanted to see how the shamans worked — it was very different from the way the scholar-mages did their magic — and so it would be his pleasure also to keep an eye on Evvy. Briar was grateful. Evvy had frustrated the few other Earth dedicates they had met who specialized in stone magic. Like Dokyi, they worked their magic with charts, books, and spoken words, letting the magic they were born with pass through stones that responded.

Stones gave Evvy her power, just as plants gave their magic to Briar and Rosethorn. Dokyi at least had spent years with the shamans and in other lands. He could adjust to a mage who worked in a different way. He could show Evvy the books, charms, and spells of stone magic that could strengthen what she did. He could also sense when she tried to experiment on her own and stop her before things got out of hand. His special stones helped him with that. Dokyi can handle her.

Ah, they make progress. Small rocks and sand fell down the cliff face, though nothing appeared to land on the shamans, musicians, or other mages who waited there. Briar suspected that Evvy was sending the stones away from the people, particularly when he saw one large rock arc away from the cliff to drop in the river. Needing something to occupy his hands, Briar picked up one of a number of stones that Evvy had left with him before she had crossed the river with Dokyi. She was always collecting bits of rock and handing them to him or Rosethorn while she gathered more.

Before they moved on there would be a painful session at which she would have to choose the pieces she could not do without and those she would have to abandon. The surprise lay in the image embedded deep in its surface: a curved section of leaf much like a fern. He stared at the cliff across the river, not really noticing the twenty-foot-tall rectangular crack that was writing itself into the rock face.

As he would if the fossil were a living plant, Briar reached for it with his magic, only to find nothing. The limestone held an image, but no remainder of the plant that had left it. Briar glared at it and reached for another piece of stone. It was unmarked, but the third rock he examined gripped a fossil much like a sardine. Life near the docks from early childhood had taught him the look of salt- and freshwater fish, flesh and bone.

Slowly he straightened. His pen fell from his hand. They shoved their molten bodies up against the shore and dragged the Realms of the Sun with them.

Bria r tried not to shiver. It felt as if every hair on his body were standing. The God-King continued in that unearthly voice. Greater they grew, the youngest gods, clawing at the sky, rising toward the Sun and the Moon and the Stars. When they could grow no more, when they stood taller than any other mountain gods, the sea drained away between them, seeking its ocean mother. The immense shoreline forests of palm, cactus, and fern withered.

Only firs, spruces, larches, junipers, and hemlocks thrive here, and rarely on the open plateau. Here the gods see everything. Gyongxe has nowhere to hide from the gods of this world. Briar was almost afraid to breathe until the younger boy blinked and straightened. Rubbing the back of his neck he looked at Briar sheepishly.

They never give me any warning, you know. The land is crowded with them, what with one thing and another, and I can never tell when one of them will work through me. The God-King jumped to his feet with a whoop. Briar remembered what had brought them to this cold ledge on a chilly morning.

The shamans continued to dance and the musicians to play as they backed toward the place where Evvy and the other observers stood. Only Evvy moved, walking forward around the line of shamans. Dokyi lunged to grab her again and missed. Evvy took a place on the riverbank, in front of whatever was going on in the cliff, and held out her hands. Briar fought to stand, spilling the tray of ink. He ignored it, but he could not ignore it when the God-King grabbed one of his arms. Rather than continue to try to reach his student, Briar waited.

Briar wondered if Evvy might not be chanting a spell, though. He knew she was working her magic, because the tumbling rock split on either side of the opening it made, like curtains before a window. That was pure Evvy. Neat piles of broken stone grew from the falling rock on either side of the rectangular gap in the cliff. At its heart stood a pair of embracing, human-like, stone skeletons. As the heaped boulders and chips in front of them shifted to either side, the twenty-foot-tall skeletons walked out of the cliff.

Evvy wavered. She was trying to do too much at once. Worried, Briar stepped up to the edge where the tent was pitched, then halted again. Dokyi had reached the girl. He stood next to Evvy, writing signs on the air as he worked spells of his own.

The skeletons, which had paused when she seemed about to fall over, resumed their walk away from the cliff. One of the two skulls looked curiously at Evvy and Dokyi while the other scanned the riverside behind them, the gap in the cliff, and then the shamans and their musicians.

An arm from that skeleton reached around to tap the skull that had cocked its head as it stared at Evvy.

When that skull turned to glare at the other, the tapping hand pointed to the shamans. Both skeletons lumbered toward the dancers. Briar looked at the God-King. They are our blessing on the temples, and a sign of our protection. They tell invaders that the temple is guarded by the gods of Gyongxe as well as the gods of the temple where the statues stand.

The warriors mounted horses to form a half circle around them. Other members of their group that handled the wagon they had brought helped the musicians into it. As smoothly as if they often traveled this way, the warriors and wagon set off in the lead, their half circle ending with the dancers just inside.

Dokyi turned to Evvy and bent until they were face-to-face. He grabbed her by the ears and pressed his forehead to hers. Thinking that he ought to intervene before Evvy said or did something rude, he turned to excuse himself to the God-King. The boy was scowling at the message he had just received. Our mages who deal in conversations at a distance have not heard from his mages in several months.


The Circle Reforged

Magic is something found in both the Tortallan Universe and the Circle Universe. Tortallan Universe Magic found in the Tortallan Universe comes in various forms. There are three main types of magic. Divine magic—The magic that is used by the gods. This magic is incredibly powerful and all-purpose with few limitations. This is probably a very minor limitation, however, as not many gods seem to be burdened with this.


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