I've been really worn out the last couple of weeks. Run down and falling asleep as soon as I stop moving exhausted. But I never once fell asleep while reading Battle Magic. Some nights I just didn't read because I knew that I would stay up and I didn't think I could manage the next day.
This book is that awesome. I wanted to reread the others first which is why this took me so long to get to. Reading them, nearly, straight through I loved seeing how Tamora Pierce's writing sort of grew. How much braver she and the characters became.
And take note Tortall fans, this one is a very Tortallian addition to the Circle universe.
Battle Magic is the story of the war that Briar mentions in Will of the Empress. Between two, Asian-like, cultures, one with a young but kind God-King and one with a ruthless and greedy emperor. Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy get caught in the crossfire.
This book reminded me heavily of Emperor Mage. Both involving a greedy emperor with showy displays of power, the loss of a major character, gods wandering among humans, and strange creatures made of bone. It channels the same sort of feeling as Emperor Mage. The devastation and loss and the blood thirsty need for revenge.
The main difference between the two is how much this one focuses on the horrors of war. The blood trampled grass and the thought of what it means to get involved. It's more centered on devotion to a cause and the defense of something that is, in a way, pure than the politics of Emperor Mage.
Briar has grown so much and it shows wonderfully in this book. It's insane to think of him as the same person as the boy that Niko saved at the beginning of Sandry's book. He's strong and more than likely to work himself to death trying to save others. But at the same time, he's not cut out for war, he's not a battle mage for all of the talent that he and Rosethorn have for it. He's not invulnerable or unaffected bu what's going on. He gets hurt and he struggles with it. He has to take time to heal. Pierce does such a stunning job of showing how he adapts and what he stands for and makes the reader know how unwilling he is to abandon anything that means something to him.
One of my favorite things about this book is getting the glimpses into Rosethorn's head. She breaks off on a quest of her own at one point. In order to see what happens we get to follow her. It's really interesting to see how she thinks and responds and why she feels like she's out there to begin with. It's not something that we've really seen before. We hadn't before seen the softer side to her.
Evvy I still don't love. She's better this time around but she's not my favorite. She goes through some really horrific things in this book that did make me sympathize with her more. It's hard when she's next to Rosethorn and Briar. I found the company that she kept far more interesting. I adore Luvo. The heart of a mountain in the shape of a crystal bear, is sort of awesome. I loved that the yak's name is Big Milk. Her plot is really interesting.
I also really sort of adored the God-King. There was just something about the wisdom in his youth thing. He shone as a character in the few scenes that he appeared in.
Emperor Weishu is undeniably unsettling. The scene where he burns the garden is so cinematic. It was so impressed by it. I never really trusted him but the swiftness with which he turns and how quickly and easily he gains control of the city is amazing. I liked that the mages that were nice and friendly in the capital turned bad. That we weren't made to like these characters and have all of them turn out to be good.
It was also different to see a final showdown that involved our main characters so little. They had previously done so much that it sort of worked.
Until this book we hadn't really had the chance to see the sort of things that Briar and Rosethorn can do as battle mages. There was a little of that in Tris' Book against the pirates but not to this extent. It shows how any magic can be twisted to different purposes. Up until now it was Tris' power that always seemed the most formidable.
I have to admit even though I loved this book I am so ready for the four mages to be together again. I miss their banter.
I am just in awe of this book. So much happens and so much is discussed. It's more in depth and more involved in its own mythology than Emperor Mage. It's just stunning what this woman can do and come up with. Even if the ending seemed a little abrupt.
Overall I give Tamora Pierce's Battle Magic a resounding Beyond Epic. But as I have said before I am biased.
Next I am finally reading Wuthering Heights. I am supposed to read a sort of companion/retelling and I wanted to read the original first. I have a couple of graphic novels to read as well. I am also anxiously awaiting Allegiant next Tuesday. ONE WEEK!
Anyway, I shall post tomorrow with my Top Ten Tuesday!
Until then, my ducks...