This MG Fantasy doesn't shrink from the truth about Pirates.
Earthquake damage leaves Winding Circle vulnerable to pirate attack, so everyone - including the young mages-in-training Tris, Briar, Daja, and Sandry - is working to strengthen the community's defenses. When Tris's cousin Aymery comes to visit, he advises the "weather witch" to return to the family that exiled her, but she doesn't wish to leave her friends to face the threat without her.
As the onslaught begins, two things become terribly clear: The pirates have a powerful new weapon, and they have an accomplice within Winding Circle. But the attackers have failed to reckon with the fury of a young mage betrayed once too often and her very stubborn, very loyal friends.
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This is Book #2 of 4 in the original "Circle of Magic" series, all of which are available on audio. There are also additional books (only some of which are on audio) with the same characters.
**This review may contain spoilers for the previous book.**
One of the things I like best about this series is the way that the children work with & along side their adult mentors as well as together. That really starts to be solidified in this book as they make both good and bad choices in that regard.
Another strong point of the series is the message that choices/actions have consequences. Tris & the others continue to deal with the emotional results of the ones they make in this book for many years.
Although each book is named for one of the children, and the story line is partially driven by her/him, for the most part they all share equally in the action. In the last book, they wove their magic together to accomplish something they weren't individually strong enough to do. In this book, their magic begins to bleed a bit around edges.
Two great character moments are 1) when they are all at the breakfast table and Sandry accurately guesses what each of the others is probably thinking; and 2) when Nico tells Tris a combined spell won't work unless she trusts him, and she's all "of course" (a sharp contrast to her inability to trust anyone in the first book).
That's not to say that the 4 of them have completely changed and don't still have a ways to go before they move beyond their difficult backgrounds.
As I stated in the previous book, Ms. Pierce does her usual incredible job in this area. There is such depth and breadth to the people & cultures who inhabit this world.
The plot is much more cohesive in this one. The end of the previous book is flashbacked, and each character is introduced & brought together very smoothly. Note: although you can easily get up to speed on the history & plot if you haven't read the previous book, you really will miss out on how far they have come already as characters.
Unlike the first book, this one has a single story line and set of antagonists. The current danger is dealt with by the end, but all 4 books are interwoven in so much that what happens in the previous ones helps to set up the trials they will face next.
- The protective "net" and it's method of construction
- Because of her unique abilities, Daja is needed for a dangerous job. They explain it to her carefully and let her choose.
- Winding Circle's head chef Gorse. He is only in a couple of short parts, but he's definitely a scene stealer.
CONTENT NOTES: The pirates are definitely not romanticized, and there are some dark moments for a MG book. These include the story of a friend who was raped, and a scene where the pirates cold bloodedly kill several people who can't even fight back.
Full Cast Audio did their usual wonderful job. There weren't any changes in the narrators for the main characters. There were some nice sounds effects this time.
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