Tris, Daja, Briar and Sandry are still great friends, and their magics are twining together just as well as before. Unfortunately, that means that plant mage Briar is getting sparks of lightning that kill plants, and Daja gets out of control just like Tris. Things are even more complicated by the fires threatening to spark over the region they are travelling in. Will everyone survive?
Daja is trangshi, which means that she is unable to communicate with her Trader kinfolk. Her smith magery gets out of hand, and she is able to create a beautiful growing tree, which is seen by the Traders in the area. They want to buy it – but noone is willing to communicate with Daja.
Just like the other books in this series, there is a focus on the plot pushing forwards.The majority of this book is from Daja’s perspective, although the other three children also have parts. There is some character development, particularly for the children learning responsibility for their magics.
In this book, it is possible to see how magic can kill someone, because they are trying to stop the forces of nature. Certainly this is a theme brought back by Pierce multiple times, that the forces of nature will sometimes have their way, no matter what people try to do to stop them. I don’t think it’s a bad thing – those of us in the real world have to deal with things like earthquakes and fires without the aid of magic.
I think out of all of the Circle of Magic books, this one is my favourite. Ever since I started rereading these for the purpose of reviewing them, I have been dying to get to this one! Daja’s character really speaks to me, even though I’m decidedly not black or built like a smith. Her insecurities and frustrations, as well as her motivations are really touching.
Suitable for children and teenagers alike, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy and magic. You could read this book without having read the first two in the series, but you will then spoil some of the plot of those for yourself. This book takes place almost immediately after Tris’s book, while everyone is still recovering from the pirates and earthquake.