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Review: Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce

Monday, February 18, 2013
5 Stars: Keeper
Series: The Circle Opens #1
Hardback: 272 Pages
Publication: March 1, 2000 by Scholastic

Four years after we last saw the young mages Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar in the Circle of Magic quartet, Sandry is back. Now 14 years old, she is helping her great-uncle, Duke Vedris IV, ruler of Emelan, recover after a heart attack. But there's no rest for the weary mage. A mysterious murderer is afoot, and it quickly becomes clear that Sandry and her reluctant young protégé, Pasco, are the only ones who can stop the killings. Unfortunately, Pasco comes from a long line of harriers, or provost's guards, and his burly family does not think highly of a boy who dances magical spells. It takes some fancy footwork to convince Pasco of the need for his special brand of magic, and Sandry is just the girl for the job.

Over break, I expanded my Tamora Pierce collection once again--with The Circle Opens quartet. Fortunately, I was able to find copies of the original hardbacks at bargain prices. These were the copies I first read as a child, and I'm attached to them. I didn't want to buy copies with the new covers. While I was at home a couple weekends ago, I got nostalgic and found myself rereading the quartet. These books target a middle-grade audience and are a quick and easy read for older readers like myself. Nevertheless, the magic is still there, and I am as much in love with them as when I was a child.

Magic Steps is about the girl who was left behind in Summersea while her friends go explore the world. While the other books show that her friends all miss each other, Sandry is the only one to be physically left behind where they met and grew up together as mages. Other than taking care of her great-uncle and managing affairs, there is little excitement in her life until she happens upon Pasco using dance magic. Despite her youth, Sandry must teach Pasco how to control his magic, as she was the mage to discover his talents.

Sandry has always been the patient one among her friends, and she has grown more mature over the years. In this book, she becomes more comfortable with who she is, if possible. There are few as suited to the role of teaching as Sandry despite her initial insecurities about taking on the same role as Lark did for her not so long ago. She is a clever, obstinate girl, and I enjoyed following her as she stands up to older men who think that investigating crime scenes is not a suitable task for a young noblewoman. Pasco, I didn't like as much. He's young and foolhardy; he only wants to dance. At the same time, I understand that he's a child and doesn't understand the dangers around him, so I wanted to give him a chance. Unfotunately, he takes on increasingly smaller roles as the novel progresses.

For the most part, this didn't take away from my enjoyment of the novel. Truth be told, I didn't think much about it until I began writing my review. The crime investigation is fascinating, especially when the criminals' viewpoint comes into play. I love when the authors delve into the criminals' minds. The protagonists are almost always biased against the criminals (and I would be if I were them), so we never really get to truly understand the criminals' motivation unless we get to look from their perspectives. These criminals are intriguing and relatable, though morally speaking I cannot say that I approve of their method of taking care of their rivals by killing them even if they have a bad feud going on.

This is a book that will stay on my bookshelf forever. Its reading level is perfectly suited for younger readers, but older readers will also enjoy reading this book and delving into the magic of Tamora Pierce.

2 comments on "Review: Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce"
  1. I have all the Magic Circle books. Well, I have all the Tamora Pierce books. I love Sandy's book. I usually re read all of Tamora Pierce every couple of years.
    I love seeing someone review one.
    Thank you!!!

    1. I have all of the books as well. Since I was rereading the books recently and love them so much, I thought I should share my thoughts on the blog. :)


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