Battle Magic (The Circle Reforged #3) By: Tamora Pierce
While visiting the God-King and the First Circle temple in Gyongxe, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are invited to visit the emperor’s summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxe, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion.
Accompanied by one of the emperor’s prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxe to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle.
But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?
I’ve loved Tamora Pierce books since I was thirteen so even though YA isn’t my main genre I will still read and re-read her books. Battle Magic came out a few years ago and I had pre-ordered the hardback so when it came out it was on my doorstep, but I was pregnant and barely able to work let alone read so it just sat there.
The story happens before The Will of the Empress the first book in the Circle Reforged series and with the amount of time Briar spends talking about what happened to him in that book I almost felt like I’d already read Battle Magic. Except that I feel like how he acts in The Will of the Empress isn’t backed up with the actual events. I was left feeling let down.
I love the characters in the Circle universe, I love going back and reading their adventures, but there wasn’t much growth or development of the characters here. Events kept happening around them and they kept traveling to battles but you didn’t discover anything new about Briar or the others. You learned more about the world and there were some very interesting things there, but I needed something big and emotional to happen to Briar after all the buildup in the previous book. It was disappointing.
I’ve read The Will of the Empress a few times and when I finished Battle Magic I went back and skimmed it to see if maybe I’d outgrown the series, but the story was still awesome. I also noticed a few things that Briar alludes to that just never happened in Battle Magic. I almost wish that Pierce had never written this book or written something else instead. It didn’t feel up to her usual standards.