Tuesday, January 7, 2014

YA Fantasy: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Series: The Circle Reforged #3 (Emelan)
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: September 24, 2013
Format: ARC
Source: ARCycling
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.)
Pages: 440
Reading time: four days

From GoodReads: On their way to the first Circle temple in Gyongxe, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy pay a visit to 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?

My review: Middle school and early high school were my big years for Tamora Pierce, so with this book I'm not sure if her writing didn't match up with her other books or if I've simply grown out of liking her series. Certainly I didn't find my usual OMG-I-love-this-series-so-so-much enthusiasm for Battle Magic, but then I always preferred the Tortall books to the Emelan ones, anyway.

Battle Magic started out slooooow. It was a bit of a slog, and I was questioning how I managed to quickly get through Pierce's thicker tomes in previous days. The plot was just slow in doing much, and I didn't find the filler material all that interesting. There was less of Pierce's usual fantastic world-building, and characters didn't grow much from what I remember in previous books. About halfway through, though, things picked up significantly as the storyline moved into adventures and battle scenes. Then I was back to my usual compulsive, can't-put-this-down reading. It just took awhile to get to this point, and by the end I still wasn't very impressed with Battle Magic as compared with Pierce's other books. It was a fun fantasy read, not much more.

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