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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 November 2013
I discovered some years ago that just because you're a mature adult, it doesn't preclude you from reading and enjoying fantasy books that are on the teenage shelf. If its a good storey, who cares? This is no exception. This book follows on from the opening of the circle quartet and continues the adventures of Briar, Rosethorn and Evi. It fills in the missing links covered in Melting Stones. I really enjoyed reading about these characters but I think you need to read the other books in the cycle to understand what is happening in this novel.
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on 3 May 2015
I have rated this against all of Tamora Pierce's other books, which are in a class of their own TA fantasy wise. It hurt to only give it three stars. I am a big fan if Ms Pierce, her books are always on pre-order as soon as they are available with me. I love the winding circle universe and Briar, Evvy and Rosethorn are favorites in that universe.

This was a bit disappointing. Mostly I feel that it felt rushed. This was such a huge topic. Without careering into being dull, this could easily have been two books of the same length. The political intrigue and the horrors of war necessitated that. That's before you even get into the complex inter character relationships. I wanted to be fully immersed in this story, instead it felt like I was constantly being jerked out to skim over the surface like a fresh water boatman while in the tantalizing depths below, glimmers of intrigue and interest were out of my reach.

I don't believe this was the fault of the author per se. It feels over edited. It also smacks of 'this is YA, you can't include that.' It was frustrating. We already know that something very bad happens to all three of them from Will of the Empress. We needed to understand why.

The plot point that annoyed me was the way that the three MCs were divided. It wasn't necessary and it didn't feel likely. Rosethorn's mission seemed very tacked on. That entire thread could have been removed instead if some of the gritty stuff that clearly was removed, and it would have been a more streamlined story. I also don't believe that Briar would have just left Evvy after caring for her for so long, especially given her past. There was not enough description or use of the mages ambient magics. It was all overcast by the the general battle.

What I loved; Gyongxe. What a brilliantly realized culture rich in history and spirituality. The Boy King - very believable and poignant. The little gods - why weren't they used more and introduced sooner? Evvy's torture scene - obviously not enjoyable but believable, horrible and sensitively handled.

In two minds about whether we needed to know more about Rosethorn's love life. It was healthily described and Briar's reactions were believable, but it didn't advance the plot. More pining over Lark would have made more sense. Also the Yangjiang sequence was off balance - too rushed and not detailed enough. Threads start and then go no where - Briar's annoyance at Evvy reverting to a daughter of Yanjing for a start.

Don't get me wrong; I will read and reread this book. But it wasn't what it should have been. I would have rather burned with impatience for another two years waiting and got the book it should have been. I know I complain when Ms Pierce's books get put back publication date wise. I can't help it.

I am sure that Tamora Pierce won't read this but if by any chance she does, I've loved and reread all if your book to faint, tissue thin ghosts of themselves. Please don't let your editors make you forget the following of fans you have that are in their thirties now. I've bought your books for the last 22yrs. You can't be compared with anyone else in the genre because there's no comparison. Please stay the course in your next book. You help keep me sane!
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on 27 February 2014
I first discovered Tamora Pierce’s work in my first year of secondary school. I started off with The Protector of the Small quartet and was hooked from there. I devoured her Tortall works and reread my favourites frequently. I didn’t discover her Circle of Magic universe until I was sixteen and despite my love of Tortall and her characters there, my heart was truly captured by the four children who made up the original Circle of Magic books.

Battle Magic is the latest book from this universe, and fills in the gaps mentioned in The Will of the Empress and Melting Stones. It concerns Briar, a plant mage from the original four children, and his travels with Rosethorn, his teacher and fellow pant mage, and Evvy, a child stone mage. They travel to Yanjing and Gyongxe, lands similar to Eastern Asia in culture. They are caught up in a war as the Yanjingi emperor tries to conquer Gyongxe.

I loved this book from the first page to the last. Reading about some of my favourite characters and going with them on a journey of determination, pain, loss, duty and friendship. The characters were true to their previous iterations and behaved as I would expect them to. This book was my equivalent of a large duvet and a cup of hot chocolate: it comforted me and kept me feeling all warm and content.

That said, as much as I enjoyed this novel, I’m not sure how much of it would make sense without reading the previous books in the series. Much of the plot relies on previous knowledge of these characters and their skills and without this certain parts of the story would not make sense. I would urge people who think this book sounds like something they would enjoy to read the previous books. They are all considered young adult fantasy but I feel they would be suitable for any age. This book is darker than the beginning books and does deal with some rather graphic violence as well as touching upon some sexual themes.

This book has cast its magic upon me, just like its predecessors. I loved each bit of it and the way it captured my imagination. I recommend this for anyone who is a fan of Tamora Pierce’s work and the whole Circle of Magic series to anyone who enjoys good fantasy novel.
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on 2 February 2015
These are beginning to sound like the same story slightly rejigged and as such do not hold the interest like the earlier books. I gave up on this one and will finish it when I have had chance to forget the previous one which was much the same
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on 11 October 2013
 This book bridges the gap in which Briar, Evvy and Rosethorn end up in a war. As the title suggests, there's battles and they use their magic.
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on 4 October 2013
Battle Magic is meant to fit into the gap between Street Magic and Will of the Empress.

While it does in terms of timeline (aside from one teeny tiny point, which isn't actually important so I'm trying not to care), all those things that Briar hints he went through, dreamed about, and generally goes 'aaaargh' over in Empress haven't QUITE made it into this book.

I think that the follow on from this to Melting Stones is slightly better. But Melting Stones doesn't have the four mains, who are the people I wanted to read about.

It's a good story. Believable characters, acting how I would expect in the situations she threw at them. But I cannot consider this to be part of the series, as much as I want to.

(This is my opinion, obviously, feel free to disagree with me, and I'm always up for a discussion on it!)
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on 26 March 2014
Covers the ground implied in The Will of the Empress so vital for anyone who enjoys the series factor. Opens up the geography of the East in this world too.
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on 23 September 2014
Its tamora pierce. Don't really need to say much more, as she is brilliant, and her characters are fascinating.
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on 3 March 2015
Fantastic book could not put it down from start to finish!
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on 13 August 2014
great read as usual
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