‘Melting Stones’ by Tamora Pierce

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Genres: Fantasy, YA, Circle of Magic, MG, Children’s, High Fantasy, Full-Cast Audio

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Previous books in the series reviewed: Circle of Magic: Sandry, Daja, Briar, Tris; Battle Magic, Tempests and Slaughter

Highly Recommended Middle Grade Fantasy, targeted towards ages 10-14. Try the Full Cast Audio production!

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

Pros

  • Evie, Rosethorn and Luvo go on an adventure. More Rosethorn goodness!
  • A solid children’s story, featuring taking responsibility for your actions, and using your abilities to their furthermost extent in order to help people.

Mixed

  • None of the original Circle of Magic protagonists are in this book. If you only read the series for Sandry, Tris, Briar and Daja, this probably isn’t your book. Alternatively, if you are new to the series this is a good place to start because you don’t have to learn the backstory.

Cons

  • The other Circle books feature a rotating cast of POV protagonists. Pierce did a good job of balancing the different ensemble cast members in the other books in this series. I would have liked more POVs, even though Evie did a good job.

 

I’m keeping this review short because my hands hurt.

Evumeimei Dingzai is Briar Moss’s young student, a girl-slave he rescued from a distant city and brought back home to Emelan and the Winding Circle to learn magic. This book occurs during the events of ‘The Will of the Empress.’ While Briar and the Girls are off to Namorn, Rosethorn and Evie are sent to a distant island chain to sort out some mysterious plant deaths. Evie brings her sidekick/mentor Luvo(a million-year-old Spirit of the Mountain) with her on this adventure.

Evie, being a stone mage, quickly discovers that the island is in fact a volcanic island which is about to explode. (The plants are dying due to volcanic vapors seeping up from underground.) Evie, because she has stone-magecraft, is the only person able to communicate with the Spirits of the of Volcano, making her key in trying to prevent the natural disaster from happening… if she can.

This is a good story, targeted to the 10-14 age demographic. As an adult I enjoyed it. That said, Evie does have a satisfying character arc in this book, in which she learns how to connect with people again after being emotionally scarred by losing all her friends and pets in a war which occurred in a previous book (Battle Magic).

If you or your child want to start the series, this is a good place to start (or you can start with ‘Sandry’s Book’ if you so choose). If you are an adult/young adult, you can start with ‘Battle Magic’ and then read this next before you double back for the rest of the series. (Note: I wouldn’t really recommend someone under 12 reading ‘Battle Magic’ without adult supervision/talking about the book with an adult. Some of the scenes are a bit Grimdark.)

Check out the Full Cast Audio production of this book, because it adds a ton of value to the story.

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