Alright, so I know I’ve been reading this one forever, but things have been a little crazy around here, and I just finished it. Here it is, for those of you who aren’t familiar or have forgotten:
As I’ve said before, Tamora Pierce was basically my author idol growing up. She was a huge inspiration for me to start writing novels, and a motivation to keep going. It’s been a long time since I’ve read any of her books, so when my dad gave me this book for my birthday, I was more than ecstatic. I started reading, and I was hooked. I would have read it in one sitting, if my life didn’t have different plans. Here’s the breakdown:
The Jist: Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy (of previous Winding Circle books) are halfway across the world from their home, and must use their magic, massive epic armies, and super awesome gods, to fight back the bad emperor and keep him from destroying the peaceful kingdom of Gyongxe.
The Good: Her world-building and storytelling are amazing. It is such a rich and vivid world, complete with culture, history, religions, and politics. I can tell a lot of research went into this one, since it is clearly based on Chinese culture. I love her characterization too. So many unique people and voices, even the side characters are memorable.
The Not-So-Good: This one is hard. For me, I think that some parts can seem more juvenile or middle grade, and I think because it is geared towards a younger audience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, just not for me. I would also say that with the vast cast of characters and rich history, though all very interesting, sometimes it can get confusing (especially with the oriental names).
Favorite Part: Evvy is such a sharp, endearing, and memorable character. She’s a little girl who grew up in the slums, is very brave and spunky, with a huge appetite and seven cats. I loved her sections, especially when (minor spoiler) she journeys into the mountains and meets the gods that live there, and befriends them. Her and Luvo’s (the “heart” of the mountain, a colorful stone bear, and I can’t get rid of the image of a talking gummy bear) dynamic and relationship is brilliant. This ancient mountain god who is very distant about humans grows to love and be fiercely protective of this brave little girl, and they become like best friends.
The Verdict: Anyone who is a fan of Tamora Pierce, or YA fantasy in general, should go read this. Even after twenty-something books, she still manages to create a unique and intriguing world full of vivid characters that won’t leave you anytime soon.