Magic Steps - Tamora Pierce

Goodreads Book Blurb:

The young mages of the circle are coming into their power – it’s time to pass on what they’ve learned…

Sandry can weave magic like thread. Her incredible skill leaves others in awe, but controlling an channelling her power is second nature by now. Which is why she’s both intrigued and horrified to find that an untrained boy is dancing complex magic – with no idea that he’s doing it…

Pasco is a Provost’s Guard – well, he will be, if he can get his mind off dancing for long enough to learn his family’s profession. Dancing? Acalons don’t dance – even what they’re frighteningly good at it…

Series / Genres:

My Review:

not my cup of tea:
2/5
I found the first book in The Circle Opens series to be a disappointment in many ways. Part of that is on me, I regret that we skipped four years of learning and growing with these four young mages and went straight to their separation and teaching. It seems a shame to miss out on so much potential for quality content to skip straight to…this. Taking my opinion out of this, though, it’s still not a great addition to the Emelan universe.

Almost as if Pierce forfeited the writing of this book to someone who never read the Circle of Magic series, Sandry is a secondhand retelling of the young noble we’ve met. Everything ever written about her points to her being a caring, compassionate person regardless of their status. However, once she meets Pasco, that all goes out the window. First, she ambushes him with accusations, refusing to let up even when he is clearly shaken and confused that she thinks he could perform magic. Then she bullies him into learning from her, with an inner monologue about how little she wants to do this, even when she can see that he needs support and more information. He comes from a family of harriers, tells her over and over that they won’t accept magic that would help catch criminals, and doubts that he has any magic at all. So Sandry fobs him off on a dance teacher with no magic, half-asses his meditation teaching with almost no patience or understanding, involves him in a dangerous task with no follow-through to be sure he’s safe other than harping at him to make sure he can do it right over and over again. Super supportive. This is not the girl who stood up for Daja, a complete stranger, in a room full of nobles. The girl who protected Briar, her brand new housemate, from a full-grown mage when he was clearly in the wrong and had stolen something. The girl who saw how lonely Tris was and refused to give up on befriending her, no matter how many sharp comments, lightning bolts, and sudden storms she had to endure. The Sandry in Magic Steps is not the same one we met in Sandry’s Book.

There were a few redeemable qualities. The concept of unmagic was interesting. Sandry’s interactions with her uncle seemed closer to the character I expected her to be, but they were mostly just a distraction from the story. Lark was the same caring, eccentric, powerful mage, a true stabilising presence. Unfortunately, these facts weren’t enough to lift the overall impression Magic Steps left behind.

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