This is my last book this year for the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge. I finished three books and completed the Pixie Dust Level.
Cold Fire is book 3 of the Circle Opens Quartet and this series follows the Circle Quartet. If you have not read any of the books in the Circle Quartet, this will have spoilers for that series. However, the books in the Circle Opens Quartet do not have to be read in a particular order at least the first three haven't.
Daja and Frostpine have decided to travel around to different smiths, so that Daja can learn about how other smiths work. The two have settled down in Kugisko, a cold Northern town, for the winter. They will have to stay there until early spring when the mountain pass thaws. The two are staying with the Bancanor family, Kol and Matazi and their four children, the oldest of which are twin girls around Daja's age. Kugisko is a city made of wood and so it is prone to fires, particularly in the winter when everyone is trying to keep warm. Within the first weeks of Daja's stay, she witnesses a fire and notices a brave man, Ben Landradun, who is trying to teach the town how to fight fires. Daja wants to help Ben and begins working on gloves to help keep his hands from being scorched while fighting the blazes. However, Daja's free time is quickly occupied by the twins, Jory and Nia. Daja spots magic in Jory and learns she is a cooking mage and since one twin has magic, the other has to have it too. Daja scries Nia's talent as a carpentry mage and sets about finding mages to train the girls. Even though she finds mages, she is stuck with teaching the girls meditation to harness and control their powers and she has to teach the two separately. In the meantime, more fires break out and Daja and Ben realize the fires are being set. Can Daja help catch the firebug and teach the girls? With all this work, Daja is looking forward to the spring.
I love this series and the world that Pierce has created! Briar is my favorite of the Circle four, but Daja is a close second. Daja and Frostpine have a wonderful teacher/student relationship and I think of the four, she has the teacher that matches her powers the best. Daja still mourns for her family, but she has now learned how to interact with others outside the Trading families. Out of the three I have read about so far, Daja is the one who has matured the most. I enjoyed seeing her teaching style and her interactions with the twins. Pierce masterfully creates a believable world and with her descriptions you can easily visualize the area. I like how magic in her world is tied so closely to the earth and how magic seems almost real and understandable.
Favorite Character: Daja. She is strong- she is a smith mage after all- and very patient, even though she thinks she is not. Daja seems the most loving of the four Circle teens and she is also willing to trust others, both a fault and a virtue, more than her Circle friends.
Favorite Quote: "That's magic for you, she thought gloomily. One part glory, one part fun, and one part polishing the brightwork till your back and your knees and your hands all ache." This quote is one of the reason's Pierce's magic is so believable. She shows that the mages have to really work at building and controlling their magic.
I know in many reviews, people fault this book for revealing early on who the firebug is. A few moments are told from this person's point of view and you know within the first one hundred pages who it is. This did not bother me. I thought the point of the story was more that sometimes people disappoint us and that we cannot recognize bad people just by looking at them. The story also revolved just as much about teacher/student relationships. I thought both those themes were fascinating and knowing the firebug did not ruin this for me.
5 cups of cocoa! I really want to read Tris's story now, but that will have to wait until next year!