I finally finished my first book in the Dusty Bookshelf challenge. Tamora Pierce's books have been on my to read shelf for at least two years now. This is the final book in the Circle Opens Quartet. I am glad there is at least one more book about Tris and her friends and also the Melting Stone about Briar's student still left to go.
This book focuses on Tris, a mage with weather magic. Tris has traveled with her teacher Niko to Tharios, so that he can attend a meeting of magic who want to collect their various knowledge on scrying and other related magics. Niko is constantly in meetings, so this gives Tris plenty of time to explore the area and she wants to learn more about glassmaking. As she travels through the town, she notices the social caste is extremely strict and those on the bottom, the prathmuns, those who collect garbage and help with the dead, are not allowed to even converse with others. The entertainers are treated little better than the prathmuns, even though they are a big draw for tourist to come to Tharios. Tris notices magic being stripped away and is lead to Kethlun Warder, a man who was struck by lightning. Tris in her usual brisk matter, confronts Keth and demands to speak to his teacher. Keth then learns he has magic and Tris as his discoverer and as a lightning mage herself must teach him. The two are stubborn and often disagree, however they join forces to try to help Dema, a magic policeman, who is trying to find a serial killer who targets the female yaskedasi, the entertainers. Keth must master lightning glass globes and his fear of lightning that seem to tell the future and show the next victim, before more women are killed. With Tris' help they may catch the killer and help change the town's prejudices.
I have really enjoyed the Circle Opens series. Tamora Pierce does an excellent job creating the different regions and loosely basing them on historical places and times without actually making her books historical fiction. It is easy to see this is like the caste society of countries like India. Tris really grew on me in this book. Of the four, she was my least favorite, but I feel like you really get to know her struggles with her pride and her abandonment issues, since her family passed her from one person to the next. I like her character more now, after seeing how she treated the orphaned Glaki, whose mother was killed, and how she learned patience with Keth. I think this was the most developed of the four in the series, but the ending felt just a little rushed.
Favorite Character: Tris. Tris really matured in this book, but she remained her headstrong self. She knows she is flawed, but she continues to try to learn patience and kindness. She is better than she gives herself credited for and she remains a good person, even without her foster brother and sisters.
Favorite Quote: "The hardest lesson any of us must learn is there's only so much we can do." This is the lesson Tris has learned and continues to learn. I know I definitely struggle with this idea at times.
I love Pierce's writing and the Circle Opens series was even better than the Circle quartet. Pierce definitely deserved the Margaret A Edwards award. Definitely a 5 cups of cocoa book for me!