Monday, November 7, 2011

The Fire in the Forging

Daja's Book
~Daja's Book~
Circle of Magic
Book 3
By Tamora Pierce
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Outcast Trader Daja, along with her fellow mages-in-training, journeys from Winding Circle to the Gold Ridge Mountains, where drought threatens widespread famine. There, Daja creates an astonishing object: a living metal vine. A caravan of Traders covets the vine, and Daja's dealings with her former people reawaken a longing for familiar ways.

Daja must choose—should she return to the Traders or remain with the Winding Circle folk who have become her family?

Though the other stories have dimmed in my mind a bit over the years, this story's great feat always stayed with me. There's just something about fire and bending it to your will that fascinates me. It mirrors life without having any. From working to tame a wildfire, or even simply stoking a fire in the hearth, you have to work with the fire instead of against it. I'm awed by its strength and simultaneous weakness.

But enough of my pyromania, back to the story. The jacket summary doesn't even begin to cover everything that happens in the book. Though it is the shortest of the series, there are a lot of fine details, cultural traditions, and magical workings packed in here. Fans of Pierce and her series will recognize and cherish the intricacies she puts into her world-building, language, and ever expanding magic. She knows how to pack a lot of punch in just a few pages, leaving readers more than satisfied.

Though Daja wasn't a side-character in the previous books, there's no doubt that she's the star here. A lot of memories are stirred up when she is exposed to Trader culture once more, and not all of them are good ones. We've all had those times where we've felt exiled, whether it's our fault or not. Trying to make the best out a bad situation, Daja has tried to put it behind her. But now she's forced to face her past, her exile, and try to decide how she'll take that into her future. Good thing she's got some extremely loyal friends to help her through.

As with the first book, there's not a whole lot of action until a good-ways through. That's not to say a lot isn't happening, it's just not as exciting as one might expect from just finishing a story laden with pirate battles. Magic is the main issue for much of the story, as the effects of joining their powers for the quake starts to produce some unusual side-effects. But don't let your guard down, cause let me tell you, the last few chapters are a doozey.

Overall, Daja's Book is probably the book I would recommend most of the series. It builds on its predecessors, but is unique and strong by itself as well. It is usually found in the Middle Grade section, but I have no problem recommending it to anyone who loves fantasy. Filled with unforgettable characters, fire-fighting, and a lot of magic, this is definitely a story you'll want to return to time and time again.

Approximate Reading Time: 3 hours

Whisper Stories in My Ear

Read by Tamora Pierce, Bruce Coville & Full Cast Audio
(click for cast names)
Length: 5.4 Hours
Listened at 1.8x Speed

Having a voice in your ear is especially helpful in deciphering foreign names such as Inoulia, Polyam or Tsaw'ha. However, having an outside reader did make it difficult at times to picture what you're reading/hearing. Some of the more technical passages about smithing or weaving were a bit rushed for me, though that might be due to the speed at which I listen.

Full Cast Audio continues to make an enjoyable read even more so. Spencer Murphy reprized his role as Briar, and the rest of the cast were as amazing as ever. Not much more I can say that hasn't been said before. These audiobooks are simply magical, and I can hardly wait to start the next one!