Title: Battle Magic
Author: Tamora Pierce
Published: September 24th 2013 by Scholastic Press
Pages: 440 pages
Read: October 10 to 13, 2013
Status: First reading
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
I adore Tamora Pierce and I am yet to read a book by her that where I did not find something to like, so this review is probably a bit squeeing.
Emelan is my favourite of Pierce’s two universes, because I feel that the worldbuilding was deeper from book one and I like the magic system better. The magic system is simply more interesting and original. The mages using ambient magic have so many neat tricks up their sleeves and makes me want to make a mage in my next roleplaying campaign so I can steal those ideas. The cultures in the Emelan universe borrows heavily from real world cultures which leans the world depth without the need for exposition.
The other reason I like the Emelan books better is that they have multiple point of view in each series and the characters generally feel more fleshed out. There is also greater diversity in whom those point of view characters are. Battle Magic is the first of Pierces books that uses the multiple points of views in a really active way. We jump back and forth between Rosethorn (a middle aged woman!), Evvy (12 year old asian girl) and Briar (16 year old boy). The narrative have two young adult perspectives, an adult perspective, two female and a male. This makes for really interesting storytelling especially when the story jump from physical space to physical space between the perspectives. However this does have the side effect of not dragging me so deeply into the characters emotions as I would normally be in a Pierce book. There are some really nasty parts of this book and I do not think I would recommend it to the youngest parts (torture and war) of Pierce normal audience. Those parts does feel a bit more bearable by the fact that we know from later books that our three protagonists will heal with time, wough they never completely recover. Enough lit theory…
Despite the jumps in point of view, I was never annoyed by wanting to get back to my favourite point of view – which is often the case. The book are full of very strong emotions and deals with the subject of grief quite a bit. The descriptions are short but vivid so that I felt myself transported into the book. Because of the hints and bits and pieces that Tamora Pierce has put into the books that happens after this book (but was published before) we know that a few pretty horrible things will happen – this adds to the growing tension in the book. For the first third of the book, nothing bad or really major happens, but you know it will which adds to the tension and makes you view every little thing that happens in a darker light.
Over all I really liked the book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who liked other books in the Emelan univers. However I do not think it is her best book or my favourite and it does definitely not stand on it’s own. Which is why it gets four stars from me.