Author: Tamora Pierce
Title: Magic Steps
Series: The Circle Opens 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's website:
Lady Sandrilene fa Toren knows all about unusual magic - she herself spins and weaves it like thread. But when she witnessed a boy dancing a spell, even she is confounded. To her dismay, Sandry learns that as the mage who discovered the power of the young dancer, she must be his teacher. Before lessons can begin, however, Sandry and her uncle, Duke Vedris, get news of a mysterious murderer stalking a clan of local merchants. The killer employs the strangest magic of all: the ability to reduce essence to nothingness. As the murders mount and the killer grows bolder, Sandry's teaching takes on a grave purpose. For it becomes clear to everyone that the killings can only be stopped by the combined workings of two people: the young teacher and her even younger student.
When Sandry's uncle falls ill, she hurries to his side to care for him and to take care of his kingdom in his stead. One day she finds a young boy with strange magic--just like she was once found--and is forced to take him on as her student. Except, someone is committing terrible murders in her uncle's city and her young student might be the key to stopping it.
This was a good start to a new series set in the same world and with some of the same characters from the original Circle of Magic series. Sandry as a character is finally starting to grow up and to learn her place in the real world. I loved seeing her growth in this book as she takes on her uncle's duties and her new responsibilities as a teacher.
Unfortunately, I saw many of the issues I had with Pierce's characterizations in the first series in how Pasco--Sandry's student--was written. He was never fully fleshed out as a character, only seeming to pop into the story as needed to add something to the plot. Despite his parents, siblings, and Sandry all teaching him real life lessons, he manages to make idiotic mistake after mistake, which turned him more into a clown than a character. This is an issue for the story as there wouldn't even be a fully-fleshed plot without Pasco, but every time he's mentioned the story suffers.
I really liked reading Sandry's continued growth in this book, particularly as she takes on responsibility and moves on from her time at Winding Circle. Pasco, however, is never properly characterized and that really hurt the overall story. Still, I have reread this story far too many times and I still find myself picking the book up yet again, so I have to recommend it anyway.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.