Jenny's Library

Reading Round-up 2013: Week 49

Posted on: February 26, 2014

cover image for Street MagicStreet Magic by Tamora Pierce

Briar Moss’s life is nothing like he’d thought it would be, back when he lived on the streets of Sotat.  Now a powerful mage in his own right, Briar is also far away from any home he’s ever known, traveling with Rosethorn in order to learn from others and observe plants in their native environment.  He’s also still only fourteen, making older mages difficult to deal with at times.  And younger ones too, as Briar finds out when he discovers a young girl with ambient magic and no training – and is tasked with remedying the latter.

I liked the characters and I found the plot to be interesting, but it was also little heavy handed with the Lessons at times – and I didn’t always agree with them.  Once again we have a country located in a hot, dry land, in which the government is brutal and strange.  By the end of the book Briar and Rosethorn want to do nothing more than leave and never come back.  As another reviewer wrote:

“The moral of the story apparently is that Islamic countries suck, and you should do everything within your power to escape them before you are trapped forever in this scorching, corrupt cesspit with no redeeming features.
So… kind of an interesting stance for a children’s book.”

Briar’s discussions with Evvy, his new pupil, about gangs, and the way gangs are portrayed in the book, are also a bit simplistic – even for a middle grade novel.  It’s not that the arguments were incorrect so much as that they were incomplete.  For a novel that had so much gang violence and government corruption, there was a distinct lack of demonstrating how they interact with each other.

I really liked Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy – I just wish the plot had happened in a more balanced setting.

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