July 17, 2007

Briar’s Book

Posted in Circle of Magic, Fantasy, Magical Education, Teen/Young Adult tagged , , , , , at 9:07 pm by caelesti

Briar’s Book: Book 4 of the Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce

Briar is asked for help by one of his old street kid friends- his friend Flick is sick with an unknown disease. Soon it spreads and Rosethorn and Briar find themselves in quarantine, tending the sick as an epidemic threatens the whole city of Summersea. At Winding Circle healers work furiously trying to find a cure, but how many people will die before then?

I found this the most emotionally gripping of the four books to read, perhaps because to me the epidemic described showed a more severe kind of human suffering than the disasters in the other books. Also, obviously the series has built up to a more severe challenge for the characters to face.

The Circle of Magic quartet ends a year after the four mages first met in Sandry’s Book. We really see the psychological and magical growth of the characters. Their adventures continue in the Circle Opens quartet, Will of the Empress and Melting Stones.

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July 10, 2007

Lady with a Mead Cup

Posted in Celtic Studies, Germanic Studies, History, Nonfiction tagged , , at 6:18 pm by caelesti

Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age by Michael Enright Four Courts Press, 1996

Lady with a Mead Cup is an analysis of the social/religious significance of a ritual in which the wife/lady/queen of a warlord offers a cup of mead to the members of a warband in Germanic and continental Celtic (Gaulish) culture. Actually that kind of relates to the previous book in that it’s focussed on warbands and their connection with seership, though it doesn’t discuss the Fenians.

Much of it was rather dry and hard to get thru so I skipped parts (mainly the big chunk in the middle about archeology), but there was some good info in there, especially about the role of sibyls/prophetesses in warbands, and later on in the book, the cult of the “Gaulish Mercury”, Rosmerta, and the connection between Mercury, Lugh and Odin and how the cult of Odin evolved in relation to the rise of the warband.

Whew! Now I’m going to take a break from all this heavy nonfiction and finish up His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. 🙂

(This is an older post- I just hadn’t finished it)

July 6, 2007

Daja’s Book

Posted in Circle of Magic, Fantasy, Fiction, Magical Education, Teen/Young Adult at 2:49 pm by caelesti

Daja’s Book: Book 3 of Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce

In the next segment of the Circle of Magic saga, Daja, Tris, Briar and Sandry and their teachers journey to the Golden Ridge mountains of northern Emelan, to help the people there deal with a severe drought.

Meanwhile the four young mage’s powers are combining in unpredictable ways. In one instance, Daja accidentally creates a living metal vine. A passing band of Traders expresses interest in buying it, and spending time with them, Daja becomes homesick for her own people and culture. As the threat of forest fire looms Daja and her friends face the challenge- and Daja also must decide where she belongs- with the Traders or at Winding Circle?