Circle Reforged #3. Author: Tamora Pierce.
While visiting the God-King and the First Circle temple in Gyongxe, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are invited to visit the emperor’s summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxe, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion.
Accompanied by one of the emperor’s prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxe to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle.
But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?
Fairly mediocre, I thought. There’s interesting world-building, in the singing mountains one girl can hear and the living gateway paintings another boy can see, but the full range and implications aren’t really explored. Nothing in particular stood out beside Tamora Pierce’s other books.
Sexual content: “He knew that Rosethorn sometimes slept with people other than Lark. He knew that Lark knew. He had had one conversation with Rosethorn about it, in which she firmly explained how it was a person’s right to choose their partners.” This narration is in connection with strong implication of two adults sleeping together off screen.
Violence: Gardeners are burned alive by the emperor for imperfection in the gardens. Prisoner mentions being interrogated by torture. Hand to hand fighting, and some enchanted plants used – some broken bones, and some killed. No blood/gore in this battle. Some soldiers are killed in a rockslide, and more are strangled by their necklaces. Several cats (pets) are killed offscreen / found dead. Teenage girl is tortured: her sensitive feet are beaten raw. Several full-on battle screens with many combatants; both fighting with swords and with magic plants (strangling and thorns).