Despite all my caterwauling over the formulaic nature of the series, I’ve really enjoyed the last three books. This one is probably tied for my favorite with the second one. That one had that sweet ass battle where Briar goes to town all over the bad guy’s house with his super magical plant powers, and this one had Tris being grouchy and getting a tiny glass dragon for a pet. Plus I really liked the way that T. Pierce dealt with issues of culture and religion and class in this one. Such a socially conscious writer is our Tamora Pierce.
Tris, like the other three Circle members, takes on a student. She discovers him by accident as she’s exploring the city where she and her mentor, Niko, are staying while he’s at a conference. He is an adult ambient mage whose powers went unnoticed until he was struck by lightning months back. The lightning strike disabled him and he had to work really hard to recover. It also wrecked his ability to work in his trade as a glass blower. The lightning merged with his already powerful glass magic to form something new and scary. I liked seeing fourteen year old Tris deal with her older student, Keth, who is wary of her and treats her more like a child than she deserves. It’s his wild, uncontrolled magic that accidentally creates the glass dragon, who Tris names Chime. Chime is adorable. She eats glass-making materials, and poops and vomits and breathes fire into beautiful glass coils and balls and natural sculpted flames. She is tinkly and likes to comb her little glass paws in people’s hair to soothe them. I seriously love her.
All of this happens while a series of murders terrorize the lowest caste of people in the city, and Tris and her new student become wrapped up in it when the lead investigator (also a mage) discovers Keth can create glass balls that seem to predict where and when the next murder will occur. If only he can get a handle on his new powers in time to stop things from escalating to horrible levels. (Spoiler: He can’t.)
At times, I did feel I was being emotionally manipulated by a couple of things that happened, which seemed designed solely to make me feel bad and sad about what was happening, but overall, this was a great way to close out the second Emelan series.
Give me a glass dragon. GIVE IT TO MEEEEEE.