BINGO – Landscape (technically a seascape, but I think it counts)
We pick up with the four powerful mage children Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar not long after the earthquake that struck Winding Circle in Sandry’s Book. The earthquake has damaged many of the Winding Circles defenses, and pirates threaten to invade the surrounding villages and Winding Circle itself to steal priceless magical tomes and artifacts, as well as take mages as slaves. The four children and their teachers must fight against the pirates in any way they can, or their home and possibly their lives will be forfeit.
This book is well written, but it is definitely my least favorite of the series. Everything just feels rushed. I think the biggest issues is how quickly things this book picks up events following the conclusion of first entry in the series, Sandry’s Book. Jumping back into the thick of things so soon almost cheapens the events of the first book.
I also wish that Pierce found more creative explorations of the magic in Tris’s Book, but everything plays a little too close to the first. The four children continue to explore their own magic and learn how powerful they truly are. The coolest bit of magic was done by Tris’s teacher, Nico, who casts a spell to look into the past. It’s not a great sign in a fantasy novel involving magic that the best magic is not done by one of the main characters.
What saves this book is the character development and the continued discussion of heavy topics in a novel for children. We learn a lot more about Tris and what her experiences were like growing up. Even though she lived with family for the majority of her life, her experiences were not happy ones. She grew up in homes that were borderline abusive emotionally (if not fully so). Though the people in her life now become aware of her experiences, they never pity Tris, nor do they give her carte blanche to be rude or abrasive (which she is wont to d0). They call her on poor behavior because they love her and want her to grow.
Pierce also continues to not shy away from challenging topics or events. Tris causes ships to explode with lightning, and she must face the consequences of those actions. She must deal with knowing that her actions caused people, potentially innocent people, to die. All of the children are spoken to bluntly and plainly about what will happen if their magic goes wrong. Pierce, through the adults in the book, does not mince her words which is refreshing.
The Full Cast Audio production continues to not be my favorite, but it was definitely easier to fall into the second book than with the first.