So concludes The Circle Opens Series, and a what a way to finish the series!
Tris Chandler and her teacher Niko Goldeye are travelling just like the rest of the young yet extraordinarily powerful mages from Winding Circle. They make their way to the South to a Tharios. Tharios is a Greek/Mediterranean inspired town with a horrible and dehumanizing caste system added on. In Tharios, Niko attends a conference on vision magic, and Tris stumbles upon an immigrant glass blower, Keth, who isn’t in control of his glass and lightning magic. Because lightning magic is so rare and because Tris was the mage who discovered him, she takes him on as his teacher. Together, Tris, Keth, and the police work together to capture the Ghost, the person responsible who killing the city’s entertainers.
The mystery of this book was much improved upon from the previous three. We don’t find out who the murderer is until the end. Instead we get to spend time with characters that we actually like and cheer for. A departure from the other books in The Circle Opens series, Tris’ student Keth is an adult. He struggles to come to terms with a mage-teacher in her teens and the fact that he basically has to start his glass blowing journey all over again in order to wrangle in his magic. But his commitment to hard work and to protecting the community that took him in when he came to Tharios caused me to cheer him on on every page.
And then there’s Dema, the First Class police officer tasked with capturing the Ghost. He is frustratingly restricted by the regulations and traditions in Tharios regarding death and class. He rails against the caste system in order to protect people and is met with opposition from the citizens of Tharios at almost every turn. At the same time, he is duty bound to his class. Pierce strikes an interesting balance between the two opposing ideas.
Finally, there’s Tris. I think that Tris will always be my favorite of the young Winding Circle mages. She learns for the fun of learning, she has no problem spending inordinate amounts of time with her nose in a book, and she takes a no nonsense approach to dealing with people. She is definitely more self aware than I was at her age, but she and I are similar in almost every other way. We didn’t learn a lot about her past in this book, but we did learn much more about her character. Despite a tart exterior, Tris has a kind heart. She has an unbreakable will to protect those most vulnerable who cannot protect themselves.