Goodreads: Sandry, Daja, Briar, and Tris, are older now and back together again, in an exciting and much-awaited, stand-alone novel by everyone's favorite mage, Tamora Pierce.
For years the Empress of Namorn has pressed her young cousin, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, to visit her vast lands within the Empire's borders. Sandry has avoided the invitation for as long as it was possible. Now Sandry has agreed to pay that overdue visit. Sandry's uncle promises guards to accompany her. But they're hardly a group of warriors! They're her old friends from Winding Circle: Daja, Tris, and Briar. Sandry hardly knows them now. They've grown up and grown apart. Sandry isn't sure they'll ever find their old connection again - or if she even wants them to.
This book is probably one of my favourites in the whole series so far. I feel like it succeeded where the very first book didn't. Both books focus on all four mages, but this book must be triple the size of the first one, and it is exactly what was needed for that many main characters to work. The only thing I didn't like was that there were all these references to Briar's past (that we don't know about). It made me feel like I'd forgotten something. I actually had to look it up to make sure that I hadn't skipped a book!
It was so uncomfortable having the four of them at each other's throats most of the book, but I loved it! It's the right sort of feeling uncomfortable, especially because I think it mirrored how the characters felt after being reunited after 2 years.
The character development in these books have been so amazing. I really don't think I've read another series that rivals it (well, okay, probably Harry Potter. But other than that, I don't think I have). They've gone through so many different experiences, it's no wonder they've all changed so much as indiviuals! And they've grown - and not all in ways that I liked. I hate that Briar's become a lady's man :-/...it feels weird since we were first introduced to him when he was what...12? 14? I suppose he's the right age for it now though *sighs* And I particularly hated the assumptions they all made about Sandry - who I felt bore the brunt of the ire, when I feel she deserved it the least. She was the most open to reopening a connection between the four of them, the most supportive, and the others treated her like crap AND IT MADE ME SO ANGRY! But this isn't me complaining about them doing that - it felt very in character with how they have grown as individuals. This is me angsting out about how I felt reading the book haha. So this isn't even really a review. Do I even have the right to actually review a Tamora Pierce book? Don't answer that.