Review: Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic #1)
Monday, August 14, 2023

Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic, #1)Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had a great time reading this first book in the Circle of Magic series with my daughter. First-off, since this is a middle grade level book, let me just say that my daughter (11 years old) LOVED the book and is excited to continue the rest of the series. She's really taken to both the world and the characters, so I'd say she gives this book 5 stars.

As a grown-up reading this book, I enjoyed the world and characters as well but thought the plot was a little lacking. Most of the book is just introducing each of the main characters and describing how they came to be at Winding Circle Temple (basically a magic school for slightly unusual mages). The writing was smooth and engaging, and the characters were all endearing with unique backstories and voices. They are all outcasts in their own ways, and they're all from very different backgrounds, which provides the reader with a lot of handy windows into the world. Other than the kids coming together and meeting their teachers, not much happens until almost the end of the book. So, if you're looking for a "slice of life" style of story, this is perfect. I tend to like a little more "story" in my stories, which is why I knocked the rating down to 4 stars.

I also found it interesting that this book is labeled as "Sandry's Book." Each of the four books in the series corresponds to one of the four kids who make up the protagonist cast, so I assumed each book would focus on the named child of that book. Not so much. While Sandry is the first character we are introduced to in this book, all of the children have equal page time in the story. And the book is written is such a way that it is constantly switching point of view between the four of them, so it's not like the title character determines the narrator. I'm really not sure why this is considered "Sandry's Book" more than any of the other characters'.

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