Plot: Evvy is a young stone mage who is more comfortable with minerals than with people. She is forced to follow her mentor and a prickly water mage on a rescue mission to the Battle Islands. On these islands the plants and animals are dying and they have been tasked with finding the cause. Only Evvy soon fdiscovers that the problem lies not in the plants or in the water but in the earth itself. The island’s mountain is about to transform into a volcano and she may not have the power to stop it.
Let me start this off by saying that I love Tamora Pierce. I didn’t have the good fortune of discovering her as a teen but I’ve since thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Alanna, Beka, Keladry and the rest.
That being said, this is not my favorite of her novels. This is not a story of brave knights and daring adventures but rather concerns natural disasters and, to a lesser extent, magic. The focus on geology becomes a bit tiring if you’re not interested in that sort of thing (and unfortunately I am not). It didn’t help that I have yet to read the other Circle books and felt I was missing some back story.
Evvy is well developed but I didn’t really take to her. She is meant to be unsociable which also makes her somewhat unlikable. Some characters are more likable but unfortunately, as Evvy narrates the story and she avoids people when possible, we see little of them. The one exception to this rule is Luvo, the heart of a mountain, who is more mineral than person. He’s a very unique character and almost interesting enough to make up for Evvy’s shortage of friends.
The ending also disappointed me a little. Though Evvy shows courage and growth in the end, it is not enough to save the islands. The whole thing is resolved through a bit of deus ex machina. Interesting but not very satisfying, which was my feeling for the book as a whole.
Challenges: The Into the Old World Challenge (14)