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Magic Steps (The Circle Opens, #1)
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Magic Steps (The Circle Opens #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  14,986 ratings  ·  241 reviews
"'Magic? Me, do magic?' Magic was a thing of schools and books. No proper Acalon did magic. 'Oh, no--please, you're mistaken, my lady. I'm no mage.'

Sandry met his eyes squarely. 'You just danced a magical working, Pasco Acalon. I am never mistaken about such things.'"

Four years after we last saw the young mages Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar in the Circle of Magic quart

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Scholastic Press
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Four years after the magical plague swept their city in Briar's Story, the magical students of Winding Circle have separated to pursue further training. Sandry, whose gift lies in weaving magic as though it were thread, discovers a boy with a strange ability. Unlike ordinary mages, he has to dance to do magic. Everyone else in his family is a harrier (the city's version of police), but Sandry convinces them to let him train with her.

Meanwhile, a feud between merchant clans leads to murder, as a
Dena Landon
I just finished re-reading the whole series. What I love about Tamora Pierce's books is that she creates different worlds within the greater cosmos/magical structure, based on countries in our world. Each of the books in this series revolves around one of the characters from her earlier Circle of Magic books finding an ambient mage to train, whilst trying to solve a different murder mystery. Half murder mystery, half-fantasy, and well integrated between the two. I will admit that they get a bit ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Jenna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Terrier and Graceling
Review originally posted at The Otaku Librarian.

As a disclaimer, even though I've only given it three stars, I did enjoy it more than its prequel series, possibly due to the fact that it centered around only two protagonists rather than a whole slew of them.

I originally thought this to be a children's novel along the lines of Tamora Pierce's other works. Once the blood and gore started splattering about, however, I was shocked. And then I realized, oh YA. But still, there are literal buckets of
Sandry, you are an inspiration.
Seriously, she's an amazing person and a great teacher (while at the same time she's struggling with it, losing her patience with Pasco etc., illustrating how very human she is) and reading about her is a joy; she's probably my favourite "Lady" character of all time. She spins her magic, she's soft-spoken and thoughtful and observant and feminine and if you think any of that is a weakness, you couldn't be farther from the truth - and both Sandry herself & this
I never really cared about Sandry (and to be honest I didn't like the Circle of Magic books as much as I liked the Tortall ones when I was a kid anyway) and I don't think I ever will. Her personality, her family, her magic...none of them really appealed to me. Give me Tris or Briar (with Niko and Rosethorn along for the ride, naturally) any day of the week. I might even be more interested in Daja, given the character developments I've heard about in Will of the Empress (nothing against her but l ...more
Jason Beineke
I really enjoyed this book and it is a book that is on a higher maturity level than the original Circle of Magic books. Among the themes at play here are Sandry's devotion to her uncle and her desire to care for him out of selfless love as opposed to the selfishness of Duke Vestry's third son and current heir. In the original Circle of Magic books we saw Sandry as both the most psychologically damaged of the four youths due to her accidental imprisonment in the dark and also as the most compassi ...more
I thought that after I finished Mastiff I was going to have to find another author to listen to at night because my library did not have any other Tamora Pierce novels on CD. Then I had a brilliant idea: Interlibrary Loan. It's not just for seriously scholarly research. It took a couple of tries because not all libraries will loan their audio collection, but I persevered. Success. I now have the rest of Tamora Pierce oeuvre queued up and ready to go. (Except for Cold Fire and Shatterglass. Those ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adriana Chavez
Magic Steps is about Sandry a fourteen year old girl who has an unusual magic ability with weaving and thread. She is still learning about her own magic when she discovers a new magic in a twelve year old boy. As the mage who discovered him she must teach him what he needs to know so his Magic does not get out of control. While she is teaching him a family is being murdered with another unusual magic. It is up to Sandry to teach the boy and stop the murderers before it is too late. It is set in ...more
(3.5 stars, really)

When I was very young, Tamora Pierce was one of my favourite authors. I say "one of" because I know there must have been others, since I read like a maniac, but I can never seem to remember more than three at any given time. I must have read the Circle of Magic quartet several times over.

At the end of 2013 (the very end, as in 31/12), I decided to read it again--and realised with a giddy jolt that I had only ever read the first two books. Again, over and over. This is probably
Sandry knows magic when she sees it. She witnesses Pasco dancing on a fishermen’s net for luck, and immediately knows that he is dancing magic. Pasco is incredulous, but Sandry knows if he isn’t taught to use his magic properly, it could quickly get out of control. In the meantime, a series of horrendous murders is taking place, and Sandry and Pasco may be the only ones who can stop them.

I picked this up blindly at the library, and while it is the first book in a quartet, I found out that it fo
Julie Decker
Pasco isn't interested in magic, but one day Sandry insists she's seen him work it. But since Sandry specializes in unorthodox magic--and since Pasco will probably do it by accident again if he's not trained--he reluctantly allows her to help him focus his dancing magic (much to the dismay of his tough-guy family). It turns out to be a much-needed form of magic against those who are using magic's antithesis to commit terrible and murderous acts, and Sandry and Pasco make a great team. But can a ...more
A general comment about this whole series - I enjoyed having books that were really about each of the four characters, but I felt like something was missing from all the books from having them apart. The books all felt like they were missing characters and there weren't enough new characters and character development of the new characters to satisfy me. Also, the four books didn't seem like a series, but four stand-along books, because nothing linked them together.

My review of this one specifica
I listened to this on audio. I believe the author reads these, at least in part, and I almost had to abandon the story because I couldn't tell if she was a real person or some sort of computer generated voice. It was very distracting. I hate when great story gets bogged down in audio semantics. I'm glad I stuck with it. The story was engaging and exciting.
Loren Weaver
Magic Steps is book one in the new series The Circle Opens, following the series The Circle of Magic, by Tamora Pierce.

Our favorite four mages have grown up a bit and scattered to different countries for their own adventures. Poor Sandry is left at home with her uncle the Duke. Of course, this may sound like the short end of the stick, but Sandry soon find out there's a set of murderers loose in her city and they don't intend to stop. Together with the law keepers of the city, Sandry must stop t
Fantasy Literature
Magic Steps is the first book of the Tamora Pierce quartet entitled The Circle Opens. Featuring the characters of The Circle of Magic quartet, this new series continues their story by exploring how each of the four main characters — just coming to grips with their powers in the previous books — now handle the challenge of becoming teachers themselves. Unfortunately, Pierce has decided that one of the prerequisites of this new experience is that the four protagonists — Sandry, Briar, Daja and Tri ...more

I generally love Tamara Pierce, but I wasn't thrilled with this one. I haven't read the Circle series, so I missed some background & didn't have an emotional attachment to the main character. If anything, she annoyed me because she did not seem like a 14 year old. Maybe 18, but not 14.
Sarah Hills
This first book of the Circle Opens quartet puts Sandry at the crossroads of adolescence. Leaving behind Discipline Cottage to care for her uncle the Duke, Sandry must grapple with the responsibilities that come with her extraordinary power. She thinks nothing could test her more than her unruly student Pasco until a series of mysterious, horrific murders prompt her to join the search for the killers. Together she and Pasco must take down these murderers, but what will the cost be?

In terms of Pi
This is the first book in the second quartet about the mages of Winding Circle. Unlike the earlier four books, the four main characters have split up to follow their own paths, and each book really does focus on one of them in particular.

I liked the first series, so I liked getting to find out more about what happens with Sandry and her uncle. The addition of Pasco, the dancer mage, is interesting, but his storyline seemed to be relegated to the background much of the time. He came off as more o
I really like the Circle of Magic books. Kid safe, if they are old enough for serious bad guys and a little blood and guts.
Whereas the Circle of Magic ends with its weakest book, The Circle Opens begins with it. There are certainly parts of Magic Steps that are worthwhile, but overall there is not enough story or innovation and quite a bit of clunky exposition. The premise itself is explained to the Characters (and the audience) rather awkwardly (as if we are to believe that the Council would have given the Cirle kids mage's medallions without explaining the rules to them). It makes me wonder if Pierce herself does ...more
As the circle opens, so does the violence...this one is far more bloddy than the prior series, and, though the protagonists are now 14, I wonder whether this is really an adult novel about younger kids, rather than a YA novel. Maybe I'm getting prudish in my old age. Anyway, it's a rousing story about Sandry helping a young boy learn to dance his magic in order to try to capture some murderers. The action and pace are furious, the character development less so, which is surprising for Pierce, wh ...more
It has been four years since Sandry and her friends found a cure for the blue pox plague. Now they are all off on their own adventures while
Sandry stays home to take care of her great uncle, Duke Vedris, who recently suffered a heart attack. She soon finds that she must rely on herself to deal with extraordinary events rather than on the power of the group. She finds a young boy whose dance results in magic. It then falls to her to train him like she was trained. But there is also a seemingly i
Jessalyn King
Tore through this. I still don't know why I gave up on this series when I was younger. The one problem with Tamora Pierce's books that I've just this book realized (which is only a problem in the predictability aspect) is that her characters never fail at things. Awful things happen to them, absolutely, and they grow to survive those things, and they make mistake, but they don't make mistakes big enough to actually screw things up. It's a good thing, when you want something that feels good to re ...more
Jan 09, 2014 Janet rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of young adult fantasy
Sandry is a young mage who has an unusual type of magic in which she spins and weaves her spells as if they were different colored threads. She can also detect other people's magic as if they are threads that remain visible to her eyes well after the spells have been used.

After Sandry witnesses a young boy named Paco dancing a spell without even knowing what he was doing, she is excited to recommend him for magical training. Sandry soon learns that, as the mage who discovered the power of the yo
Claire Smith
Now that I'm learning how to sew, I appreciate Sandry's magic much more now than I ever did when I first read about her. She is more of a technical mage than the others, except maybe Briar; I liked the descriptions of what she had in her mage kit, and how she used it. She also tackles being a teacher with her usual stubbornness, but this time it is directed towards getting the best out of (and for) her new student, instead of her typical I'm-right-and-we're-doing-it-my-way attitude.

Seeing her w
Cynthia Wood
Jan 18, 2015 Cynthia Wood rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who loved Circle of Magic
If you loved Circle of Magic, then you will probably like or love the Circle Opens books as well. This, the first of them, follows Sandry as she starts to move into her role as an adult mage, living with her great-uncle in Summersea after he suffers a heart attack.

I love Sandry's character, and she remains true to form here, open and friendly to everyone, and deceptively easy-going until someone tries to stop her from doing something she knows must be done.

I'm a little less enamored of her young
Stephanie Jobe
I like having the cover I actually read on the blog, well apparently this one is hard to find so this is a scan of my actual copy, bizarre. When we met the circle they were only 10. Now they are fourteen and their teachers have taken them traveling. Once again we begin with Sandry. She is not traveling with Lark. While Lark is back at home Sandry is with her great-uncle. He had a heart attack and not only did she help save his life, now she is helping him manage his responsibilities as Duke. Tha ...more
I only read this quartet once before, and I don't remember how much I actually liked it. So it was a pleasant surprise that I really enjoyed Magic Steps this time. I'm really interested in the yet more kinds of interesting magic Tammy develops in these - although I wish she actually spent as much times with the students and their interesting magic (here I'm jumping ahead to talk about all four, as at the time of this review I've actually finished rereading the whole quartet) as she did exposing ...more
Crystal (Kris)
Over break, I expanded my Tamora Pierce collection once again--with The Circle Opens quartet. Fortunately, I was able to find copies of the original hardbacks at bargain prices. These were the copies I first read as a child, and I'm attached to them. I didn't want to buy copies with the new covers. While I was at home a couple weekends ago, I got nostalgic and found myself rereading the quartet. These books target a middle-grade audience and are a quick and easy read for older readers like mysel ...more
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Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join gro
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Other Books in the Series

The Circle Opens (4 books)
  • Street Magic (The Circle Opens, #2)
  • Cold Fire (The Circle Opens, #3)
  • Shatterglass (The Circle Opens, #4)
Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1) Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4) In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2) The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, #3) Wild Magic (Immortals, #1)

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