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Briar's Book (Circle of Magic, #4)
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Briar's Book (Circle of Magic #4)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  17,732 ratings  ·  215 reviews
Part of the 8-book Tamora Pierce reissue for Fall 2006, this title in the Circle of Magic quartet features spellbinding new cover art. Coincides with the release of WILL OF THE EMPRESS in trade pb.

Four elements of power, four mages-in-training learning to control them. In Book 4 of the Circle of Magic Quartet, former "street rat" Briar leads a comfortable life at Winding C
Mass Market Paperback, 258 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published April 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rasmus Skovdal
This review is for the first four books, ’Circle of Magic.’

An overall four stars, with the individual ratings as follows:

Sandry’s Book: 4

Tris’s Book: 4

Daja’s Book: 3

Briar’s Book: 4

This is, shortly, an excellent YA/children’s series. The books are short, but never feel rushed. They are simple, but never simplistic. Each book has a strong moral core, and they each contain messages, but this is never pushed (at least not strongly) on the reader. They are essentially very good examples of how to sp...more
Fuchsia Rascal
What a great finish to this series! Instead of having a human enemy to fight against, our young mages have to deal with a plague that's spreading rapidly through Summersea. For most of the book, Briar and Rosethorn are separated from the rest of their housemates, nursing the sick in quarantine because they were exposed to the disease. It's a huge change from the previous books, where the four young mages and their teachers were always together. I love how they work together, but separating them...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2008 Jace rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, old and young.
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
This is probably my favourite of all of Pierce's fine books for young adults. It's touching, heart-wrenching (yes, Rosethorn is my favourite character) and pretty darn meaningful. I've always loved the books that take place in this world more than those from Tortall because this world had (has) so much more room for innovations beyond the safe formula of your standard fantasy novel. And the series does live up to expectations - it develops and fleshes out these four young people in four eventful...more
Apr 30, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Laurie K Marks and Sherwood Smith
Briar escaped life as a homeless young thief when his magic was discovered. Since then, he has renamed himself and, to a certain extent, reinvented himself. He realizes how much he's changed in skills, outlook and assumptions (like trusting authorities, or actually *wanting* to be clean) when one of his street-rat friends falls ill. And as the illness spreads, and plague envelops the city, Briar is forced to come to terms with his new destiny.

This book is basically everything I have ever wanted...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Every book in this series became less and less exciting as I became a master of predicting what-will-happen-next. How can I predict the plot? Easy, because it's the same plot in every book. The only thing that changes is the central character whose name appears on the cover. So reading all four in a row was like eating four pints of ice cream in different flavors. By the time you get to the last pint you want to barf no matter how much you like ice cream. That being said I've decided I'm not goi...more
Julie Decker
Briar has always had a connection with plants, and ever since he's been part of the Circle of Magic, it's been a magical connection. But he has a past of petty crime that he's had to grow beyond, and one of the people from that past is thrown back into his life when he finds out a plague is spreading in his old home. And furthermore, his beloved teacher comes down with the illness. He and his partners Sandry, Tris, and Daja have to combine their efforts and their minds once again to do the impos...more
This book was the most emotionally charged of the whole series to me. I had liked Briar the least in the beginning because of his tough exterior but I really like how he was changed over the course of the small book. He also reminds me a lot of my young nephew William. Dealing with loss and potential loss is at such a young age is life changing. This is definitely a book I would recommend for him.
This might have actually been one of my favorite books written by Tamora Pierce... and it has a lot to do with Lark and Rosethorn. Because I was convinced when I read this book that they WERE a couple no matter what anyone said and thank you all, I was right. Not to mention it was well-written and it actually made me cry at parts. Wonderful book.
Fantasy Literature
Briar's Book, the last book in the Circle of Magic quartet (also published as The Healing in the Vine) is perhaps one of Tamora Pierce's best novels. Unlike her other series, which deal with battles, magic, fantasy creatures, revolution and politics, Briar's Book centers something very mundane by comparison: a plague. Yet Pierce incorporates within the story all her powerful themes of love and friendship, pain and suffering, grief and hope, and humanity's capabilities for both good and evil that...more
Loren Weaver
Briar's Book is the fourth and final book in the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce.

Briar and his teacher, Rosethorn, go into the city for some work with a poor hospital and stumble onto an epidemic. The Blue Pox is a new, never before seen disease sweeping Emelan and must be stopped. But our favorite four mages have never been in the middle of an epidemic before. They all must learn new magics and new ways of dealing with the horrors if they're to survive and end this plague.

This book real...more
I was very disappointed with this final installment in Pierce's Circle of Magic quartet. While her heroines are consistent in their characterization, I don't find Briar to be so in this novel (more so in the first three, actually), but my biggest complaint is that he doesn't follow the arc that the girls do. Each book is focused on one of the four main characters, and that protagonist's story is about learning to control, and then use, her/his magical power. That happens for the three girls, but...more
I enjoyed this book and I liked the premise. It seemed a bit less of a "magical" book, though, because it was mostly dealing with plague, which I just found a bit less interesting. I did like that you got to learn more about a number of characters that were more minor before and that you got to see a lot more from Brier's point of view. My other main complaint is that Brier seemed to have formed too strong of an attachment to his teacher, which seemed a bit unhealthy (especially with the ending)...more
I'm not really sure how to recommend this series to other people. What I mean by that is, I'm not confident enough in my own ability to provide a sufficient and brief synopsis, which would describe how truly wonderful this entire story really is and get people interested. I absolutely regard the entire quartet to be a well-told adventure with some of the smoothest writing I've ever seen. It's exciting and immersive, but in a "quiet" way (if that makes much sense - SEE? I can't do it justice, alr...more
The last in the first quartet, and I'm kind of glad it's over with and I can move on. This series as a whole was not Tammy's best work and I think I finished it because each was short, and I listened to the audiobooks while spinning.

In this story, plague hits, and Briar is in the middle of it. This book was interesting in that the four are separated for the first time since coming together. Briar is stuck in quarantine and Daja is off in the forge creating sample boxes.

What I really liked about...more
Briar is now a mage but he hasn't forgotten his past as a street rat. So when one of his street rat friends asks him for help he rushes to answer. Unfortunately it turns out that his friend is patient zero in a plague that has never been seen before. Will Briar and his friends be able to stop the plague and save the people they love?

Briar is the main character in this book. He has been at Winding Circle for at least a year and is just starting to get comfortable with his new life. But the plague...more
I do think this is my favourite in the series... It is also the book that makes Briar my favourite (and I do so love his book in the following quartet).

Everything I want to mention counts as a spoiler, and though I don't mind marking small parts here and there as spoilers a whole review marked as such isn't much fun!

I will say you get some back story on more characters, some of them only mentioned in passing previously and our four leads get some more development. It is most certainly a fitting...more

This is my favorite story of the Circle of Magic books. It's suspenseful and engaging, and it explores the most enduring relationship for me in this universe.

I love the exploration of how Briar deals with the death of those he knows to varying degrees. I love that there's no useful application for Tris's magic, and still she manages to contribute. I love how Crane's character was filled out. I came to respect him and understand his pickiness. I love the complex atmosphere in the workroom...more
Re-read June ,2014.
Fascinating character. Don't you just love thieves? Smiles.
Note to Self: Emelan
Lady Sandrilene fa Toren(Sandry,noble,heiress,weaver mage apprentice,great-niece,pal),Daja Kisubo (trader outcast,orphan,11yo,metalcraft apprentice,pal),Trisana Chandler(Tris,weather mage apprentice,merchant,pal),Briar Moss(former street rat & thief,plant mage apprentice,pal)& Shakkan tree(146yo magical),Little Be...more
Stephanie Jobe
Ye gods I had forgotten how much this book makes you cry. I know it is well done when even when I know how it ends, I still cry like a little girl. This world of mages is a harder transition for Briar then the girls, not only is he the only boy but they all had comfortable lives, some of them may have worked hard but they were accustomed to being well fed and decently clothed. Briar was poor. He had no family. In the first book he was facing his third strike for stealing and would have spent the...more
New territory for Pierce. A book which sees former street rat Briar confined in a sick house to nurse those who have become afflicted with a new and deadly type of plague. Normally Pierce deals with foes which are more tangible; pirates, enemies in wars, bandits, rebellions, sometimes even fires and a few natural disasters. Only once has Pierce ever forced a character of hers to deal with sickness, Alanna in The Song of the Lioness Quartet and that only lasted a few pages. Pierce however does a...more
OK, finally. The book that justifies my nostalgic expectations for this series. Sandry's Book got a pass through the potential of the characters being introduced and the full weight of re-experiencing these books for the first time. But with Tris's Book and Daja's Book that nostalgia began to spread thin. The book were still pleasant and not unenjoyable, but they were offering less and less for adult me to reflect on. Especially since Pierce was resolving those traits that made the characters st...more
This final book in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic quartet shows with wonderful clarity Pierce's ability to have her books grow up with her characters (the Circle Opens, which chronologically follows these books, shows this even further). As the perspectives of Sandry, Briar, Tris and Daja deepen with experience and maturity, so Tamora Pierce's fictional land of Emelean seems colored more thoroughly in grays rather than only blacks and whites. In this book, which is primarily concerned with the...more
Briar’s perspective in this series has always fascinated me, mostly because nearly all of Tamora Pierce’s books are about young women. There are males in them, of course, and often Pierce dives into their heads at least a little, but they’re usually love interests or friends. None of what I’ve read of hers has featured a male lead, and she writes them very well. Briar wasn’t what I expected, which I enjoyed, because people are complicated and don’t fit neatly into little boxes. He’s thoughtful,...more
Vicki (The Wolf's Den)
Length: 6.5 Hours
Listened at 1.9x Speed

I can't emphasize enough how amazing it is to hear the book read by the author herself. Not only does Tamora Pierce know her creation better than anyone else, but she's also an excellent reader. Her voice is clear and emotive, softening at the tender moments and becoming crisp at the cheerful ones. I don't know if I can ever listen to someone else narrate these books!

Music was utilized much more here than in the previous books. The breaks and chapters each...more
Vicki (The Wolf's Den)
Amazon ~ Powell's

A fascinating look at disease and the steps taken towards finding a cure, Briar's Book serves as a staggering reminder of the mortality of even the strongest among us. Even being the longest story of the quartet, it's amazing how much is packed in. Besides plague and cure-working, there's quarantine, reflections on poverty, man-made diseases, and even a small bit on death and the afterlife.

By now we should know that when magic is thrown into the mix, nothing gets any easier. Su...more
Sarita Rucker
I finished "Briar's Book", which is the final novel in Tamora Pierce's "Circle of Magic" quartet. And no, I won't share any spoilers about previous books in the quartet.

When we first meet Briar in the beginning of the quartet, he's a thief who has lived his life on the streets. Throughout the first three books he slowly changes, but we barely even notice it. Until this book.

In this book Briar is questioning who he is. He's come to the realization that he's not the person he used to be, and he's...more
Emma Michaels
What I love about this novel is that it deals with so many issues with so much class, even when you happen to be trudging through the sewers. This is the only novel I can remember Tamora Pierce writing with a male point of view and after reading it I find myself wondering why she doesn’t do it more. You hear about the poor, what happens to them and so much more. You find yourself feeling with them and for them yet you almost feel ashamed for what has happened to them because you can’t help but t...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect cover for edition data 7 20 May 03, 2013 03:21PM  
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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...more
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“Tris: "I was reading."
Sandry: "You're always reading. The only way people can ever talk to you is to interrupt."
Tris: "Then maybe they shouldn't talk to me.”
“Sometimes there's nothing you can do. [...] Sometimes they don't have enough to fight with.” 45 likes
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