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Briar's Book (Circle of Magic #4)

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,120 Ratings  ·  302 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
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
Feb 11, 2014 Rasmus Skovdal rated it really liked it
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
Briar's Book is the final book in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic quartet, which of course is ending just as I'm getting used to the format Pierce wrote them in. Naturally, it focuses on Briar, the former thief and street rat, now plant-mage of Winding Circle Temple. He and the three girls are now a year older than they were in the first book, but still quite young. They've adjusted to their new lives and are learning in heaps and loads. For Briar, a large part of this book involves him interact ...more
Jul 08, 2008 Jace rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 20, 2015 Marina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star, own
Gosh darn it this pulled on my heart-strings and I think I spent the later half of it in tears.

I think overall this series is great, but I would have liked there to be a little more character development. While each of the leading characters of the book did face a personal struggle that they overcome, it didn't necessarily make them a better person. Granted the entire series takes place over just one year and these kids have faced an earthquake, pirate attack/battle, forest fires, and a freaken
Kathy Davie
Mar 02, 2015 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, fantasy
Fourth in the Circle of Magic fantasy series for young middle-grade readers and revolving around four very supportive friends. It's also fourth in the overall Emelan series.

Visit KD Did It Takes on Books for a chronological listing of the books in the Circle of Magic series.

My Take
It's a fun combination of magic, science, and medicine. Pierce has blended this so well, that it feels perfectly normal.

I like how Pierce uses the concept of birthdays to provide this back history about Briar, the form
Dec 09, 2015 Kimikimi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mark-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it
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
Briar and his mentor Rosethorn are caught at the epicenter of a plague outbreak in the Capital. As with Daja's Book, this is another character-focused story. The dynamic between the four students falls to the background, a dependable foundation; the relationship between Briar and Rosethorn takes precedence, and the fact that these characters are prickly means that their dynamic can be poignant without being saccharine. The plot is obvious, as per series's standard, which strips away tension but ...more
Kelsey Hanson
Jun 06, 2016 Kelsey Hanson rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I am one step closer to my personal goal of finishing up the many Tamora Pierce series that I never wrapped up before. I will say that even though Alanna is the one that everyone seems to love, I like this series considerably more. I found the characters more believable, the relationships more heartfelt and the world more interesting. This book had a good first half, but I have to admit that it dragged a bit towards the end. I think it could have spent a bit less time on the actual "medical rese ...more
May 07, 2014 Brian rated it it was ok
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
Bex Godfrey
May 30, 2016 Bex Godfrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And so it comes full circle with their power growing so strong when they are together that the impossible becomes possible. I'm always surprised when this ends and says it's only been a year as the characters have grown so much and seem so much older.
Jan 29, 2009 Sharee rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2012 Liza rated it did not like it
Shelves: can-t-finish
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
Aug 04, 2014 Julie Decker rated it liked it
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
Dec 22, 2014 Mallori rated it really liked it
I have to say, I think Briar is my favorite out of the four characters in the circle quadrology, so it's nice to read his book. I love the relationship he has developed with his mentor Rosethorn and with the 3 other girls in Discipline Cottage. I also appreciated his developing understanding of Crane and Crane's relationship with Rosethorn over the course of this book.

I had some minor frustrations reading this as an adult, but I think this can be explained by my realization that these were some
Mar 28, 2016 Bookbuyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ot, to-read-2016
Ugh blue spot disease! Rosethorn and Briar worked hard. I love how Briar was willing to die for Rosethorn it really shows how close they've become.

Edit: Added detail

I really got to know Crane is this book. I still don't really like him but he's not as bad as the children think.

I'm sad that Flick died, but she's probably gone to a better place.

Amazed that the children were able to save Rosethorn. I don't know how but they did! O.O
Jun 23, 2013 Tim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ya-fantasy
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.
Apr 15, 2016 Morgan rated it really liked it
TAMMY WHY? Prepare to have your heart ripped to pieces. I was very much looking forward to getting into Briar's book because he's one of my favourites (not that I really have favourites but on the scale of these adorable children I'm quite fond of this one) and I was met with... rampant death. Not that we haven't been met with rampant death before this point, but still. That's a lot of death. I was pleased that she separated the children (not pleased but you know what I mean) because it freshene ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Lindsey rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2010 Katie rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 04, 2014 Fantasy Literature rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it
I forgot how good this is. It is. Really. Particularly the parts where they're all working in Crane's workroom. The idea that you still need to research magic, and that diseases have to be distilled down to keys which then can be combined multiple ways for a cure - it's interesting and smart and cool to read about.
Mar 05, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Woooooow this was super good- intense, sad, amazingly touching. Fantastic ending to THE CIRCLE OF MAGIC quartet and the last three chapters has me fully on the edge of my seat- and all the chapters before that weren't exactly calm! I will look forward to starting THE CIRCLE OPENS soon!!!
Loren Weaver
Jul 21, 2014 Loren Weaver rated it it was amazing
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
 Little "Dani" Blue
Nov 09, 2014 Little "Dani" Blue rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2014 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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
Sarah Eagle
Next to the first book, this was by far the best in the entire series. Pierce narrowed down the plot to its bare elements and it really shows. Before, her books juggled several things at once in a way I thought was distracting from each individual piece, but this was the most suspenseful, impactful and gripping book of them all. Ah the power of editing.
Pierce made me truly fearful for one of my favorite characters. I had to exercise extreme self control not to skip ahead to make sure they were o
I just adore this series. You can see my series review on the blog!
Jul 09, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect cover for edition data 7 21 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 about Tamora Pierce...

Other Books in the Series

Circle of Magic (4 books)
  • Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic, #1)
  • Tris's Book (Circle of Magic, #2)
  • Daja's Book (Circle of Magic, #3)

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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.” 52 likes
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