Vicki (The Wolf's Den)'s Reviews > Sandry's Book

Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce
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Nov 01, 11

bookshelves: own, fantasy, young-adult, historical, girl-power, the-wolfs-den-reviewed
Read in September, 1999 — I own a copy, read count: 3

Though the story is titled Sandry's Book in the US, I kinda prefer the UK title, The Magic in the Weaving, because, well, this book isn't just about Sandry. All four of the children star in nearly every chapter, and the story is more about each of them finding acceptance than any one of them. Still, Sandry's skill is the weaving, which does assume an important role in the story, so titling the book after her isn't completely out of place.

But yeah, back to the characters. Sandry is very outgoing and inclusive of others. She doesn't care about your background or what you look like, so long as she can evoke a smile from you, she's happy. Daja is tough and hard-working, but a little on the quiet side. She's not the kind to back down from a challenge, though she's not the type to issue one. Briar's the tough-talking smart-aleck. He may know when he should keep his mouth shut, but that doesn't mean he does so. And Tris can seem a bit stuck-up at times, but she's really more of a self-conscious intellectual. She likes to put up a hard front for outsiders, but inside she's often self-depreciative.

Each of them seems to have a reason they shouldn't be friends with the others, and yet, they turn out to have a lot in common. All outcast in one way or another, it takes a little while to open up again, let alone try to make friends with people they've been raised to despise. But if a Noble, Trader, Merchant, and Thief can get along, who can't?

The Magic of this world is very intricate and unique, more of which will be explored in the rest of the series. There seem to be two 'types' of Magic working here. Some mages are born with an affinity toward magic in general, which is then worked through runes and spells to shape it to whatever task is at hand. Other mages are born with an affinity toward a specialized magic. Thread-working, weather, metal-smithing, gardening...dancing, gemstones, carpentry, cooking, glasswork... Imagine the possibilities if magic was everywhere, even in the plain, everyday things we do.

It's interesting comparing this (written in the late 1990's) to her later books, which have taken full advantage of the increased length allowance/expectation. You can tell there's a lot of information bulging at the seams, screaming to be told, but with a limited word-count much of it is only hinted at. And still we have a fully-formed world, layered characters, personal journeys, and even foreign languages, woven together succinctly, effortlessly, magically.

Overall I'd say this is a wonderful start to an amazing series. The pre-teen-aged (10-12) character and the lack of violence, language or sex make it suitable for Middle-Grade readers. However, there's not a lot of action until about three-quarters of the way through, so it may be better for more patient (possibly older) readers. A story of fantasy, friendship, and overcoming prejudice, Sandry's Book is sure to open up a new realm of possibilities to readers young and old and leave them hungry for more.

Approximate Reading Time: 3 hours

Click here for my audiobook review.
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