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Cold Fire

(The Circle Opens #3)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  19,834 ratings  ·  281 reviews
There is an alternate cover edition here.

Daja and Frostpine expect to have a peaceful winter's visit with old friends in Kugisko, a port in the vast empire of Namon. But there is no peace when mysterious fires begin to blaze across the vulnerable city. Daja assists Bennat Ladradun, a local firefighter with a tragic past, to fight the flames. The two become fast friends-unt
Mass Market Paperback, 355 pages
Published November 15th 2006 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published April 1st 2002)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,834 ratings  ·  281 reviews

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Dudes. This book is MESSED UP. I kind of can’t even believe how disturbing it is.

I mean, I’m positive that I’ve read books where more objectively disturbing things have happened, but there’s something about the combination of what happens in this book mixed in with the fact that it takes place in a book aimed at pre-teens, and also, just the way she structures it so that it completely messes with your head . . .

Cold Fire is the third book in the second series set in Tamora Pierce’s Emelan world,
I love Daja, and I was hoping I'd love this book, but it was almost like Pierce just couldn't be bothered to write something engaging. This book is more about Ben than it is about Daja -- she's strangely absent from her own story, despite the fact that we spend so much time with her. The strong point about Street Magic was the relationship between Briar and Evvy; similarly, the weak point of this book was the lack of relationship between Daja and Jory, or Daja and Nia. None of the ancillary char ...more
Daja and Frostpine are working in the snowy city of Kugisko when a rash of devastating fires breaks out. The structure of this quartet remains formulaic, but this installment is surprisingly good. The setting, fire against snow in a well-defined woodworked city, is evocative; the plot is simplistic but the characters are not--gracelessly in the antagonist's case, but the supporting cast is strong. The nostalgia is toned down and the themes of maturation are less clear-cut, which gives Daja room ...more
Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
I used my study hall to finish this rather than my math homework because I have my priorities straight. Those priorities are Daja Kisubo.

I think I'm just really enjoying the grounded, sensible magic of this universe being explored as the characters journey out into the world away from their familiar home! Magic Steps wasn't as big of a change because Sandry was close enough to Winding Circle to visit, but Street Magic and Cold Fire both showed us entirely different places and main characters who
review to come :)
Kathy Davie
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
Third in The Circle Opens fantasy series for middle-grade readers and seventh in the Emelan Universe revolving around four magically gifted children. The focus in Cold Fire is on Daja as she travels with Frostpine through the empire of Namorn. They are currently staying in Kugisko on Kadsaep Island.

If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Emelan books on my website.

My Take
It begins with a metaphor: Daja learning to skate. A skill that's new to her just as learning meditation
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hell. Yes.

Daja's book in the original Circle books was probably my favorite of the series, and her book in the second series is equally excellent. Just to give you some idea: I started this book when I got on the elliptical, and didn't get off until I was finished. Even for me, reading an entire novel takes awhile, but I was too wrapt to notice the time going by. That's how enthralling this book is.

Daja Kisubu and her teacher Frostpine have come to a series of islands to learn more metal magic.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
UUUGGGHHH SO GOOD!! Warning for ~spoilers~

Despite their being somewhat one-dimensional, having two unapologetic lady villains in the previous two stories was refreshing. BUT it was really amazing for this story to complicate everything with a villain that started pretty morally grey and then descended into scary town, and all from his own POV. It was a good plot choice to let the reader know Ben's motives and processes before Daja did, my heart wrenched for her during every interaction. I also h
Kayla Edwards
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We find Daja in Namon - a place so cold that the primary form of travel is ice skating for much of the year. Daja is completely caught up in helping the twins, whose magic she just discovered, to harness and control their powers when house fires begin to mysteriously become more and more frequent. She begins to work closely with local firefighting expert, Bennat Ladradun, to find the fire bug responsible for these heinous acts but will her search lead Daja to something she is not prepared to fac ...more
Wolf (Alpha)
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
I really enjoyed this book. I like how Daja was receiving training on how to ice skate. I thought that is was funny how she would go crashing into the snowbank, and then melt all the snow with her body heat. I like how she realized that Jory and Nia had magic as well. I like how she was able to help the little village with their fire problems. I am glad that in the end they discovered who was setting the fires and that Daja was able to save them. I would rate this book 5 stars.
I adore this series! You can see my series review on the blog.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: year-2015, emelan
You know that Tumblr silliness about someone being a precious cinnamon roll, too good and pure for this world? That's Daja. Oh, Daja, you are wonderful.
Anna 'Bookbuyer'
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I hate it when characters you like turn out to be evil. Poor Daja. Ben was her friend! :(
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
In this book we got to see some of Daja's and Frostpine's adventures in a land that seems to be perpetually covered in ice and snow (...and learn that Frostpine really does NOT like the cold, which is rather counter-intuitive to his name. Who knew?) where it's Daja's turn to get a student... or two students rather ;D

I really love how in this series we're getting to see so many different types of intuitive magic, and getting to learn about the unique teaching styles of each of our original four
Lizette Escalante
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
i thought "Cold Fire" was excellent of describing the story line and showing the character's personality. The only thing that kind of annoyed me was how much suspense or silence for a period of time.Overall,the book was fantastic.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daja is the light of my life ok
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
2.5. This book is not nearly as strong as the first two of the series. I really liked the world presented, and thought a lot of things had potential, but...

But I really disliked Pierce's choice to narrate the story from just two perspectives: Daja's and--well, you'll find out--leaving out narration from the young mages Daja discovers. While we've had narration from the "bad guys" before, they were always secondary to the narration of Sandry and Pasco, then Briar and Evvy. In Cold Fire we don't g
Leah Markum
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quick GR Review

Cold Fire reads on the slow side. The first half is more character driven, and the plot keeps a low profile until the second half. The second half is great. Daja is a sturdy, considerate character, but is too "normal" for my taste. At least she has her magic and willingness to dive into flames going for her. Some of those scenes are epic. But in between the story lags. The setting is like a winter romance, complete with scenes with hearths, ice skating, and horse sleighs. The char
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful installment in Emelan from Tamora Pierce. It's difficult to say much about this book without going into full spoiler territory, but here she created a villain that made my skin absolutely crawl (this is a compliment! Good villaining!), a world that was thriving with life and coming off the page, wonderful new characters, and managed to keep what is part of the formula of these books ("one of the original kids finds a new person with ambient magic and must train them") feeling e ...more
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This was my favorite of The Circle Opens series, but it broke out of the mold of the other books a bit. Unlike the others, Daja wasn’t the direct teacher of the girls she discovers, but still practices meditation with them. It was interesting to see how Daja interacted with Bennat and how she had to adapt and decide how she would act in the future.

Daja’s challenges are more of the main focus of the book and what her magic. It’s also wonderful to get a little more background Frostpine’s backgrou
Ralph Gallagher
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ralph Gallagher by: Moonreader
Another excellent novel by Tamora Pierce!

Daja and Frostpine have been travelling around so that Daja can learn from other forges. While in the far north, Daja discovers twins with magic. One has cooking magic while the other has carpentry magic.

Though it was a good novel, I didn't like this one as much as I did the first two in the series. The twins kind of blended together and after reading this novel, I have no clue which twin is which. Daja's relationship with Ben was also kind of weird. All
˗ˋˏ ellie ♔ bear ˎˊ˗
Interesting culture/world building and concepts, the 'big bad' was very multi-dimensional, especially for a children's book, and super realistic and creepy. The formulaic plot style grates on me by this third book, and sometimes things are just downright repetitive almost down to the exact phrase or sentence appearing copy-pasted. There was too much about the roadways and skating as opposed to actually interesting plot points and character building. Maybe it was just Daja's character I wasn't in ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how dark The Circle Opens is compared to Circle of Magic, and this one has been the best so far. Daja is still my favourite narrator, and I like the worldbuilding Pierce put into the city of Kugisko. It's well thought out and very different from anything we've seen so far in either of Pierce's worlds.
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a slight change of pace from the previous two mage/student books by Pierce. I liked the deviation, and the villain was really twisted in this one, which was a new change, too. I am looking forward to seeing if all the students stay with their teachers in the later books in the series.
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This was a strange book with a still stranger - considering the story - dedication. It also lost a star in my rating here due to its poor treatment of mental illness and the implication (near statement) that people who were raised by abusers grow up to become abusers (or worse!) themselves.
Daja does a lot of growing up and becoming much more open to people in this book. It's not hard to spot the bad guy early on, but this is still a very good mystery. Pretty heavy badness for YA.
Caitlin Gonya
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Circle Opens is the continuation of Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar. This time, though, the young mages are traveling with their respective teachers, and the situations reveal as more adult than students.

Magic Steps follows Sandry as she is nursing her uncle the duke after a heart attack. As the only one still in Emelan, Sandry soon becomes embroiled in a series of murders. Along the way, she discovers a young mage similar to herself and her adoptive siblings, only he produces dance magic. Now
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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

Other books in the series

The Circle Opens (4 books)
  • Magic Steps (The Circle Opens, #1)
  • Street Magic (The Circle Opens, #2)
  • Shatterglass (The Circle Opens, #4)
“The bravest person I know is afraid of the dark. She sleeps with a night lamp always, but if her friends are threatened? She suddenly thinks she's a bear twelve feet tall and attacks whoever scared her friends.” 305 likes
“It's been interesting, "Frostpine said casually. "I wanted Daja to get some experience of other smiths'-and other mages'- ways of doing things, if only so she can see mine is best.” 55 likes
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