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Street Magic

(The Circle Opens #2)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  22,638 ratings  ·  353 reviews
It's been four years since Briar Moss began his training as a plant mage, but he still hasn't put his past behind him. Wandering through a Chammuri market, Briar comes across a street girl using powerful magic to polish stones for a merchant. He resolves to find her a teacher. But Briar understands the city's gangs as well as he understands Evvy, the young mage. When gang ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 300 pages
Published November 15th 2006 by Scholastic (first published April 1st 2001)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,638 ratings  ·  353 reviews

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Fantasy Literature
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's ironic that feminist writer Tamora Pierce's only male character, the self-named Briar Moss, is one of her best characters. Amongst the rest of the mainly female cast, his charisma, street smarts and ongoing inner conflict between his younger, wilder instincts, and his older, more civilized self, makes him one of the most lovable and well-rounded characters in the Circle of Magic series.

The first four books gathered together four magical protégées: aristocratic Sandry, moody bookworm Tris, s
Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
I guess I just really like Briar? Because both books that focus on him have been the ones I've rated five stars so far in my journey through the Emelan universe.

Actually, I think what makes Briar's books so good is that they tend to focus on classism and this dichotomy Briar has of growing up on the streets and then abruptly joining this part of society that is respected and sometimes feared. He's always reconciling his past with his present and it always impacts how he sees the world.

Also his r
Kayla Edwards
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Briar and his teacher, Rosethorn, have taken up temporary residence in Chammur while Rosethorn works with the local farmers to restore the land. While in the market, Briar spots Evvy,a young street rat, cleaning stones and passing some of her magic to them. He soon finds out that as the discovering mage he is required to find her a teacher or do it himself. All the while, a war is brewing between the local gangs and Briar is staying far away to avoid slipping back in to his former ways. But when ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
LOOOOOOOVED this book! 4 stars rather than 5 as I felt the pace slowed almost too much from MAGIC STEPS, but it was still such a wonderful read. I adore Evvy. I ADORE HER. And Briar is awesomeness personified in so many ways. I loved Pierce's look at gang culture, I love how much she makes certain, always, to recognize the poor and impoverished as HUMAN, and her ability to write mounting tension.... well. It's good, y'all. Real good. :-p

I still miss all four kids being together, and I'm putting
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really love the way this full cast works. It's so easy to understand since there's still a narrator. I was slightly disappointed that this one isn't narrated by Tamora, but it makes sense since this is mainly Briar's story. Also, the narrator was still great.

Oh Briar, I love his passion for plants and how he protects Rosethorn. They have such a wonderful working relationship and I'm glad she was saved at the end of the other series. It was really interesting to see how Briar's perception of fo
Okay, so firstly, if I would have read this book first in the series, my reaction would have been something like YEAHHHHHHHHHH. But since it was second and made clear the fact that this series is Pierce's most formulaic yet, it sort of soured it for me. Individually this book was rock solid.

Briar was such a badass. He's fourteen now and officially a plant mage. He and Rosethorn are traveling the world seeking out new plants and such. In the city of Chammur, they happen upon a street urchin name
I adore this series! You can see my series review on the blog. ...more
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Briar discovers a stone mage, Evvy, and must teach her to learn to use her magic. But street gangs and a powerful noblewoman stand in his way.

I didn't enjoy this one nearly half as much as I liked Magic Steps, and I think that part of the reason was that the villain's arc was introduced very late into the story (well, the evil-evil part of the plot, anyway) and felt like an add-on to spark drama and action instead of being more of a part of the plot. Also, I'm tired of the evil eunuch henchman t
Anna 'Bookbuyer'
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Davie
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, children
Second in The Circle Opens and sixth in the overall Emelan fantasy series for middle-grade readers and revolving around Briar Rose and his discovery, Evvy. If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Emelan books on my website.

My Take
The idea of the tattoos Briar gave himself may have backfired a bit, but they suit him.

I like that Pierce has the kids finding apprentices whose magic is not the same as their own. It provides the storyline more independence as the apprentices requ
Alex Black
I almost gave this book four stars, but I don't think I could quite justify it while the urge to skim read was still there. I feel like I'm reading this series to get it over with rather than for enjoyment, although I do enjoy a lot of the elements.

Evvy as a character has always kind of disinterested me. I never gravitated to her the way I do the other main characters. It always felt a little weird to me that of all the students in this series, she's the one who became a main character.

The whol
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
This was an OK read, certainly good enough to pass the time, but not my favorite of Pierce's books. It felt underdeveloped and unsatisfying in parts. I appreciated Evvy and Briar's and Briar and Rosethorn's rapport, and the social commentary on growing up destitute and becoming vulnerable to gangs. Pierce's worldbuilding was, as always, extensive and interesting. I admire her ability to include such a wide range of cultures in Emelan. She also excels at action scenes, and the big one here is pre ...more
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a great look into teenage Briar and just how much mischief he was able to get into after leaving the Winding Circle. I love that he’s a mother hen over Rosethorn (as much as she tolerates it) yet still finds away to be himself. As he begins to get to know Evvy, he finds someone who is just as stubborn, perhaps even more so. As the two of them find themselves thrust into a turf war, each of them quickly have to develop into a stronger version of themselves.

This book and Sandry’s are
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tony Hisgett
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: review, fantasy
I started to get irritated with this book quite quickly and this continued for at least two thirds of the book. Rosethorn has always been a bit insular but she is not stupid and should have understood early on that Briar would need help with Evvy and the danger they might be in, instead she was so blasé about the probable problems she might as well have not been there.

Briar is now 14 years old but he seems to have regressed. He spends half the book whingeing and seems to be unable to recognise
Kira Nerys
Tbh, reread this purely bc I impulse-bought a bonsai and I wanted to know if Briar's had a name. It doesn't; he only refers to it by its style. There's a whole wiki page on it, though.

This is my favorite of the Circle Opens books. Some of that's my affection for Briar, some comes from how well we get to know Evvy, and some's just the layered situation that shows up throughout the book. And the badass ending. Overall, it's a fun read featuring magical powers easy to relate to and easy to imagine.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE THIS BOOK. First of all, Briar is the original Steve from Stranger Things season 2 (he's 14 and he has a 9-year-old student). And no spoilers but the scene at the end is EPIC. I listened to the audiobook of this and I'd highly recommend it. It's Full Cast Audio and the actors are great. (The first book in this series is Sandry's Book. The 4 main characters are 10 in that one and they're 18 by the last book in the series.)
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I LOVE the kids as teachers and being retrospective on their own experiences and growing up and especially with BRIAR oh gosh this has been so much. Also can we talk more about how we've had two excellent and unapologetic lady villains now?? I was worried this would be really contrived re: Briar as the "reformed street rat" but I think it came together really nicely showing his growth but especially his affection for his former life and I'm pleased.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, fantasy
Quick, engrossing, and entertaining. Like the previous volume, I'm enjoying this series more than when we met the original group at the Winding Circle, with its four rotating POVs. The plot didn't seem as convoluted and was rather straightforward. But seeing Briar show off his magic was rather awesome.
Continuing my re-read of the books from the Circle of Magic universe - definitely interesting seeing Briar as a teacher, and his further development as a character.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Justice is always so unflinching in Briar's books. It's refreshing, in a bracing, terrifying sort of way.

Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Audiobook: liked the story and hope to continue with the series once playaway records the next two books!
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Briar is such a good boy. I love him. This one is a bit dark - but I like it.
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will never get tired of Briar Moss. Proper reviews to come when I’m not sick as hell.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Second book in The Circle Opens series. It is a continuation of the characters in The Magic Circle series. The first book is about Sandry and this one is about Briar.

Briar and Rosethorn are traveling and when word gets around that a green mage is in town, farmers are always requesting help. Chammuri is a very ancient city and the land around it has been farmed for years--thousands of years and the soil is now nutrient poor which does not bode well for healthy plant growth. While Rosethorn deals
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Briar’s past as a gang member and what that truly means is so beautifully illustrated when he is forced to take on his first student. Evvy is a street kid (as Briar was) but she refuses to join a gang. Her constant, stubborn refusal and her clear-sighted insight into the dangers and perils of this life are kind of dark, but in a great way, they force Briar (and myself as a reader) to look further into what this truly entails for a street kid. The added complexities of stone magic, and a city tha ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The Circle Opens quartet continues with Briar and his new apprentice, Evvy.

Briar and Rosethorn make a stop in exciting Chamur, an east-Asian-esque city brimming with people and trouble. While Briar is an accomplished mage in his own right, his roots as an orphaned gang member come back to haunt him in this new city. Evvy, a young stone mage, is resistant to his offers of help, and even more wary when a local gang starts trying to recruit her when Briar reveals her powers. Wealthy patrons, poor c
Leah Markum
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ancient Arab-like city, gangs, plant magic, stone magic, wealthy elitists, and interestingly lots of shopping define Street Magic.

Briar is 14 and discovers a ten-year-old girl that lives on the streets, avoiding gangs and the slave trade after her impoverished parents sold her so they could continue their long journey west. Technically the girl, Evvy, needs a stone mage to teach her stone magic, and Briar needs to find her such a mage. Technically, stone mages like Evvy are known to have stony
Proud Book Reviews
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Briar is probably my favourite of the four so I was always going to have a soft spot for his books, but Tamora write his books in a way that I just can’t resist. Like with his book in the first series, The Healing in the Vine from The Circle of Magic, Briar’s story revolves around those in the slums. Specifically, those in gangs.

The way Briar has really accepted his magic, and his connection to plants is amazing. Every time I read this, I have certain moments, like the jasmine vine, that I just
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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)
  • Cold Fire (The Circle Opens, #3)
  • Shatterglass (The Circle Opens, #4)

Related Articles

We asked fantasy author Tamora Pierce your questions!
127 likes · 25 comments
“You're more trouble than you're worth."
"I'm a girl. That's my job.”
“Briar: "So I guess I was the last to know."
Rosethorn: "Of course you are. You're a man, aren't you?”
More quotes…