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Street Magic

(The Circle Opens #2)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  23,017 ratings  ·  368 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 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,017 ratings  ·  368 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)
2020 review: Briar Moss loves his foster sisters SO MUCH and we love that for HIM.

2018 review: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 alway
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 [the 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'
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: children, fantasy
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
Ai Miller
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were many things about this book I liked--I think it handled the mentorship relationship way better than the last one, in that there was just so much more onscreen time between Briar and Evvy (and it was SO CUTE. Every part they were together I kept going "AWWW" and having to put the book down because I was overcome by how adorable they were.)

There was some stuff going on that I did not love--there was a weird amount of fatphobia which like, I get that here fatness is also a sign of wealt
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have a soft spot for Briar so I was looking forward to this book. Love him and Evvy's relationship and his revelations around his old gang days. ...more
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.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I think this might be my favorite of this series. It's either this or Tris's, and I haven't gotten up to that yet on this read through so I'll have to wait and see. But I like this so much more than the first book. This book is so much more brutal than I remember. First of all, we get three of my favorite characters from this world- Briar, Rosethorn and Evvy. I love Evvy so much. Also we get a real-ass villain here who actually scares me. Zenadia is terrifying and ruthless and I love that
Tony Hisgett
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, review
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.) ...more
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. ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-i-own
I love this series and re-read it every year or so.
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.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still love this book. I know I reviewed it somewhere. Evvy's the bomb. ...more
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!
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
On second read, I liked Evvy and the Chammuri setting a lot more. Also so much Briar arc!
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.
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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…