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Battle Magic

(The Circle Reforged #3)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  7,679 ratings  ·  580 reviews
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tamora Pierce returns to the magical world of Winding Circle.

While visiting the God-King and the First Circle temple in Gyongxe, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are invited to visit the emperor's summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxe, posing a
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Scholastic Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Amanda Supposedly Tamora Pierce is planning to write another book about Tris at Lightbridge, but seems like it will be a while since as far as I can tell the…moreSupposedly Tamora Pierce is planning to write another book about Tris at Lightbridge, but seems like it will be a while since as far as I can tell they haven't set a publication date for it.(less)

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Whitley Birks
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
See more reviews on my blog.

Maybe I should have rated this one three or three and a half stars, I don’t know. I’ve been waiting eight years for this book. Eight years. I’ve had a lot of time to build up anticipation and expectations and preemptive FEELZ, so it’s a little hard for me to separate out what’s just a personal disappointment and what’s a subjective problem and what’s “not a problem at all, what’s wrong with you, Whitley?” Which is not to say the book was bad, just…compared to her othe
Oct 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
It almost pains me to give this book one star because I love Tamora Pierce and Winding Circle so much. But honestly this book really disappointed me.

I think one of the major issues was that she had already hinted at so many plot points from her other books, which limited the direction of the story flow. We knew that they would be in a war, we knew that Evvy would meet Luvo, we knew they would be forced to do things that would give them horrible nightmares. These plot points were basically the e
Oct 22, 2013 rated it liked it
All the Tamora Pierce fans have been waiting to find out what exactly happened to Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy during their trip to Gyongxe. Now we finally do! This book is told in the above three character's point of view. This story has been hyped up a great deal. Now, does it live up to it all? To be honest, I'm not sure about that.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book. Briar is my favorite character in the Circle universe and he doesn't disappoint in this book either. He's still runn
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was appalled for the longest time, not knowing what story I'd missed as they went on about Yanjing, while I had no idea what they were talking about. I though, Surely, I would remember them going through a war?! I looked online, but could not seem to find one of her books I'd yet to read. It pleases me greatly that I could not find it because it has yet to be written, and that it will be soon, but it also vexes me that it comes AFTER "The Will of the Empress" and "Melting Stones". I suppose t ...more
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately, the more Tamora Pierce writes books in the Circle of Magic world, the more they become simple, "No one understands how powerful ambient magic is and we can never be defeated, so let's just write an entire novel describing the ways this power can defeat other mages." At the expense of truly developing any side characters - one of the key reasons Pierce's previous books are so enjoyable - they get thrown in almost as props while Rosethorn, Briar, and Evy do cool stuff.

And they CAN
Sep 19, 2011 added it
Shelves: ya, own-tammy
Just discovered that there's a ~14pg extract from Battle Magic in the fall/winter edition of Buzz Books. Read it via NetGalley:

You're welcome!

Excerpt from BATTLE MAGIC

Suddenly lines and circles moved and rose. Briar stood on a hillside. He looked down to find himself in armor, wearing the bead necklace, holding a bead in his hand. He looked out over the stony ridge before him, seeing the thinnest trail of smoke rise from behind it. "Tell the men r
Regina Tam
Apr 17, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2012, fantasy
while i love Briar and Evy, i wish this wasnt set in the past because i want to see how everyone else is doing. i already know what happened to them in Yanjing traumatized them but i dont have an urge to find out. i am much more interested in what happens after the will of the empress....ill still read this one though and then ill read melting stones.
Marian Royal
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Pierce seriously disappoints in this meandering, shallow tale which comes across as the Chinese invasion of Tibet, only thwarted by Tibetan gods. I was eager to read this book because I really enjoyed the other Circle books I have read. I had to force myself to finish it, and did so more out of curiosity than because the book was compelling. This could have been an excellent story, but character development, especially in new, secondary characters was lacking and Rosethorn's side quest was a poo ...more
So freaking excited for this book. I have been dying to find out what happened to Briar and Rosethorn since TWOE. You can't even know. THANK YOU MILA OF THE GRAIN! TP can't get this one out fast enough. ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Further adventures of Briar, Evvy and Rosethorn, traveling through lands with different magical traditions. One of those lands (evil emperor alert! boohiss) decides to conquer a neighboring land, and our heroes decide to intervene. The rest of the Circle gang doesn't make an appearance in this installation in the series.

I didn't care for the fact that the evil Yanjing empire felt very ancient Chinese to me, while the Gyongxin nation felt like historic India-in-the-Himalayas, or maybe Nepal or M
Rosethorn is still weak from her death and magic-fueled resurrection, so she embarks upon a lifelong dream: a tour of the world's gardens. Her protege Briar comes along, both to see the gardens and to keep an eye on her health, and with Briar comes his new student Evvy.

The book opens as they end their visit to Gyongxe, a sort of pseudo-Tibet (sky burials, led by a child chosen to rule because he literally has the wisdom&personalities of elders within him, mountainous, etc). They are invited to
Lindsey Rojem
I wish these books had been released in order, instead of book 3 being chronologically set before the others. I found the hints in the other books gave too much away, but it was still fairly intense and enjoyable.
Keegan K.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I thought that the book was very well written. It has a lot of very descriptive imagery, so I really felt like I was inside of the story, and sets the scene very well. The book and its cultures are heavily influenced by Asian mythology and beliefs, which I enjoy learning about, so it was a welcome addition to my list of favorite books.
My one personal criticism is that the start of the story is slow. While being slow isn’t necessarily bad, I just personally enjoy reading a book that throws you st
Sharon Tyler
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce is the third book in the Circle Reforged series, but in the sequence of events in the series this action takes place between Briar's story in Street Magic and Evvy's story in Melting Stones. As hinted at in Will of the Empress, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy have fought in an epic battle on their travels through the world. Battle Magic tells the full story of their exploits. Disclaimer- I am a fangirl of this author and recommend her work to every child, teen, and adult ...more
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Tamora Pierce has been one of my favorite authors for a long time, ever since I was a little nine-year-old reading SANDRY'S BOOK on the way to Georgia. I haven't loved her most recent releases. The most recent book in the Emelan universe, MELTING STONES, was lacking in the plot department and felt detached, even for a side book. Each book in her Provost's Dog series was wonderful as a standalone, but failed to congeal as a trilogy. But man, BATTLE MAGIC reminded me why I've been a fan of Pierce ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
I wish Good Reads offered half-stars, because this was more of a 3 1/2 than a 4-star read for me. But my love of Pierce's books (and the world of the Circle of Magic, specifically) encouraged me to bump it to four instead of going with three.

Let me start by saying I didn't want this book to be written. I've read all of Pierce's books in publishing order, which means I read both THE WILL OF THE EMPRESS and MELTING STONES prior to this one. And I really loved the mystery of Gyongxe and Yanjing tha
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have loved Tamora Pierce's books since second grade. She has always been my favorite author and it kills me that I didn't like this book. Will of the Empress is my favorite of hers, hands down, and I was expecting Battle Magic to be along the same lines in quality. Instead, the book felt very empty. As usual, the action scenes are superbly written, but I feel as though the characters weren't as fleshed out as normal. The side characters felt very two-dimensional.

In addition, a lot of what Bri
Anaka M
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
When I saw there was a Tamora Pierce book I hadn't read I started freaking out! When did it come out?!? How did I not know?!? Then I realized it still wasn't out yet:'( Why!?! Why did you have to bring my hopes up then shatter them?!? WWWHHHYYY?!?
Anyways, I can't wait for the book to come out. I really want to know what happened in Yanjing and it has been really bothering me! What happened!!!!?????!!!!!!?????

After reading this:
Highly disappointed. Oh no! I killed a few people and someone whippe
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
For the first time, Tammy has messed with her own timeline. Battle Magic takes place 2 years before Melting Stones, but after the events of Street Magic. Here, Briar, Rosethorn, and Briar’s student Evvy are on a tour of Gyongxe, a nation that is nearest in the world to the heavens and, therefore, home to many different faiths. They are invited to visit neighboring Yanjing, specifically to see the famed imperial gardens. There, they see the emperor’s cruelty firsthand in dealing with a rosebush t ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarybooks
This was a pretty good read. I found this book at my local library and it is the first book I have ever read by Tamora Pierce which I enjoyed. When three mages named Evvy, Briar, and Rosethorn are invited to an evil emperor's palace to check out his imperial gardens, they then discover later on that he is planning to invade the home of their friend the God-King in the country of Gyongxe. Can they make it back in time to warn him or will they be placed into the fight as well? Find out and see. Th ...more
Nov 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
Much like Pierce's other recent novels, Battle Magic suffered from poor, repetitive writing with frequent breaks in narration for lengthy descriptions, mostly of clothing. The story was repetitive, too - there's nothing that Briar and company hadn't done before. There's also nothing that wasn't summarized in about three sentences in The Will of the Empress. Battle Magic was an utterly unnecessary, spectacularly poor addition to the Emelan series. ...more
Britt's Book Blurbs
After two previous books filled with hints and comments, we finally get the full war story from Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy. Unfortunately, this leaves us with very few surprises and no serious fear or tension. After all, we already know all the worst parts and we know they all survive. All that's left is to fill in the details.

The worst part is that if Battle Magic had been first or second in the Circle Reforged series, I can easily see this being at least a four-star review. With everything th
I normally love Tamora Pierce's work so while reading this book I was very uncharacteristically disappointed.


1. PLOT: I was excited about the plot, which was so built up during The Will of the Empress—will be shortened to tWoE for the rest of the review. While reading, I realized that none of the events which Briar described in tWoE came up, or at least very few of them. Pierce sort of ignored Briar here.

Also, I will talk more about the "gods" specifically in my next category, but makin
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: want-to-read
ok im gonna have an honest moment after waiting a long time for a new one of these.. i dont care about briar that much. ya i know hes the only guy and hes supposed to be cute or something but i like tris a hella lot more then briar.. or she can even do another sandy id be fine with that.. both dajas books have fallen short.. at least for me.. i think now that's shes out.. tho it might be fine.. now but i dont need briar.. ive heard enough. im done.. for now plus write tris pretty pls

update.. wel
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2013, middle
It lacked that Pierce level of amazing. The wit was there, but did not sparkle; old characters were present but lacked their wondrous depths. Evvy was crazy annoying, and huge portions of the book were like "Emperor Mage" without Numair's sex appeal. And who the fuck travels the world with seven cats?

It also made me want to re-read "The Will of the Empress," and it only took ten pages of that to remind me how unhappy and uncomfortable it made me.
This would have been better if had been read before The Will of the Empress, since that takes place after this book, chronologically. I knew too many things about the plot and what happened to the characters to be surprised by anything. :( ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2015, 2016, re-read
This is still not my favorite of the Circle books--due mainly to the oddity of going back in time after WotE, I think, but partially to the sudden turn for the divine; I'm still not used to Emelan's mythology playing such a huge roll in the books--but man, I love Briar and Evvy and Rosethorn. ...more
Sarah Amelia
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-by-me
Oh my…well I was lucky enough to receive a ARC copy of Battle Magic and little did I know that this is the third book in the series. I read it anyway and it was confusing and that is the ONLY reason I gave it 4 stars!
Jessica Willis
May 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nope
It was a disappointment especially when compared to the previous books (which I had to reread to reassure myself that i did, in fact, like the series). Battle Magic was summarized in about one paragraph in Will of the Empress. Honestly it's not worth the effort of reading. ...more
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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 Reforged (5 books)
  • The Will of the Empress (The Circle Reforged, #1)
  • Melting Stones (Circle Reforged, #2)
  • Kejserindens vilje (Cirklen gendannes #1)
  • Kejserindens vrede (Cirklen gendannes #2)

Articles featuring this book

We asked fantasy author Tamora Pierce your questions!
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“She got to her feet and tucked her fingers into her armpits to warm them, glaring at Briar and Parahan as she walked over to the mules. It wasn't fair that men didn't have to twist themselves into knots to pee!” 8 likes
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