I finally got around to reading Tamora Pierce. I’m not sure why I never have; I think it’s because so many people have recmomended them so enthusiastically that they hit my ‘anti-should’ reflex, even though some of these are people I trust. (This is related to why I was around 40 when I finally read The Lord of the Ring.) The other reason was that Pierce’s work sounds like a Mercedes Lackey sort of thing – might be life-changing if you read it at the right age but easy to outgrow. I don’t find myself rereading Lackey the way I do with so much other YA.

But somehow I’d never heard of the Circle of Magic series before last week, and somehow it sounded more immediately appealing than her other books. So starting Sunday and through last night, I’ve now read Sandry’s Book, Tris’s Book, and Briar’s Book (Daja’s Book isn’t currently available for Kindle). And the verdict is … mixed. I like the stories, I like the settings, I like the characters (though I find it totally unbelievable that they’re supposed to be only 10 or 11; I’d have said 14). But somehow I’ve run out of momentum and don’t seem to have much incliation to plunge into the next four books, the Circle Opens quadrilogy.

I’m trying to figure out why. I think part of it is that I like the four together, and I’m not as interested in taking one of them at a time. A bigger part of it is that there just doesn’t seem to be anywhere for them to grow. They’re perfectly bonded to each other, they appreciate and are appreciated by their teachers, they have great magic and can do things no one has ever thought possible, they are mature beyond their age. There doesn’t seem to be any way to create conflict for a new plot except by tearing them down and tearing them apart, and it sounds what happens in the following books. Somehow it doesn’t seem all that apeealing to go through five more books (the Circle Opens books and The Will of the Empress) just to get them back to where they are. It’s easier not to read the books and leave them here int he first place.

And “easier not to read” is not a phrase that normally comes out of my brain. I suppose if I’d read these at fifteen, I’d have dived into the next series regardless.

Not only that, but gulping these down right after digesting 1491 (a slow but fascinating read) has left me with a slight case of literary biliousness, with nothing looking appealing as a next read. So I’ve dived into some nice fluffy Angela Brazil as a palate cleaner or at least a placeholder, because it’s not like I could not read.