Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce

In which Evvy has her own adventures and everyone yells at her...

I tried last year to listen to the audiobook, but it just didn't work for me. Although I did really like the audio of Terrier, the voices on this one just felt wrong. However, I am not in general a big fan of audiobooks, so don't take my word as law.

This is the story of Evvy on her own (well, with Rosethorn), a very active volcano, and the choices Evvy makes about her life. I don't think it's quite as good as the other Circle books - the characters are a little flatter, and it felt like an inordinate amount of the book was focused on Evvy's interaction with the rocks, volcano spirits, etc. I think first person narration worked better in Terrier but in this story it leaves out a lot of information. However, as the book was written to be an audiobook, it probably worked much better in that format.

My only quibble is that I think Evvy got a raw deal. She's had a generally traumatic life, finishing up with a very nasty war in which she was tortured and her cats - the only thing remaining from her life before Rosethorn and Briar found her - are killed. Half of her "family" has left and she is stuck with Rosethorn, who is not anybody's idea of maternal or comforting. She is extremely miserable most of the ocean journey, because she is cut off from stones. She is forced to put up with Rosethorn's nasty companion, who not only fusses over her, discounts her experiences, and is stuck-up, he also says some extremely nasty things about her as a street orphan, she'll get kicked out eventually, etc.

Then, when she yells at a six-year old who is bothering her while she is trying to do some complex magic, this is obviously evidence that she is on the path to being a "destroyer", never mind the fact that another girl, Nory, yells at everyone and this is just evidence that she's hot-tempered.

Evvy stops the Volcano, nearly dies, and everyone, herself included, still feel she has to "atone." For yelling at the six-year old who then runs away.

Poor Evvy. Now, I don't say that Rosethorn's advice to her, based on her general attitude and behavior toward people, is uncalled for. But everyone's reaction to her yelling at a six-year old, who then does something stupid and disobedient is waaay over the line, imho.

Verdict: If you have fans of the Circle of Magic, you'll want to add this title. It's not a strong stand-alone, in my opinion, so if your Pierce fans prefer Tortall, I would skip this one

ISBN: 978-0545052641; Published October 2008 by Scholastic; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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