May 26, 2022

REVIEW Melting Stones (Circle Reforged #2) by Tamora Pierce

Melting Stones (Circle Reforged #2) by Tamora Pierce
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Format: Paperback (Personal Library) + Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Scholastic 

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I’ve been on a Tamora Pierce re-reading spree, so naturally, Melting Stones was on the list of books to re-read. It’s the only book set in Ms. Pierce’s Emelan universe that doesn’t feature one of the main quartet, so it has an entirely different feel and perspective. As a result, it was very refreshing and amusing to jump back into this world and see what’s taking place from Evy’s point of view instead of Tris, Sandry, Daja, or Briar’s. It was overall a very entertaining re-read, and I’m looking forward to finishing the other books.

I’ve been enjoying all of the Full Cast audiobook productions for the Emelan books, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this book was specifically written for a full audio cast. A super cool random fact, courtesy of Wikipedia! As with the other books, it was an excellent performance by all of the voice actors. Now that I’ve listened to a couple of them, I’m more used to having multiple narrators instead of just one. 

With this book, I think that Rosethorn has made the most book appearances of any character in the Emelan universe. She helped to raise Briar, and now she’s helping to raise Evy. One of the biggest challenges they overcome is dealing with Evy’s PTSD. She (understandably) is wary when it comes to trusting people other than Briar and Rosethorn. However, her mannerisms and behavior extend to the point of hostility, and where she simply does not care about the fate of anyone else. Rosethorn is gentle with her triggers, but also quick to point out where she’s being irrational. For example, Rosethorn does not discipline Evy when one of the dedicates startles her awake (after being told not to). However, she does remind Evy that life is more rewarding as a “builder” and not a “destroyer”. Evy comes to realize that by the end of the book, and it was quite rewarding for me as a reader to witness her journey. 

As a reminder, Evy’s point of view is very different from that of any of the main foursome. Don’t go into this a repeat of one of the original Circle of Magic books or the Circle opens books. That’s not to say it’s not a good book (it’s a fantastic read - I’ve rated all of Tamora Pierce’s books four stars or higher) but I don’t want people to go into this book with unrealistic expectations and then leave disappointed. 

I also want to note that while it’s technically “standalone”, I would not recommend reading this book without reading the other previous books based on Evy, Briar, and Rosethorn. If you did, you would likely feel like you were missing things and multiple references would not make sense. 

I can’t say enough good things about Ms. Pierce’s books. She’s one of my favorite authors of all time (one of my very few “auto-buy” authors) - I imagine I’ll be singing the praises of her books to anyone who asks for a long time to come. If you love diverse stories complete with amazing plots, fantastic characters, and absolutely fantastic worldbuilding, then pick up one of her series today. Middle-grade readers should start with the Circle Opens series, while readers at the young adult level would most likely prefer the series that are set in Tortall (Song of the Lioness, Protector of the Small, and Daughter of the Lioness are some of the best in my opinion).

About the Author

TAMORA PIERCE is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over eighteen novels set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. She first captured the imagination of readers with her debut novel, Alanna: The First Adventure. Since then, her bestselling and award-winning titles have pushed the boundaries of fantasy and young adult novels to introduce readers to a rich world populated by strong, believable heroines. Her books have been translated into many languages, and some are available on audio from Listening Library and Full Cast Audio. In 2013, she won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.” Pierce lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband, Tim, and their cats, birds, and occasional rescued wildlife. 

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