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Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1999

150 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Circle Of Magic Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-Four children from different walks of life come to Winding Circle, a temple community where for different reasons they are sent to Discipline, a smaller cottage in which they gradually come to know and trust one another and, more importantly, to know themselves and discover their own magical abilities. Niko teaches them to control their impulses and focus their minds. When the four are trapped in a collapsing cave during an earthquake, they must combine their magic and the concentration Niko taught them to escape. This first book (Scholastic, 1997) of Tamora Pierce's popular Circle of Magic fantasy quartet features The Words Take Wings repertory group reading the dialogue and the author reading the narrative portions of the text. Dramatizing the dialogue makes the story more lively and immediate and will captivate listeners. However, the blend of narration and dramatized dialogue is not always smooth, and often the timing of the transition from actor to narrator seems slightly awkward. Most of the actors do a good job of creating distinct personalities for their characters, but they vary in skill. While Cynthia Bishop as Lark is excellent and her voice is very expressive, the actors playing the children are not as skilled. Pierce's voice lacks expression as the narrator. She is much better in the author interview at the end of the production which adds insight into her work. Technical quality of the production is excellent. While there are no sound effects or background noises to intrude, brief snatches of appropriate music mark plot shifts, a necessity here since the story shifts among the four children. This recording should prove popular where children are reading Pierce's books.
Louise L. Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia,
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


First in a series, this is a rich and satisfying read.
--Kirkus Reviews

The action is swift, the fantasy world nicely defined, and the ending will leave readers wanting more. With a multicultural cast and enough gender role-reversal to make a lot of people happy, this is a promising first title in a series.
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

[T]his is an enjoyable fantasy for middle-grade readers, who will look forward to the next book in the series.
--School Library Journal

Pierce has created an excellent new world where magic is a science…and populated it with a cast of well-realized characters. Teens will eagerly await the planned sequels.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590554085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590554084
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tamora Pierce is a bestselling author of fantasy books for teenagers. Her books, known for their teenaged girl warriors and wizards, have received critical acclaim and a strong fanbase.


Tamora Pierce was drawn to books from a young age. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, the child of a "long, proud line of hillbillies," her family never had much. "We were poor, but I didn't know it then. We had a garden where my folks grew fruit and vegetables and our water came from a well," she explains. But one thing they did have was plenty of books. So Tamora read.

A self-proclaimed "geek," she devoured fantasy and science fiction novels, and by the age of 12 was mimicking her literary idols and writing her own action-packed stories. It was thanks to her father that Tamora began writing. "He heard me telling myself stories as I did dishes, and he suggested that I try to write some of them down," Pierce says.

But Tamora's novels had one major difference: unlike the books she was reading, her stories featured teenaged girl warriors. "I couldn't understand this lapse of attention on the part of the writers I loved, so until I could talk them into correcting this small problem, I wrote about those girls, the fearless, bold, athletic creatures that I was not, but wanted so badly to be."

Seventeen years later, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, a brief career in teen social work and some time spent writing for radio, Tamora Pierce held true to her childhood crusade, and published Alanna: The First Adventure, the first in a quartet about a valiant, young, female warrior. Pierce's heroine struck a chord with readers across the country and quickly earned her a loyal following.

Pierce is now a #1 New York Times bestselling author and has written twenty-five books, including her newest, BEKA COOPER #2: Bloodhound. "It's a pretty good life, if I do say so myself. Struggling along as a kid and even through my twenties, it's the kind of life I dreamed of but never believed I would get. Yet here I am, after a lot of work, a lot of worry, a lot of care for details, and a massive chunk of luck, the kind that brought me such strong friends and readers. Pretty good for a hillbilly, yes? And I never take it for granted," she says.

Pierce lives in upstate New York with her husband Tim and their three cats and two birds.


"[Tamora Pierce's heroines] faithfully reiterate an ideal of feminine power that relies on brains, not beauty; of feminine attractiveness that relies on competence, not helplessness; and of feminine alliances that grow stronger, not weaker, in the face of conflicts." -The New York Times


"With its rollicking adventures [and] appealing characters . . . Terrier will be in strong demand by Pierce's fans. It will keep readers on the edge of their seats." -School Library Journal, Starred

"Memorable characters and well-drawn settings. . . . This timely and appealing anthology will surely help swell the ranks of teenage fantasy readers." -School Library Journal

"The plot sweeps readers along in a whirlwind of court intrigue, deception, murder, and romance. The humor is wicked, and the plot twists will keep the pages turning to the supremely satisfying end. Teens will be inspired by Aly's determination, her resourcefulness, and her heart." -School Library Journal

"Aly arrives fully formed, a snarky, talented uber-heroine. Cameos of old favorites complement a rich cast of new characters. Aly's difficulty with the complexity of colonialism adds surprising, welcome depth." -Kirkus Reviews

"Unrelentingly realistic in its depiction of the horrors of war, this novel draws the reader into a complete and believable fantasy world. Pierce provides exquisite details of the weaponry, topography, and culture of her world, and her control of a voluminous cast of characters is masterful." -Voice of Youth Advocates

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#93 in Books > Teens
#93 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 131 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, I have to admit it. At first I was reluctant to read this book. Actually that's putting it mildly. I did NOT want to read this book what so ever. And that's not because Tamora Pierce is a bad author. (Oh my gosh, NO! She is my favorite.) But her Tortall books had been so good I was afraid I would miss the other characters. (I obviously have some unresolved emotional problems somewhere) Anyway I decided to wait for "First Test" to come out. Then I realized I was too broke(or cheap) to buy it in hardcover and to make a long story short I broke down and bought the first two "Circle of Magic" books in the series. And I loved them. I especially love the characters. The whole story is about these four kids, who are very diverse and unique. They are found by this mage named Niko who brings them together at this really cool place called Winding Circle Temple The four kids don't fit in with the other children so they have to live in a cottage called Discipline which is how they are all brought together to form the "magic circle". Each kid has a special magical talent, (metalcraft, weaving, plants, and weather) and in the end they have to combined their powers to save their lives. Maybe the thing that appealed to me the most was how they all had to live together, (I'm a Real World fanatic, heh heh heh.) but the story is just very very interesting and moving and I really really love it. It's right up there with the Alanna and Daine Quartets, so RELUCTANT TORTALL LOVERS LISTEN TO ME: PLEASE GIVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE-READ A SENTENCE OR TWO JUST FOR ME, YOU'LL LOVE IT
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on September 13, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Circle Opens Quartet is yet another successful series written by Tamora Pierce. However, this is not the normal heroine Tortall-set story that fans have learned to love. In this book, Tamora Pierce changes the setting of her story and instead of writing about one main character, there are four, one of them being a boy. This story was written for a younger audience, however this does not lessen Pierce's imaginative and colourful stories. The presence of a masculine character, Briar, as one of the most important ones in the story, is quite different compared to Tamora's previous series, and I welcomed this change.
Sandry's Book, being the first book in the Circle Opens, is basically an introduction to all four of the characters: Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar. All of these children are either orphaned or have relatives that do not wish to have them. Since they all come from different social classes and they all have different beliefs, their meeting is an awkward one, but since they were chosen to live in the same house, they must learn to at least respect each other. While they are staying at the Winding Circle Temple, they each discover that they have their own magical gifts: Sandry is gifted in working thread, Tris in changing the weather, Daja in working different types of metal, and Briar in taking care of plants. Since they were not born in an environment that was able to favour these magical gifts, they must now learn how to understand and control them.
I recommend this story to any Tamora Pierce fan, however those who are older than twelve-years-old might not enjoy this series as much as her previous ones, especially if they are avid readers. However, even though this book is destined to pre-teenagers, what the book lacks of in maturity and complexity is gained in the discovery of a whole new world. Enjoy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. on February 18, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For some strange reason, in all the years I've been reading fantasy, I haven't picked up many Tamora Pierce books. Now it's not that I dislike them, I find them to be quite interesting, but I never really got into them. Now I'm 16 and probably a bit too old to be getting into these books but I still love them. Sandry's book is the first book in a fantasy quartet about four young adults with special gifts. The first book introduces us to the four main charecters: Sandry, the bright and friendly noble girl who has a strange gift for weaveing, Daja, a headstrong Trader who is considered cursed by her people, Triss, a stubborn young girl who's power over the weather mystifies even herself, and Briar, a street smart theif who has a strange gift with plant life. These four children live dark lives until they are brought to a temple by Master Niko. Here they learn about magic hidden deep inside of them and begin to learn how to control it. But if the four strong-willed young people cannot bind together they may find themselves in terrible peril.
I found this book to be magical, entertaining, and exciting. THe only complaint I had with it is how the charecters were first found by Niko and that's more something that irks me than anything. I wish I could have picked this up a few years ago, I may have enjoyed it even more. I will definatly pick up the final three books in this series. I can't wait to see what happens to these four appealing charecters.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Circle of Magic Sandry's Book

By: Tamora Pierce

Four friends with magical powers over weather and water, wind, earth, and fire are brought to Winding Tower's school. Tremors have been happening all summer. Then an earthquake was to hit Water Tower's school, sister school of Winding Tower. When the earthquake hit Water Tower's school the mages, people with the power of an element, tried to stop it but just made it stronger. Now the earthquake is heading straight for Winding Tower. When the quake hits most of the school's children are trapped including the four friends. Will they live? Will someone find them?

I liked the amount of description the author put into this book. I like the intensity of this book. I love the conflict that the author uses in this book. I love how the author keeps you guessing and wondering what will happen next.

This book made me realize that you can find friends in different places. This book made me think that you should not judge people before you know them.

I would recommend this book to anyone that needs to read a great adventure story. I would recommend this to children in the 4th grade to children in the 9th grade. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to read a series of books.


Kid Reader
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