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