Mark Reads ‘Sandry’s Book’: Chapter 4

In the fourth chapter of Sandry’s Book, Sandry and Tris move in to Discipline. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Circle of Magic.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of racism, sexism, and class issues.

I love so many things about this that I really, really need to bring back a list. I know I don’t do them much anymore (I like writing essays DON’T JUDGE ME), but Y’ALL THERE IS TOO MUCH HERE.

Reasons I Am Into Sandry’s Book Thus Far

  1. Niko respects that Tris is not ready to discuss whatever strange power she has. It was clear that she was uncomfortable once Niko started to question her about the most recent quake, and Niko recognized this, changing the subject. I still don’t understand his ultimate purpose here, and Pierce isn’t helping me, but I appreciate that he doesn’t rush anything. He brought these kids together for a reason, and I’d like to think that he wants to help them, too.
  2. Pierce uses this chapter to explore the concept of bias and prejudice, and practically every character is put under her microscope. Briar is biased towards girls; Daja is biased against boys and non-Traders, which she refers to as kaqs; Tris is biased against… well, everyone, but she also doesn’t trust Traders; and Sandry is unable to understand the class barriers that other people have experienced. It’s not just enough that these people have biases, though; Pierce examines why they have them, how they manifest, and whether those biases are due to trauma or a need to protect one’s self, or perhaps something more insidious. In someone else’s hands, this probably would have turned into a disaster, but it’s done incredibly well.
  3. THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE OF COLOR ALREADY. Daja and Briar and Moonstream and Dedicate Lark and THIS IS SO EXCITING, THEY’RE ALL MAIN CHARACTERS AND NO SECONDARY TO THE WHITE LEADS AND OH MY GOD.
  4. Pierce has Niko admit that Winding Circle itself was not enough to give these children happiness. The fact that Discipline Cottage even exists suggests that there was enough of a need for the place in the past, and I appreciate that Niko and Lark understand why it’s there.
  5. Niko does not blame Briar for trying to defend himself, but he also makes sure that Briar gives up his knives. As he puts it, there will always be a temptation to use them if Niko allows Briar to keep them. It’s clear to me that Niko is interested in a safe house for everyone living there.
  6. All four characters deal with disappointment in varying ways, and it helps support the idea that they are all on parallel journeys, though the details are different. Sandry is disappointed that no one has let her weave or that people are not eager to become her friend. Daja is disappointed in being trangshi and never being allowed near her people again. Briar is disappointed in practically everything in his life, but he chooses not to dwell on it. And Tris isn’t all that different from Briar, since she’s been on the receiving end of a whole lot of shit as well. Each of these people lost their families and are either desperate for something new or to get back what they once had.
  7. No, seriously, these kids largely do not get along with one another, and their prejudices inform how they treat one another. By and large, Sandry is the only person who wants to put that aside and get along, but even that is kind of a flawed approach. She’s the one who has been the victim of societal bigotry the least out of everyone here, so it’s easier for her to want civility and friendship. Meanwhile, Daja, Tris, and Briar are all coping with their loneliness and rejection, fighting for basic humanity. Friendship is not their number one priority.
  8. Rosethorn.
  9. No, I’m serious, her name alone is worth an entry. I AM SO INTRIGUED BY THIS CHARACTER. She is not immediately likable, which seems strange given where she was assigned to work. Why would you work in a house with children who are having a hard time fitting in if you’re so outwardly hostile to them? The thing is, everyone knows that she is not easy to talk to and that she’s thorny. Briar both respects and fears her in a way, but that’s mostly due to his affinity towards plants. Which I’m beginning to think is way more of an actual magical power, not just a hobby or an interest. The plants “sang with happiness” to him and THE VINES REACHED OUT TO WRAP AROUND HIS ARMS AND LEGS. That is something else, y’all! Plus, Rosethorn can clearly talk to plants, so is this like wild magic but for chlorophyll??? YES, CLEARLY.
  10. I am endlessly interested in Niko and his role in this. The part where he admits that he is a “treasure hunter” makes no sense to me, and I want to know more. Magical treasures? Are Briar, Daja, Sandry, and Tris considered treasures? (They are in my heart.) I’m also glad that someone else within the narrative itself has realized how odd it is that all four residents of Discipline were all “found” by Niko. I think it’s been implied that not all of the world knows mages are real, since the kids seem surprised and shocked by Niko admitting he is one. Perhaps, though, he just doesn’t look like a stereotypical mage.
  11. We find out that Tris has another power: hearing voices carried on the wind. Except Tris believes they aren’t real. Oh my god, Tris. How much longer until she realizes just how much she’s capable of?
  12. I know this is tangentially related to the second point up above, but I loved Tris’s conversation with Sandry about class markers and privilege. Of course, Tris doesn’t use those words when discussing the issue, but she’s able to explain why Sandry’s attempts at friendships are so grating. In particularly, Sandry tries to say that she’s the same as Tris now that they’re in Discipline, but she’s unaware of the fact that she still carries the weight of her nobility with her. Tris does not believe you can just erase your past and your privileges this easily, and I’d agree with her, as does Daja later on. But I do like that Pierce gives us a context for Sandry’s behavior. Sandry is used to having to make friends outside her social class because she didn’t have much choice in the matter.
  13. FRIENDSHIP. THERE IS A FRIENDSHIP DEVELOPING BETWEEN DAJA AND SANDRY. YES!

The video contains use of the words “crazy,” “mad,” “idiot,” and “insane.”

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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