Mark Reads ‘Sandry’s Book’: Chapter 7

In the seventh chapter of Sandry’s Book, Daja, Tris, and Sandry all begin to understand the challenges of training. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Circle of Magic.

Y’all, I still think it’s pretty fantastic that this book appears to have no central conflict to it (or I’m totally missing all the clues THAT’S PROBABLY WHAT’S HAPPENING), and yet I find it endlessly compelling. It’s so rewarding to see these characters grow as much as they have in half of a book, and I’m completely undone by all the emotions I have towards what is happening.

Validation and acceptance is such an important thing to me, and I think it’s something a lot of us have had to cope with. It’s one thing all four of these “kids” have been utterly without. They’ve been denied the chance to pursue their dreams and desires, either because their culture forbids it or their circumstances prevent it, and it’s been eating away at them for years. So you can see how they’re beginning to see what life is like when you’re allowed to do what you want or when people value you and recognize your worth as a person. (I assume Briar’s going to be a part of this, too, but he doesn’t have a POV section in this chapter.)



There’s a common thread that runs through all of the characters’ stories. (GET IT? THREAD? I’m here all night.) The natural world (not necessarily the living world) within this fictional universe is magical. Everything has a magic within it. All three girls deal with inanimate objects that suddenly feel alive to them when they’re able to concentrate on them, and Sandry gets the first chance to see how this works. I still adore that while each of these kids is attuned to something special (which Niko clearly knew what the fuck Niko), they still have a lot to learn. In Sandry’s case, wool loves her, so much so that it literally clings to her body.

Building off of Niko’s meditation lessons, Lark gently teaches Sandry what it means to compel the wool to obey her command. It’s a fascinating thing to read because… well, to me, weaving is already EXTREMELY CHALLENGING. And then you’re adding magic to that, and it’s another layer to this, and I just want to see so much more. How else is magic integrated in this world? How many people in Emelan don’t know that they have a magical calling within them? Because all four of these characters are surprised by what they’re able to do, AND I WANT TO KNOW SO MUCH MORE.


Okay, let me admit that I may have been misreading Tris somewhat throughout this. Her training session with Niko suggests far less culpability than I had previously assigned to her. I’d always assumed that she was causing every instance of bad weather, but what if that’s not the case? What if her power is a lot more nuanced than that? When Niko takes Tris out to the cave for her next lesson, he says something that made me rethink how I’ve been looking at her:

“Try to feel where the next bolt will strike – feel for power building up.”

That’s not lightning that Tris is causing. He’s just asking her to sense it, to recognize the power that weather inherently has. He even says it’s connected to her, supporting the idea that she can both cause storms and lightning strikes as much as she can recognize where and when they’ll strike next. Of course, Niko is more concerned about teaching Tris to control that power because unlike his other students, Tris can cause real damage:

“Stop ducking the lesson. Tris, there’s only so much that I, or anyone, can teach you. To control the power that makes your life so hard, you must be able to grasp it any time, in any place. Let nothing stop you from bearing down, understand? Or do you want to kill someone, one day, and only find out afterward that you didn’t mean to?”

It’s a scary thing for Tris to hear, but she has to be told the truth. And look, I’m glad that Pierce is having Niko be honest with her, because I feel like so many people in Tris’s life don’t tell her the truth. They pass her along, they lie to her, and they treat her like she’s not old enough or mature enough to understand the world around her. But Niko respects her enough to tell her the plain truth and she needs it.

Also note that Niko reveals that mimanders who specialize in winds go through an apprenticeship where 90% OF THEM DIE. WHAT THE HELL.


I can’t. I CAN’T DEAL WITH DAJA. She’s got a sensitivity to her that destroys me because growing up, I was always the shy and reluctant kid, terrified of interacting with adults but eager to learn more about the world around me. Once again, Daja is drawn to Frostpine, curious about his work. Like Niko, Rosethorn, and Lark do with the other kids, Frostpine recognizes something special in Daja, and he encourages her without being condescending.  And just like Tris and Sandry, Daja learns that there is a magic connection within her that destines her to work in smithing. She discovers that she can call metal to her using the meditation techniques from Niko, AND IT’S SO COOl. And soothing! I think I’d find this very relaxing. (Hahaha, I want magic so badly. SO BADLY.)

Unsurprisingly, Tamora Pierce also breaks my heart because she can’t go a chapter of this book without doing so.

“Would you like to learn smithcraft? Come here, say, in the afternoon, after the rest period? I’d like to have the teaching of you.”

“Can I?” she whispered. “No one will beat me, or lock me in my room, or make me do extra chores for being with lugsha? You’ll let me learn?”

I could fill a room with my tears. Daja has spent her whole life thinking she was wrong and dirty because her desires contradicted what her culture taught her. IS ANYONE AT ALL SURPRISED THAT I DEEPLY RELATE TO DAJA ON A SPIRITUAL LEVEL? No, NO ONE. I am then very thankful that she’s got someone like Frostpine in her life, and I’m just as excited about Lark’s role in Daja’s life. Lark is so beautifully sympathetic to what Daja is going through. It’s so meaningful that she finds a way for Daja to still wear her mourning colors and gets her new clothing and reveals that she once spent time with Traders and SHE DOES CARTWHEELS BECAUSE SHE CAN and holy shit. Y’all. There is too much mystery around Lark and Rosethorn, and I want to know everything about them. Please? Please?

I’m already overwhelmed by this book.

Mark Links Stuff

- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
– My older sister needs help with her transition, so I’ve agreed to read all of Fifty Shades of Grey on YouTube if we can help her reach her goal!
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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