Mark Reads ‘Sandry’s Book’: Chapter 9

In the ninth chapter of Sandry’s Book, Briar remains in denial, Sandry tests her own patience, and Daja OH MY GOD!!!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Circle of Magic



I had the sort of mother who gave me and my siblings fairly rigorous chores to do, and we were always compelled to keep our rooms as neat as possible. That was often a challenge for me because my brain is not an organized place and never has been. I’m messy in my head, and I have always had a problem with visualizing things in a physical space. Still, I knew that I had to keep my room clean all the time, and I credit this for helping me survive the years I spent away from my home in high school. This sort of ethic transformed into a constant need to do housework at whatever house I was staying at while I couch surfed in high school. I was always aware of the fact that any of my friends who let me live with them after I ran away from home were doing a huge favor to me.

So I made my presence in these homes as pleasant as possible, meaning that I constantly did chores around the house. Dusting, vacuuming, washing the dishes – anything I could get my hands on. I’d always do it without being asked to, and I did it without ceremony. And after living this way for YEARS, I finally got my own place to live and promptly became… well, not very organized. WHOOPS. It’s like my subconscious rebelled against the idea of being clean and neat after having spent the majority of my life being concerned with it.

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about when Tris had to teach Briar how to dust. I learned how to clean at a very young age, which gave me the skills I needed in my teenage years. I do think that Tris has got to start examining how she views those around her and why she believes what she does. Like her judgments against Traders, her narrow-minded view of Briar’s upbringing is not helpful or kind. The dude literally has never had anything like a home, so it’s perfectly understandable that he wouldn’t know how to dust. I’m sure he was more concerned with things like surviving to the next day. That doesn’t make him a “savage” either. (Damn, she has some pretty terrible opinions of both of the people of color she’s housed with. Tris, work on this.)


Okay, so, THEORY TIME:

“Why did you do that?” Sandry wanted to know.

“It’s to keep magic from leaking in as we meditate,” replied Niko.

Rosethorn muttered, “Or from leaking out.”

I have noticed a thing in this book, though I must also admit that Frostpine’s bit at the end of the chapter kinda spells it out for me. All of these people – Niko, Lark, Rosethorn, and Frostpine – knew that the four kids being brought to Discipline were special and immensely powerful when it came to magic. It supports Niko’s quest in the first chapter. Why else would he change his mind about taking Tris with him? Why else would he have sought out Sandry and Daja? Why else would he risk taking in Briar? He then told all of these people who he’d found, and they’re all here to help these kids become mages. I LOVE THIS THEORY BECAUSE IT ISN’T RISKY AT ALL AND IS BASICALLY CONFIRMED BY THE TEXT. And it’s also clear that they’re all getting much better at meditating and recognizing their power. (Though Briar is still fighting it. More on him in a bit.)

Sandry’s Defense

First of all, I love that the roof of Discipline has become this calming, relaxing place for all four of the characters, though this is the first that nearly all of them are there at once. It means different things to them, but I like the idea that they share it as a place of tranquility. So it’s also meaningful to me that Sandry uses this time to defend Briar and suggest – for the first time in the novel – that these four people belong to a group of sorts.

“I had to help,” Sandry replied flatly. “He’s one of us.”

Daja blinked. “Is there an ‘us’?”

Sandry looked surprised. “Certainly! Didn’t that thing this morning convince you?”

In hindsight, it is kind of obvious. They all moved in to support one another, even if it was an unconscious thing. That’s not to deny that there are issues they need to get through with one another, but it’s fascinating that Sandry noticed this. It’s also so admirable that she is willing to go to bat (first for Daja, then for Briar) for these people with little expectation that they’ll return the same favor. She’d like for them to view her as a friend, but I think she recognizes that’s not going to come easily to any of these people.


Has there ever been a character more in denial??? In this chapter, Briar experiences a number of utterly bizarre and powerful things relating to plants, and yet he’s unwilling to even acknowledge that there might be something magical going on.

You know better,” Rosethorn told the miniature tree. “You know very well you can’t keep most of those.”

“You talk like it understands,” Briar complained.

Briar, do I have to remind you that you literally stole a tree because you “felt” it was sick? His denial is adorable at this point. I don’t think he’s ready to acknowledge the existence of the Green Man (WHO IS THAT, WHAT???), but I think Rosethorn is going to start nudging him to accept that he’s special. There’s that scene later on in this chapter where Briar speaks of the shakkan and himself as a collective “us” when talking to Sandry, and I believe it’s a start. Briar, you’ve got an unreal power within you! I just want him to stop doubting himself, BRIAR YOU ARE TOO MUCH FOR ME TO HANDLE.


And while Briar doubts himself, Sandry’s got to learn that she can’t doubt her abilities just because she is starting late. I understand the frustration, since it’s hard to deal with learning something years after your peers mastered it. But Sandry takes out a lot of her irritation on herself because she hasn’t figured out how to spin correctly. She’s only been doing it for a week – which Lark gently reminds her – and she’s got to accept that she’ll learn over time. It’s not an instant thing!

And neither is friendship. (FRIENDSHIP. FRIENDSHIP.) While I think Rosethorn is clearly the one who’ll help Briar the most, I was so pleased to see him open up (slightly!) to Sandry after he overheard her defending him. It’s one of the most rewarding scenes in this whole book because Briar is such a thorny person for very good reasons. And Sandry speaks honestly and kindly to him and of him, and it’s clear that means a lot to him.

F R I E N D S H I P.




The novice caught his foot and stumbled. His tongs dropped from his grip.

She didn’t think; she grabbed the hot iron before it struck the ground. Lifting it with a relieved sigh, she offered it to Kirel.

DID SHE JUST…. ????????? WHAT?????

Frostpine placed the iron on the rim of the forge. “Show me your hands.”

Daja obeyed. He turned them palm up in his own – they were unmarked.

SHE DID. SHE HELD HOT IRON AND IT DID NOT AFFECT HER AND SHE WAS NOT EVEN REMOTELY BOTHERED BY THIS. (I submit this as evidence that she knew she could do this. Anyone else would have been utterly frightened by this. Her nervousness here is over knowing that she’s “handling the work of lugsha,” which suggests that she has always known that she was very different from the other Traders.)

She heard Frostpine, whispering, say, “I warned you when you came to me that you would see odd things.”

“A girl who holds red-hot metal in her hands? That’s more than just odd!

“I don’t understand why you’re upset. I do the same thing, all the time.”


I don’t even care about the Summersea Markets. (Just kidding, I can’t wait.) I just want so much more of this book and specifically, more of Daja and Frostpine. It’s my everything. MY EVERYTHING.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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