Mark Reads ‘Daja’s Book’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Daja’s Book, it’s funny how you can totally expect an outcome and it doesn’t matter because Tamora Pierce will still ruin you. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Circle of Magic.

Trigger Warning: For pyrophobia and death.

Well, this is so much more awful than I thought it would be.

Yarrun Firetamer

He certainly took on an unfortunate name, right?

Yarrun’s combination of entitlement and pride was always going to end badly, and yet, his death came as an utter shock to me. I just hadn’t considered that he would die by the end of this, and I certainly didn’t think he’d die before the big fire even got started. It’s just sad to me that this man was so consumed with a singular obsession of his that it ended up killing him. It’s more than just his ironic title, though. The man was so committed to doing absolutely everything by himself that he wore himself thin. His exhaustion was immaterial to his sense of self. Who cares if he’s nearly dying, relying on his elixir to give him power? As long as no one else helps him, everything is fine.

Except even here, he doesn’t work alone.

Tris flung out her handful of trapped wind. It rushed from her grip, strengthened by its captivity, and pulled the scarf of dust away from the tower in its wake. Lady Inoulia and the duke felt the air’s passage and turned to stare at Tris. The redhead was leaning against the kiosk, her face to its stone wall, as if she were too afraid to watch Yarrun – as if she were too upset to have done anything. The lady turned her attention back to her mage. When Tris straightened and looked up, the duke still had his eye on her. Slowly he winked.

So, first of all, BLESS HER HEART. But this is important because very shortly after this, Yarrun celebrates his efforts, which aren’t his sole efforts at all. That makes me wonder: how often did this happen? Was this only a recent thing, or had people around him been picking up his slack? I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out that plenty of other mages had secretly been saving themselves by modifying his work. (I mean, given what we learn from Polyam later on about the things Yarrun did when he was angry… lord.)

Regardless, Yarrun’s death isn’t something to cheer on. Even if he was a highly flawed person, he was a firetamer. No one else in Gold Ridge has this specific kind of magic, and Yarrun’s lack of foresight has doomed the forest. It’s only going to be a matter of time before the fire rages out of control, AND THEN IT DOES AND IT’S AWFUL.

Daja

It’s been so much fun to see how each of the Circle of Magic books focus on one specific character while still address the entire group of characters. It’s clear that this is Daja’s fight, and while she gets assistance from her friends and her teacher, this wouldn’t be happening without her. Her use of the Great Square of Zuhayar is the only thing that might be able to stop the spread of the fire and save Gold Ridge. At the same time, Pierce doesn’t ignore the reality of Daja’s story either. She’s trangshi and Polyam is the wirok. In the most horrible twist yet, NO ONE IN THE IDARAM CARAVAN WILL LISTEN TO EITHER OF THEM BECAUSE THE TRADERS VIEW THEM AS UNCLEAN. That’s so upsetting to me, because even in this moment when the two of them are desperate to save everyone, the Traders stick to their beliefs. Would things have ended differently if they’d turned back when Daja first claimed that they were heading straight into a fire?

I suppose that’s not important because it’s a “What if?” situation, and there’s no room for hypotheticals left. The first is here, and there’s no stopping it by traditional means. With Yarrun dead, they have to rely on Daja to save everything, not just the caravan. Unlike Yarrun, though, she’s entirely willing to accept help while she tries to handle the fuel-hungry fire burning through the trees that surround her and everyone else around them. I loved how much Tris, Sandry, and Frostpine added their own touch to Daja’s magic, though I think it’s more accurate to say that they worked through her, not in addition to her. It’s not quite like the battle against the pirates, you know? Daja, with very little training, is anchoring them all. IT’S SO IMPRESSIVE.

But it’s not like she’s a sudden expert on using the Great Square of Zuhayar, and I did appreciate that Pierce didn’t make this a cut-and-dry procedure. Daja messes up with her first attempt, not realizing that she still had nothing to contain any of the power of the flames from escaping her creation. It’s a complicated situation, but I felt good knowing that these people were on her side and could help her. Of course, literally seconds after I thought, “Wow, Frostpine is joking around with Daja, everything will be okay!,” NOTHING WAS OKAY.

The look on Polyam’s scarred face told her their bad situation had gotten worse. “I think the fire was already headed north when you got out of the cart,” the wirok informed her tiredly. “It jumped the road. We’re cut off at the rear.”

GREAT. GREAT. 

The original text contains use of the words “idiotic” and “crazy.”

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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