Mark Reads ‘Briar’s Book’: Chapter 5

In the fifth chapter of Briar’s Book, Tris tries to help Niko with a dire problem. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Circle of Magic.


This chapter focuses entirely on Tris, and it’s an interesting and necessary perspective at this point. I love that she tries so hard to tell herself that she doesn’t really care all that much about her housemates when SHE TOTALLY DOES, SHE LOVES THEM, IT’S GREAT. Her inner monologue is so absolutely unlike anyone else’s, too, though I still maintain that she’s got a lot in common with Briar. They’re both fairly cynical, and you can see that cynicism within her thoughts in this chapter. She snaps at Little Bear and Briar’s shakkan for missing him, despite that she, too, wishes her friend was still around. I get the sense that Tris is not particularly used to caring about anyone, you know? She’s used to being on alert, certain that the people in her life will mistreat her or insult her for a number of reasons. There’s even a little moment here where she thinks about how often people consider it perfectly fine to comment on her weight after she climbs the stairs to the wall. You know what’s a good time to comment on someone’s weight and give them unsolicited advice?

N e v e r.

Anyway, this brief chapter covers a rather disturbing set of developments within the story, namely that the oncoming storms headed for Winding Circle may complicate matters. That storm is both a literal existence and a metaphor. I couldn’t fathom a reason why Niko would tell Tris to go against her teaching in order to stop a storm, and neither could Tris:

Tris stared at him. “You just asked me to meddle with the weather.”

“Yes.” He evaded her eyes, staring out at the dark landscape.

“But you threatened dire things if I used my power like that. I’m not allowed to muck with nature.”

“This is different.”

“How do you know your telling me to do it won’t turn out as badly as if I did it on my own?” she demanded.

“I don’t,” was the flat reply. “I feel it’s important enough to try, though, or I never would have brought it up.”

WELL, THAT’S ABSOLUTELY UNNERVING. Why? Why send Tris into a storm if it’s so dangerous? WHY IS IT WORTH IT FOR HER TO TAKE A RISK LIKE THIS??? But hey, I got to enjoy Pierce’s writing for the scene where Tris entered the storm, searching for a way to turn it off course. I love how poetic and smooth it reads, particularly when read aloud. And, as I’ve said many times before, I don’t feel lost reading the action. It’s not easy to describe something that’s so metaphysical and strange, but Pierce does a fine job with it.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing good that comes of Tris’s exploration. With miles upon miles of storms stacked up, ready to dump rain all over Winding Circle, Tris has to admit that any meddling would be pointless. Another storm would roll in behind it. At best, she could delay the next storm by a day, and what would that do?

It would give the city a day to protect themselves, given that it’s now highly likely that the blue pox spreads by water. WATER. That essential thing that LITERALLY EVERYONE needs to survive. Water!!! Oh, and if this reveal isn’t bad enough all by itself?

The guard took a deep breath, and straightened. “It’s the blue pox, Master Goldeye,” he said, his eyes haunted. “Inside the city wall.”


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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