In the epilogue of Magic Steps, everything still hurts. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read The Circle Opens.
Itâ€™s weird to say that I feel sad reading the end of this book. Itâ€™s the first of a quartet, but I get the sense that each of the books in The Circle Opens will only follow one main character and their teacher, so that means itâ€™ll be a long while until I see Sandry, Lark, and Pasco again. WHO I ADORE SO MUCH. But it also comes from the almost Pyrrhic victory here in Magic Steps. Sandry and Pasco stopped the Dihanur assassins, but at what cost? How will the trauma of what these people experienced affect their lives to come? What role will Lark and Discipline House play in Sandryâ€™s life? I donâ€™t really now the answers to these questions, and Pierce leaves me to ponder them. Which is appropriate, I should say. It fits that thereâ€™s no definitive end here becauseâ€¦ well, it leaves these characters open for future stories in this world.
There is some closure for Pasco, though. His work in capturing these killers has allowed his family to see how their son can stay in the family business while pursuing what he loves. Whatâ€™s so cool about this to me is that in the end, Pasco is utterly thrilled to be able to do both things. Itâ€™s hard feeling like youâ€™re destined for a certain career because of those who came before you. However, Pasco still wants to do harrier work. He still finds it exciting. Itâ€™s just that he gets to explore while also learning to be a better mage and a better dancer:
â€œIf I donâ€™t understand my magic, the good and the bad, Iâ€™m not a mage at all. Iâ€™m just a tool, to be used, like that poor chuff the killers were using. Anyone could put their hand to me, and make me work however they want, if they figure out how to control me. Thatâ€™s not counting the trouble I might get myself into, not knowing what I can do and what I canâ€™t.â€
Thatâ€™s growth, yâ€™all. Pasco recognized his shortcomings in using his magic for greedy, self-serving reasons, and he has promised to do himself better. That involves being well-rounded, too! Itâ€™s something that Sandry wanted him to learn all along, but she was never quite sure she could impart that on him.
As for Sandry, I was thankful that Pierce did not ignore that Sandry had been through a major trauma:
For days after that dreadful meeting with the Dihanurs and their mage, she had kept to her rooms at Dukeâ€™s Citadel, eating little, thinking a great deal. Sheâ€™d had to force herself to talk to Pasco a week later. Even then she had done it only because the duke had said the boy thought she was furious with him because heâ€™d been caught.
None of that is atypical of a character like Sandry. Sheâ€™s always been a thoughtful person, so it makes sense to me that sheâ€™d be haunted like this by what happened and what she had to do. Sheâ€™s not careless about such things, and I imagine that the other Discipline kids would have reacted differently if put into the same circumstances. Still, Sandry was so determined to catch the Dihanur assassins in a way that spared their lives, and she doesnâ€™t take it lightly that she killed three people, however deserving of it they might have been.
â€œYou acted as an adult, and you did it without hate. Iâ€™m not sure I could have done it without hating them, after seeing that poor maimed boy.â€
â€œThereâ€™s blood on my hands,â€ whispered Sandry, looking at them.
â€œGood. As long as you feel that way, you wonâ€™t become like them, will you?â€ asked Lark.
Itâ€™s an important distinction that Sandry may not have come to on her own. Thatâ€™s not to say that sheâ€™s entirely dependent on Lark, of course, so I found it appropriate that immediately after this, Lark pushes Sandry into realizing that sheâ€™s finally outgrown Discipline. I suppose thatâ€™s part of the reason I felt so sad reading this, too. I grew attached to these characters because of their time at Discipline, and itâ€™s always a wistful thing to see someone grow up. But Iâ€™m proud of Sandry, and Iâ€™m in awe of what sheâ€™s accomplished in such a short time. She knows that itâ€™s time for Lark to teach someone new (the eternally shy Comas, who we barely meet here), and itâ€™s time for her to begin thinking about what she wants to do with her life. My only hope is that we get to see some of that journey in the future.
Now, normally with a series, I get to a point where I have a decent number of predictions for the next book. BUT THIS IS A VERY UNIQUE CHALLENGE SET BEFORE ME. If these books are indeed focused on a singular character, then theyâ€™re not serialized as I might expect. I honestly donâ€™t even know who Street Magic focuses on, so youâ€™ll get one prediction for the next book. Which Iâ€™ll discover if Iâ€™m right or wrong about soon, and in the meantime, you can cackle at me to your heartâ€™s content.
All right, so! Given the name, I predict that Street Magic will focus on Briar Moss and will also be set where he grew up in Sotat.
LETâ€™S DO THIS.
Mark Links Stuff
– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder ofÂ The Legend of Korra, series 8 ofÂ Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running,Â I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out theÂ MarkDoesStuff.com. All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!