Mark Reads ‘Street Magic’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of Street Magic, about a thousand things happen at once. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Circle Opens. 

Goddamn, what a chapter!

So, let’s start first with the immediate reaction that both Briar and Evvy have to Zenadia’s offer. I like that Briar was so convinced that Evvy had no idea what she was doing while she knew who Lady Zenadia actually was. Briar seems to underestimate Evvy from time to time, and I think that’s because he’s so far removed from being on the streets that he forgets how resilient you have to be to survive there. She’s savvy because she has to be. At the same time, Briar struggles with what Zenadia’s offer might mean to Evvy. It’s security. It’s stability. It’s something he wasn’t offered until Niko saved him from his fate, and thus, he actually considers handing Evvy over to Zenadia.

Well, “considers” is possibly an overstatement, since it doesn’t take long for him to come to the conclusion that this would be a terrible thing for Evvy. The necessary push for that epiphany? Well, it’s Jebilu Stoneslicer, who finally shows up to test Evvy before taking her in to his home. Unsurprisingly, he’s fucking awful to Evvy. Condescending, arrogant, rude, and cruel, he exhibits every single quality and behavior we expect from him. I HATE HIM SO MUCH. That’s definitely the case because he’s so self-centered that he can’t even acknowledge that Evvy’s power is better than his. Now, granted, that’s something any teacher would have an issue with. (Briar even considers that briefly.) But he pushes Evvy beyond what she’s capable of due to his arrogance, and she ends up hurting herself. It’s a sign of what a sloppy, inconsiderate teacher he is!

So, you don’t have to imagine my utter joy at Evvy summarily rejecting Jebilu’s guidance. You know, I hadn’t realized until this chapter spelled it out that Evvy truly is a lot like Rosethorn. Part of her street smarts is in her quick wit. Because y’all, Evvy burns Jebilu so hard that I’m surprised he wasn’t taken immediately from Briar’s stall to a healer. CAN WE ACKNOWLEDGE HOW INCREDIBLE THIS IS?

“I don’t like you and I’m not studying with you,” Evvy retortd, glaring up into his face. “And nobody int he world can make me do it. I figured I’d look at you because Pahan Briar thought it was important. Now that I’ve seen you, though, I can tell it was just another of his strange notions, like belonging to a gang.”

Someone please hand Jebilu some burn salve, lord.

“I know your kind,” Evvy told Jebilu. “You’ll treat me like dirt and kiss the bum of anyone with money. I may be a guttersnipe, but you’re a zernamus. Any learning you dish out will be as rancid as month-old butter.”

Who knew? Who knew she had this power to rip a man apart so viciously? I AM A FAN. Logistically, though, this is a problem, and I appreciate that Pierce doesn’t ignore that. With both Zenadia and Jebilu no longer options for Evvy’s care, Briar’s the only one left to help. It’s not exactly a welcome possibility for Briar:

She doesn’t know, Briar thought, bewildered and scared. She thinks I’m an adult who knows things. She sees a pahan, not a fourteen-year-old kid who’s spent the last four years with his nose in the dirt.

Had Rosethorn ever felt this way? As if he thought her perfect, and might be disappointed if he found she was human after all?

And even beyond that, there’s the challenge of Evvy’s living situation. Briar knows that it’s best if they live together, but her cats are a necessary part of her life. It’s a very unique situation, made all the more delicate by Rosethorn, too. IT’S SO COMPLICATED, Y’ALL. To make matters worse? The feud between the Gate Lords and the Vipers is now undeniably brutal. In the span of this chapter, two people are murdered: the Gate Lord’s tesku and Douna. Because of the way Douna’s death is revealed (through a disguised Mai, who is trying to avoid death herself), we get a sense for just how awful things have become. Pierce doesn’t hide this from the reader, either. Sure, Briar is more sympathetic to gangs because of his bias for them. It’s the only way he survived living on the streets. But just because Briar can understand them doesn’t mean that their behavior is suddenly without its horrific implications. These street gangs are violent, and their violence takes lives. Of course, that makes me hate Zenadia even more than I already do because she’s fanning the flames of all of this while suffering none of the ramifications of it.


At least the end of this chapter offers us a hopeful sign of what is to come. I was definitely amused that Briar returned home, only to discover that Rosethorn had begun to prepare for Evvy and her cats to live with them. I got the sense that Rosethorn respected the fact that Evvy rejected such a prestigious offer because Evvy respected herself. She knew that she wouldn’t learn from Jebilu, and it was risky for her to mouth off to a man like Jebilu. YET SHE DID IT ANYWAY.

This is a terribly exciting turn of events, y’all. They’re going to live under one roof! Cats! Shenanigans! I LOVE THIS!

The original text contains use of the word “stupid.”

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.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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