Mark Reads ‘Battle Magic’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Battle Magic, THIS DID NOT GO AS I EXPECTED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Battle Magic.

There are a LOT of incredible details within this chapter, and while I’ll try to touch on as many of them as I see fit, this chapter inspired me to talk about why Battle Magic keeps surprising me. There’s a point in my reading of this chapter where I paused to reflect on how uncommon it was for a fantasy story to give the big spiritual quest to a secondary character, and it’s then that I realized how strange the narrative was for this book.

I’ll explain. I felt my point was flawed because in essence, Battle Magic has THREE protagonists. By any measure of what makes a protagonist, Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy all fit. Each of them has their own story and conflict. Each of them is on a journey of sorts. And because Pierce splits time between the three of them so equally – and often in the middle of a chapter, without a break – I can’t claim that there’s a singular protagonist within this book.

Now, fantasy novels certainly aren’t strangers to multi-POV narration, and even Pierce herself has used them plenty of times before. But often, there’s a primary narrative or a primary character, and the other POV sections just accent the main one. But if these three characters truly do separate, then what does that make Battle Magic? Each of them will have their own story unfolding within the pages of this book. AND THAT’S SO COOL TO ME.

Honestly, I know why I found Rosethorn’s new task within this chapter so extraordinary and surprising. For the most part, the younger characters in her Emelan and Tortall books are the ones who face the epic conflicts. That’s not the case here, at least not yet. Rosethorn has been given perhaps the most important mission in the entire Emelan series. ROSETHORN! That means that Briar and Evvy become the supporting characters, unless their own conflicts become so great that this is not the case. God, I love that this is a thing because it makes the story so much less predictable, despite that we know outright spoilers.


Anyway, let’s talk about a few specific things in this chapter. It’s fitting that prior to receiving her holy mission from Dokyi, Rosethorn is so lovingly supported by Briar. It sets the tone for what comes after because Briar demonstrates his stubbornness and his refusal to abandon Rosethorn. We’ll see it pop up again afterwards, but for the moment it’s a touching scene. It’s also heartbreaking because of what Dokyi commands Rosethorn to do: transport the Treasures of the Living Circle to the Temple of the Sealed Eye so that they can be hidden again. Okay, so, a basic transportation mission, right?

“Should they fall into the hands of a destroyer, however – into the hands of one such as Weishu – our temples will lose their strength. Our works and our people will become corrupt. The Treasures must be hidden outside a temple of the Living Circle.”

So, no pressure at all, Rosethorn. NONE AT ALL. Good gods, not only does she need to transport this box of the Treasures of the four elements that form the basis of her entire religion, but she’s got to do so while avoiding the advancing armies of Emperor Weishu. Oh, and no one else aside from Rosethorn or Dokyi can even touch the box without practically dying OR poisoning the Living Circle, which means the worst: Evvy and Briar cannot come along. No exceptions. And as far as I can tell, Dokyi is absolutely serious about this caveat, and I think Pierce is gonna stick with it.

But what of everything else? What if Rosethorn exceeds ten days on her journey and the magical pack stops working? Can the map that Dokyi gave her be stolen through magic, or is it safe within her mind?

I have a lot of concerns about this, and I know part of that is because all I have to hope for is that the box of Treasures truly helps Rosethorn with her breathing, her sight, and her general energy. Without Briar or Evvy around, she’s lost part of her support system. Briar knows this, and that’s why he’s so furious with Dokyi. That’s an understatement, of course, because Briar gets angrier than I have ever seen him. He’s upset at Rosethorn for agreeing to this, but his rage towards Dokyi is a million times worse. I guess it feels so huge to me because Briar knows who this man is and how important he is to the Living Circle religion, and yet he refuses to hold himself back. It’s admirable as much as it’s foolish, and Rosethorn goes to town on him at the end of the chapter.

But the whole arrangement still fascinates me. Are we really going to have three separate storylines? Will Briar part from Rosethorn and stay with Soudi and Parahan, or will he go back to Evvy? WILL EVVY FIND LUVO???

This is too much.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! 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. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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