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Magic Steps    by Tamora Pierce order for
Magic Steps
by Tamora Pierce
Order:  USA  Can
Scholastic, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

This is the first book of a new quartet, The Circle Opens, starring a young fourteen year old heroine, and spinner and weaver of magic, Lady Sandrilene Fa Toren (she was also featured in a previous quartet, The Circle of Magic).This time, Sandrilene is alone, without her usual companions. Her uncle, Duke Vedris, has almost died after a heart attack, and she decides it is her duty to stay and take care of him, while the others disperse with their teachers to learn more of the world and its magics.

By accident Sandry watches a young boy, Pasco, dance magic (something totally new) and she is forced to become his mentor, most reluctantly. He is equally reluctant, since his family are all hereditary members of the Provost's Guard, and he sees that as his destined role. Then a mysterious murder of a prominent merchant, discloses an even stranger magic used by the murderers. It reduces all beings, all magic, to nothingness. As additional members of the merchant's family are murdered in the same way, Sandry comes to realise that only by joining her own magic to the dance magic of Pasco will they be able to stop the killings.

Tamora Pierce has enchanted young readers ever since her first heroine, Alanna, dressed as a boy and became a squire. She certainly enchanted Alanna's namesake, my granddaughter, who introduced me to this author years ago. Her stories are aimed quite deliberately and directly at teenaged girls, but they are so well written that they will be enjoyed by readers of all ages and both sexes. There is always plenty of action, and the characterisation, not only of Sandry but of Pasco, her uncle and others, is carefully drawn and adds a great deal to the story.

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