Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
Melting Stones is the latest book by author Tamora Pierce. It’s the story of a young mage named Evy. For those of you who read Pierce, you will remember that Evy’s last appearance was in the Circle Opens book, Street Magic. In which the long time character Briar Moss finds Evy and begins teaching her how to use her magic.
For anyone who does not read Pierce’s work regularly, there are two different realities, or universes, in which she usually writes. The first is the Tortall universe, which includes her first series, Song of The Lioness, and usually involves characters who are at least marginally involved with the main character from those books. It is geared toward older readers, teens and young adults.
The Circle of Magic books, however, are geared toward younger readers, and this is the universe that Melting Stones belongs to. This collection includes the books from Circle of Magic, and Circle Opens, as well as stand alone books like The Will of The Empress, and Melting Stones. I mention these other books because they are the stories of Evy’s teacher and first friend, Briar Moss, as well as her guardian Dedicate Rosethorn. They are also all good reads.
In Melting Stones, Pierce has taken the opportunity to create a character unlike any other she has ever written. Most of her main characters, particularly the young girls, are driven people, ready and eager to go out in to the world and do something great. They are all hungry for knowledge, and skills, and willing to listen to their beloved teachers because they provide these things that they need so desperately. Evy is different.
Evy was a hungry street child when Briar saved her in Street Magic. She isn’t yet so far away from the streets that she’s forgotten what it was to be hungry and alone. She also went through a war with Briar and Rosethorn, a war that has only been made mention of, though a book about the events has been promised. After this sort of life, Evy is understandably falling out of love with Mankind in general. She is attached to Rosethorn, because Rosethorn shows her love in her own crotchety sort of way. But even Briar she has reservations about, because he left her alone to go "adventuring," as she sees it (Though in truth he’s off risking his life with his sisters. You can read about that in The Will of The Empress). And so, unlike many of Pierce’s characters, Evy is mostly out for number one. Until, that is, she sees what kind of life results from those pursuits.
In Melting Stones, Evy, Rosethorn, and an assortment of new characters are off to an island that is having a strange problem. Their plants are dying, and their water is being poisoned. Rosethorn, and a Water temple dedicate named Myrrhtide, are there to find out what is wrong. Evy, who’s magic centers around stones, is there mostly to tag along with the only person she really likes. This situation changes when it is discovered that the problem lies in a volcano that is about to erupt on the island. Evy finds out that the volcano is being caused by a pair of beings that she names Flame and Crimson. They have the mentality of children who are bored, and want to break out of their underground world and see something new. While these creatures, who are basically lava beings, understand that breaking out into the open sky will kill them, they don’t understand, or don’t care, that it will also kill everyone on the island.
Knowing that she can’t stop them forever, Evy must instead find a way to slow them down, while Rosethorn and Myrrhtide do their best to get everyone off of the island.
True to the fact that this book is intended for children, there is an inclusion of a character that I found interesting as a character, but moronic in what the character was. It is the heart of a mountain, which has decided to travel with Evy instead of staying inside of his mountain. His name is Luvo. Again, he is an interesting character, but a very child like one.
All in all though, Evy’s story has been a fascinating one. She has changed and grown, and her stories continue to be fascinating. I would suggest giving Melting Stones a read. Once again, Pierce has proven that she is a writer to follow.