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Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce

Evvy is a fourteen year old stone mage that finds she prefers the company of rocks to people. Her parents sold her into slavery at a young age. Even after being rescued by plant mages Briar and Rosethorn, Evvy’s life has not been perfect. When Rosethorn and the water mage Myrrthide are called to Starns Island to investigate dying plants, Evvy is brought along with her companion Luvo, the living heart of a mountain. It’s Evvy’s magic that discovers the problem behind the dead trees and acidic water. Beneath Starns is a volcano begging to be born. It’s up to Evvy, Rosethorn, and Myrrthide to convince the skeptical island community that catastrophe is only days away. With her connection to the earth, Evvy may be able to save the island, but that’s only if she can be convinced that these unresponsive people are even worth saving.

Melting Stones is the first book ever written specifically for the audiobook format. Around this time last year, I listened to the audiobook and quickly fell in love with the sassy heroine and the exciting fantasy story. Now, I’m reading the paper copy and finding that it doesn’t sparkle quite as much. Certain aspects, such as the dumping a lot of background information in dialogue, didn’t bother me at all with the audiobook. With the paper copy, I found the amount of this in the first few chapters to be a little distracting. Luckily, once we really get into the story, this no longer is a problem. Another problem I had was Evvy, who I had no problems with the audiobook, seemed a little more likable the first time around. While she is certainly not an unlikable heroine, I felt she came off a little bratty at times.

Still, there are certain things I loved on both my first and second readings. Tamora Pierce has a knack for creating a fantasy setting that goes beyond the medieval standards. Melting Stones, with its island setting, is different from most fantasy books, and the author uses descriptions of food and geography to highlight that for us. Another thing that I enjoy about Melting Stones, and her other Circle novels, is the fact that magic can be found in unique places. Sure, plant and water mages can be found in other books, but how often do you read books about people who find their magic in threadwork or cooking? With Evvy, we find magic in faultiness and minerals. Even the creation of a volcano comes off magical, making me wish I had paid more attention in my college geography class. The characters, especially Luvo, are really fun and memorable.

One interesting thing about Melting Stones is that, unlike many of Tammy’s recent books (such as Terrier, and The Will of the Empress) where the tone seems to be getting more mature, Melting Stones is very much a book intended for kids and younger young adults. It’s something a middle schooler would love, especially if they can’t find a way to connect to their geography class.

Rating: Four out of five stars
Similar Books: The Circle of Magic Series by Tamora Pierce
Other books I've read by this author: Not even gonna bother listing them all. Every frickin' book and comic :)

What I'm reading Next: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

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