There is something about returning to YA authors you read when you were actually a young adult – I do get a lovely nostalgic feeling when I read their work, even if it’s a series that came about after I left that demographic.
Battle Magic tells the story of what is basically the invasion of Tibet by China, but with China being at the height of its old imperial power, and Tibet being protected by some seriously bad ass gods and demigods, as well as the mages that serve them.
Of the Circle mages, this is Briar’s story, along with his teacher, Rosethorn, although ultimately, it’s his student Evvy’s story. The action begins in Gyongxe (the Tibet stand in), where the three are visiting the chief temple of Rosethorn’s religion, and have met the young God-King. They very much enjoy their time there, but it’s time to move on, and the emperor of Yanjing has invited them to see his Winter Palace, knowing that Rosethorn and Briar are renowned plant mages.
Once in Yanjing, it’s clear the emperor has vast armies at his disposal, and that he wants Gyongxe. Rosethorn, Briar and Evvy must make a perilous journey back there, to save their friends. This is a good story – the battles are appropriately terrible, but our friends finally save the day, as should happen in such a book.