content by

Jenny Moss

Ghosts Are Real. Monsters, Too.

I was rereading The Lord of the Rings under my desk for what was probably the fourth time that month when our teacher walked around with a jar filled with folded bits of paper. Each student put their hand into the jar and pulled out one of those bits of paper. Each bit of paper was blank until the jar got around to me. My note had a black spot in the center.

Our teacher told us to get up, to go outside. She pulled me aside, had the rest of the students stand in a line and wad up their notes into crumpled balls. I stood in front of my classmates, and they stoned me to death.

Back inside the classroom, my teacher handed us Xeroxed copies of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” I put The Lord of the Rings aside. I never did pick it up again.

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The Fantastical Realm of Emelan: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Battle Magic is the latest in Tamora Pierce’s series of Emelan novels, which include The Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens quartets, and takes place during the years between Street Magic and the previously published stand-alone novels The Will of the Empress and Melting Stones.

After the events of Street Magic, plant mage Briar Moss, his teacher Rosethorn, and his student Evvy continue their travels far from their home at the Winding Circle temple as they journey to the country of Gyongxi, where magic and gods make their home in the mountains. Though the God-King of Gyongxi is concerned that the Emperor of Youngjin plans to invade his country, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy accept an invitation to travel to the Emperor’s palace to view his famed gardens. While at the palace, they discover that the Emperor does not hesitate to destroy whatever lies in his path, and that he is intent on subjugating the God-King, his people, and even the gods of Gyongxi.

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