Battle Magic



Slow start to enchanting, magical battle adventure.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Rich with folklore and legends, Battle Magic introduces children to the ugliness of war as well as to Eastern medicine and rituals.

Positive messages

Revenge does not provide catharsis; healing comes from forgiveness.  

Positive role models

The three mages in Battle Magic are loyal, brave, and honest young adults who provide comfort for those in need. They're also willing to risk their lives to protect their country and morale.


Arrows and bombs are used as weapons during war. A young girl becomes a prisoner of war and is tortured for information. Soldiers rip her clothes off, hang her upside down, and beat her bare feet. It's also mentioned that a group of men are burned to death. There are multiple visions of the aftermath of war; incalculable bodies lie dead on the ground, and skeletal remains float down rivers.


It's mentioned that an adult woman engages in sexual encounters with men, and it's implied that she has intercourse with a soldier.


The most offensive name-calling in this tale is "snot-sucker."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One soldier is forced to take opium to ease his painful wounds.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Battle Magic is the fantastical story of two ancient civilizations at war with each other. There are battle scenes in which people are beheaded and stabbed, and weapons (bombs, arrows) are used. Also, a young girl becomes a prisoner of war and is tortured for information. The most distressing part of her experience is the shame she feels when her attackers strip her of her clothes.

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What's the story?

BATTLE MAGIC is about three mages -- Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy -- who set out on an adventure to meet Weishu, the royal emperor of the realm of Yanjing. While they are guests in his temple, the mages realize that Weishu is a greedy and brutal tyrant who seeks to rule all the surrounding temples and their people. After witnessing the emperor brutally burn the gardeners of his estate to death because a rose bush in his garden contains a fungus, the three know that the neighboring and peaceful realm of Gyongxe is in grave danger. Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy leave the temple to warn their dear friend the God-King of the impending danger to his realm and journey to save the \"Four Treasures of the Living Circle.\"

Is it any good?


Battle Magic includes enchanting and magical characters such as eight-foot spiders with healing webs, hearts of mountains, and stone paintings with lions, tigers, and snakes that come to life. The dreamlike and fun adventure will leave readers thinking about the repercussions of war and the art of folklore, if they can stay engaged through the drawn-out and plentiful pages.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fantasy books. Why are books with magical foes and imagined creatures so popular? Which character in Battle Magic is your favorite, and why?

  • Are there any real countries that remind you of the realms of Gyongxe and Yanjing?

  • Why do people go to war? Do you think it's OK ever to seek revenge?

Book details

Author:Tamora Pierce
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Press
Publication date:September 24, 2013
Number of pages:464
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Nook, Hardback, Kindle

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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