After reading the second installment in The Circle of Magic books, I see that they aren’t chronological. The simply follow the four heroes introduced in the first quartet as they go on new adventures. They all seem to take place roughly four years after the events in The Circle of Magic books.
Street Magic follows Briar, the plant-mage. He and his teacher have gone to a distant land to help the farmers with their crops. While they are there, Briar discovers a young stone mage. He also gets wrapped up in a gang war. Since Briar himself was once part of a gang, it causes him to reflect on who he was and who he is now, something that we also saw him struggling with back in the first quartet.
Tamora Pierce always gives her characters very intriguing back stories. Evvy, the stone mage Briar encounters, has her own sad history. I liked that she defied Briar’s expectations. She may be a street rat like he was but she never joined a gang like he did. It helps him to dismiss the sort of romanticized idea he had of gangs. Being responsible for Evvy also forces Briar to grow as a person. He was so defiant about teaching her at first but as the book progresses we see he is actually rather good at it.
I rather like Briar. He is a bit rough and stuck in what today would be a somewhat sexist mind set. But being surrounded by strong women has proven good for him as a character. He continues to tease his foster sisters, but he also knows what they are capable of, and he works hard to make sure Evvy will reach her full potential as well.