by Catherine Asaro

February 2004
ISBN: 0-373-80203-X
Reviewer Graphic Button LUNA Books
Trade Paperback

Return to the magical world of Aronsdale. Our last trip there had been a short one as the country was in upheaval because the lost prince had been found. In The Charmed Sphere, we see these events through the eyes of Chime Headwind.

Chime longs to remain with her family. She knows she has magic, but she canít seem to make it work. So she has always denied it. Until the day the old king arrives and brings with him, the head shape-mage of Aronsdale. Della knows the magic is strong in Chime. She immediately claims the girl as a student. Chime heads off to the capital. She is to learn how to control the spheres that focus her magic. Along the way, she meets Muller, the heir to the throne.

Muller is a reluctant heir. He has no magic or so everyone thinks. He knows that he would never make a great king. Muller longs to hide. He finds a confidant in Chime, the girl who is to be his future queen.

Then in one surprising moment, Chime and Muller are replaced. Iris, Chimeís fellow mage student, discovers her true talent and becomes the most powerful mage in the kingdom. Prince Jarid has returned, damaged but alive. Both Muller and Chime have to rethink their place in the world. Their imperfections are glaringly obvious in a place where perfect spheres are sources of power.

As both couples learn to trust and love, the kingdom is threatened. Chime and Muller discover that even flawed people can help save the world.

It is wonderful to be able to visit this delightfully magical world again. To not only meet and learn more about Jarid and Iris, the main characters from Catherine Asaroís short story Moonglow, but to delve into the minds and hearts of Chime and Muller. They had played a secondary role in the short story. In this one, they shine brightly. They are both honestly superficial, seeming to care only about clothes and appearances. But that shallowness serves to cover up for the emotions and feelings of inadequacies they both have. Through the course of the adventure, they mature enough to accept their faults and embrace them.

The Charmed Sphere teaches us the best lesson in life: to love ourselves and each other, no matter our imperfections.

Reviewed in May 2004 by Jenni.

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