Friday, 19 September 2014

Fantasy Flashback Friday: Tamora Pierce

A look back at my pre blog fantasy author favourites!
One of my 2014 resolutions was to create more features and blog more about pre blog books. This feature will encompass both those goals!  I have been a huge fantasy fan ever since Enid Blyton convince me a chair could fly and grant wishes. I plan to feature a different author each post and give brief reviews of their books. First author is: Tamora Pierce!
I was sent to my school library to pick a book for reading tutor as I'd forgot mine and just picked Wild Magic off the shelf! I quickly sped through The Immortals series and the rest is history!
Tamora is a talented world builder. Her novels are either set in Tortall or Emelan these worlds are completely different to each other from magic and Gods to basic social structure and within these worlds all the different countries are unique with different backgrounds and cultures. The attention to detail is phenomenal. World building aside, her characters are always well written and unique , her female characters in particular are very confident and independent. Tamora isn't afraid to confront bigger issues within her books, they contain LGBT characters, domestic abuse storylines, bullying, contraception and safe sex. Above all Tamora keeps her books and characters true to the time period she has set them in making them easy to read.
Book Breakdown
There will be two Tamora Pierce posts, This first one is going to focus on Tortall books, I've included the decade each series was published in as the Tortall books have spanned three decades. I am keeping this spoiler free where I can, obviously Daughter of the Lioness will give away some spoilers for Song of the Lioness though!
Song of the Lioness: published in the 1980s.
Goodreads summary: the Song of the Lioness quartet is the adventurous story of one girl's journey to overcome the obstacles facing her, become a valiant knight, and save Tortall from conquest. Alanna douses her female identity to begin her training in Alanna: The First Adventure, and when she gains squire status in In the Hand of the Goddess, her growing abilities make her a few friends -- and many enemies. Books 3 and 4 complete Alanna's adventure and secure her legend, with the new knight errant taking on desert tribesmen in The Woman Who Rides like a Man and seeking out the powerful Dominion Jewel in Lioness Rampant. 
SoTL spans a long period of Alanna's life so you can see how she gets through knight training and then out in the 'real' world which
Favourite book: This is a hard one! I think The Woman Who Rides Like A Man because it features the Bloody Hawk tribe and they were so interesting!
Favourite characters: Jon, I loved Jon, he was strong and fair but fun. George, King of thieves, the 'bad' boy of the series. Faithful, witty and snarky, exactly how you would expect a cat to be. To be honest I loved all the characters but I had to narrow it down.
Favourite element: Alanna's love life involves more than one guy and not in a love triangle but a realistic progression as she grows up. Alanna's determination to do things she's not allowed to or that are deemed impossible.
The Immortals: published in the 1990s
 Goodreads summary: The story of Veralidaine Sarrasri (known as Daine), a parentless girl with an extraordinary talent. Daine finds a job that takes her and her pet Cloud from her home country of Galla to the kingdom of Tortall where she finds a new life and a new family, and learns that she has the magical ability known as "Wild Magic," which enables her to speak to animals, heal them, and take their shape as well as bend them to her will. She makes new friends with creatures, including the black-robe mage Numair Salmalin, a young dragon named Skysong (nicknamed Kitten), the lioness
Favourite book: Emperor Mage because it mostly takes place in Carthak!
Favourite characters: Numair, who doesn't love a talented attractive mage? Kaddar, I absolutely loved Kaddar. He reminded me of Jon and I loved how well he adapted to living under his Uncle's rule while retaining his own views. I really want to see more of him. Rikash, I loved his wit and his relationship with Daine.
Favourite element: Wild magic, I loved this concept and how it developed throughout the series.

The Protector of the Small: published in the early 2000s
Wikipedia summary: The story features Keladry of Mindelan, the first girl to follow in Alanna's footsteps—legally and without disguise, after a law is passed allowing girls to try for knighthood. As she begins her training, Kel is constantly harassed, injured, plagued by doubters and put on probation by her training master, who thinks a girl will never succeed. Kel discovers the hazing of young pages and fights the bullies to put a stop to it. Kel makes memorable friends throughout the series, including the wry Nealan of Queenscove, and also Lord Raoul of Goldenlake, an old friend of Alanna's. She meets some key enemies, including Joren of Stone Mountain, her fellow page. The series follows Kel's training and the first year of her knighthood, a timespan of nine years.
Favourite book: Squire, I loved Kel's Knight master and all the developments as it spanned a long period.
Favourite characters:
Favourite element: Kel doesn't have any magical abilities or influential friends to start with, she's just an ordinary girl who wants to be a knight. I love that Tamora didn't make her 'the next Alanna'.

Daughter of the Lioness/Trickster's: Published early 2000s.
Wikipedia summary: The story of Alianne (Aly) of Pirate's Swoop, the 16-year-old daughter of the legendary Alanna the Lioness. Disallowed work as a Tortallan spy by her parents, Aly leaves home only to be captured by pirates and sold into slavery in the Copper Isles. Under the guidance of Kyprioth, the god of tricksters, Aly involves herself with a conspiracy of the native raka people against their luarin conquerors, in accordance with a prophecy made by Kyprioth himself through one of his priestesses, centuries earlier.
Favourite book: I'll be honest I never really clicked with this duet, I was so excited for it I badgered my technology inept Mum to make an amazon account so I could buy it but I just couldn't get into it!
Favourite characters: Nawat! I loved his backstory and his personality.
Favourite element: The Copper Isles it was great to explore a different country.
Beka Cooper/Provost's Dog: published late 2000s.
Wikipedia summary:The series is a prequel  two hundred years earlier. It details the adventures of Beka Cooper, a sixteen-year-old recruit of the Lord Provost, originally from a
lower city family and now in service to the Provost's Guard. This series is told from a diary-style first person perspective. Beka's entries detail how hard she works to try to make her home, the Lower City of Corus, safer. Beka's roots in the Lower City give her both a keen insight and a sense of empathy for the people she is there to protect.
Favourite book: Terrier, I loved the mystery, the setting up of this medieval Tortall and the characters.
Favourite characters: Definitely Rosto! He reminded me of George

Final Thoughts
What I love most about Tamora Pierce is that despite the decades separating her series her characters remain relevant and that all their stories despite the different lifestyles/cultures are inspiring to readers. I love that the protagonists are all unique with different motives. I also love how well crafted and layered the Tortall.

Are you a Tamora Pierce fan? What's your favourite Tortall book?
Much Love!

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