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The Books of Fantasy Fiction Author, Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce (first name pronounced like "camera") was born in South Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania on December 13, 1954. When she was in the 6th grade, her father overheard her telling herself stories as she washed the dishes. He was the one who suggested that she wrote her stories down.
How I "Found" Tamora Pierce
After finishing the Harry Potter series and refusing to read the Twilight Series (because I loathe vampires) I was without another fantasy/sci-fi series to read. When I visited My youngest Aunty in Connecticut, she took me to Barnes and Noble (or was it Borders book store?) and took me on a tour through the Young Adult/Teen section.
My Aunty introduced me to books by Mercedes Lackey and other such authors but she went on and on about an author named Tamora Pierce. My Aunty had read through all the existing Tamora Pierce books and she was highly recommending this author.
Trusting my Aunty's opinion and literary taste, when I returned to New Jersey, I went to Borders Book Store and purchased the first book of Pierce's first quartet.
About "The Song of the Lioness"
This Quartet features Alanna of Trebond, a young girl whose dream is to become a knight of Tortall. The only problem is, she lives in a time where females are forbidden to become warriors. In order to achieve her dream, she disguises herself as 'Alan' and switches places with her twin brother Thom, who wants to become a mage (a sorcerer).
The Quartet takes us through Alanna's journey to knighthood and her struggle to conceal her true identity.
So far, this quartet remains my favourite of Pierce's series. If I had time, I would definitely re-read the series.
Surprisingly, I found some spelling errors in a couple of these books but they didn't take away from the essence of the story. It really has a great plot.
Excerpt from Chapter one of Alanna: The First Adventure
The boy hit the wall. "I don't want to be a knight! I want to be a great sorcerer! I want to slay demons and walk with the gods --"
"D'you think I want to be a lady?" his sister asked. "'Walk slowly, Alanna,'" she said primly. "'Sit still, Alanna. Shoulders back, Alanna.' As if that's all I can do with myself!" She paced the floor. "There has to be another way."
About "The Immortals" Quartet
This Quartet features Daine, an orphan girl in search of a job in Tortall. Diane discovers that she had an interesting power that leads her to many frightening experiences and encounters with strange creatures.
Her rare magical power allows her to communicate with animals. Because of this she has several run-ins with animal gods and other immortals (such as griffins and dragons).
Personally, this quartet was not my favourite. If I had to choose between the Song of the Lioness quartet and The Immortals, I would definitely choose The Song of The Lioness. I found the first quartet to be more intriguing.
If animal magic appeals to you more than sorcery and knighthood, then this is the quartet for you. But guess what? Alanna, from the first quartet, returns for a few moments of this book (which I'm very pleased with).
An Excerpt from "Wild Magic" (the first book in The Immortals Quartet)
It was the first time on that trip that no animal crawled in with Daine overnight. She slept badly, flipping back and forth, never quite waking or sleeping. Her dreams were thin and worrisome. She remembered only one:
The badger was in his lair, neatening up. "There you are. I'm glad to see the claw works so well."
"Excuse me, sir--" she began.
"No questions. Kits must listen, not ask. Pay attention." He squinted at her to make sure she was listening. "If you look hard and long, you can find us. If you listen hard and long, you can hear any of us, call any of us, that you want." Rolling onto his back, he added, "The madness was to teach you something. You should mind the lesson."
"The Protector of the Small" Quartet
About "The Protector of the Small" Quartet
This quartet features Kelandry of Mindelan, a girl who wants to follow in the footsteps of... guess who? Alanna. Yes, Alanna's in yet another Tamora Pierce adventure. This time she's all grown up and Kelandry (Kel)'s hero.
However, unlike Alanna, Kel does not have to conceal her gender, since girls are now allowed to become knights. The problem is, as a girl, Kel has to fight harder than all the rest to achieve her knight shield in a world of male knights.
Choosing between Alanna and Kel is a hard task for me. Both quartets I would read again. I definitely enjoyed The Protector of the Small quartet as much as The Song of the Lioness quartet. Alanna and Kel are very similar but their stories are very different, making this third quartet a new and fun series to read!
I could not choose a small excerpt from Pierce's website so here's the complete excerpt from "First Test".
About The Trickster's Duo
These two books feature Alianne (Aly), the 16-year-old daughter of Alanna (yes, Alanna again). Aly's goal in life is to become a spy like her father but both her parents want her to pursue knighthood like her mother.
Alanna accuses Aly of being irresponsible and tells her she needs to do something with her life. To prove that she very well knows what she wants out of life, Aly decides to run off but falls right into the company of a pirate fleet who enslaves her and sells her to a noble family in Copper Isles.
There Aly faces a fate that decides her future career for her. There in the Copper Isles, Aly's adventure begins when Kyprioth, the trickster god, gives her a mission to fulfill. The family which Aly is slave to were once exiled. However, the prophecy states that the eldest daughter of the family is to take the throne. If Aly is able to keep her master's children alive through the summer season, then the trickster god will return her to her home and convince her father to allow her to be a spy.
I found the first book of the duo (Trickster's Choice) to be quite interesting but the sequel (Trickster's Queen) disappointed me. I guess it just didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. But I can't always have my way, can I?
An Excerpt from chapter 2 of Trickster's Choice
Dressed in a light cotton tunic and leggings in the Balitang house colors of red trimmed with blue, Aly the slave sat on a bench in the front foyer of the Balitang family's rambling town house. She was there to answer the door in case anyone came during the night. In a chest across the entryway was the pallet and blanket she would lay out for herself later. At the moment she was wide awake and planning.
Her hands were as busy as her mind. Deftly she used pliers and wire filched from the house blacksmith to shape a lock pick. It was part of a new set to replace those that had been taken by her pirate captors. She would be whipped if she were caught with pliers or lockpicks, but she didn't intend to be caught. They were the next element in her plan to return home. With them she could open the smith's locked cupboards where he kept the special saw that would cut the metal ring off of a slave's neck. The saw would break both the ring and its magic, a spell that would choke her if she attempted to leave the city.
About "The Circle of Magic Quartet"
This quartet features 4 children from completely different backgrounds but similar circumstances. All the children were ostracized in some manner because of their strange powers. Unlike the other books by Tamora Pierce, this book does not occur in Tortall or other related lands.
This quartet occurs in a separate universe. In my opinion, these books are one of a kind. The powers which these children possess is truly unique.
Each book in the quartet is dedicated to one of the characters. The first book (Sandry's book) documents Sandry's weaving magic. The second book (Tris' Book) documents Tris' weather magic. The third book (Daja's Book) documents Daja's blacksmith magic and the last book (Briar's Book) document's Briar's plant magic.
I just completed this series and I'm ready to move on to the related quartet "The Circle Opens".
About "The Circle Opens Quartet"
"This quartet picks up the lives of Sandry, Briar, Daja and Tris four years after the events of The Circle of Magic quartet. The four are out on their own for the first time" (www.tamora-pierce.com).
I have not read this series but I will be reading it next since it follows the quartet I just completed.
More Books by Tamora Pierce
The Will of the Empress is a standalone fantasy novel and a continuation of the story of the quartets Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens (Wikipedia)
Melting Stones takes place after the events of Street Magic, and before the 2005 novel The Will of the Empress, and follows characters Evumeimei Dingzai (nicknamed Evvy) and Rosethorn, former travel companions of Briar Moss, in their journey to the Battle Islands to investigate the death of the local plantlife and an impending volcano eruption (Wikipedia)
The Beka Cooper series is Tamora Pierce's latest project and though I have not read any of those books yet, I have heard from friends of mine that it's a good read.
Book 1: Terrier
Book 2: Bloodhound
Book 3: Mastiff (will be released in 2010)
Why I Like Tamora Pierce
Ever since I was little, the hero of my stories have been a strong female character. I'm a girl-power sort of girl so I love Tamora Pierce's stories. I love it when writers and film makers exalt a bold female character. It shows the world that we females are as good as the men! Oh yeah! Girl power! :)
However, while Tamora Pierce's books will mostly appeal to teen girls and young adult females, I think women of all ages could enjoy the series. Some are more mature than the others (it depends on which series you read). Also, as Pierce's characters grow, the content and maturity of the book tends to grow with them.
There may be a Pierce book series out there for everyone, men included. You just have to find the right set for you.
I hope I've sparked some of my readers' interest in reading at least on of this talented author's books.