Tamora Pierce, Author
Books 20 in A to Z Challenge
Instead of doing a regular book review. This time me and my sister are teaming up to talk about an author who influenced our reading as teens. As siblings we may have fought often and didn't have much in common, but when it came to books like those written by Tamora Pierce, we both had to read more. So, today we both reflect on this amazing author and her books we shared growing up.
The first Tamora Pierce book I ever read was Alanna’s First Adventure. I was in the 1st or 2nd grade and it started a life long love of both young adult fantasy and a following of an author one could only call: mentorial. The progression of each Tamora Pierce book I read can outline the way information was provided to me and the discovery and growth of technology in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
For the Lioness Quartet, in which a young girl pretends to be her twin brother in order to train to be a Knight, I discovered each one in the aisle of my revered local elementary school’s library. I would read them during the after school program and it took me a long time because I was just learning to read. These were the first chapter books I ever read.
Then I graduated to the Immortals series (those brought a young woman who could speak to and take the shapes of animals) and book fairs. I would go every year in my schools library looking to see if there was a new Tamora Pierce book I had not read for me to purchase. It was so exciting. I never knew if I was going to go home with the prized possession of a new book.
By the time I started about Keladry and her fight for those smaller than her and her quest for Knighthood I was learning the power of Google. I discovered Tamora Pierces homepage where she listed future books (which I followed like it was a sacred prophecy) and it was a miracle. I could look up when a new book was coming out and just go to Barnes and Noble to get it. After that I never missed a release date. Every Adventure of Tris, Sandry, Briar and Daja and they learned to control their ambient magic and train their students. I followed Bekka in the slums of the Lower City as she became a Provost’s Dog. But the one thing I miss the most is that excitement of going to the book fair… hoping that there would be that one new book. It’s a feeling of such innocent excitement that could never be replicated and in someway always knowing absolutely everything about the things you love can take away the joy. And in some way it can increase it. You can count down the days to the next book. You can dress up as your favorite character and show up the midnight of the release date. All that matter’s in the end is the sound of the spine of the book cracking when you turn that first page… or, if you are using an ereader, the button click I suppose.
I don't quite remember exactly when I found my first book by Tamora Pierce, though like my sister I started with Alanna. Girl with purple eyes, cat familiar and who wanted to become a knight to the point she pretended to be a boy? It had me hooked from the start. I want to say it was jr high, but I can't quite remember for sure but it was around that time or maybe 6th grade where I started reading female main character fantasy stories (including Juniper Game, Juniper and Wise Child though I thought Juniper came before Wise Child but that's a different rant).
Along with adoring Alanna (the first two books in particular out of that series), I also discovered the Immortals series. I've always been a fan of characters who have a connection to animals, whether magic or not, so this character grabbed my attention. I loved the concepts presented in the book and still today remember certain parts of the story, even a little of the romance. Though compared to shape-shifting, which meant not having clothes when returning to human form, I'm pretty sure I never had to endure anything quite as embarrassing even though growing up I never understood the courtship and relationships that many of my peers focused on. The wild magic presented in this series was interesting to me as well, along with the different character dynamics. Plus, the small place being able to fight thanks to the help of animals was just plain cool to me. I even considered taking parts of the story for policy debate to use in a negative file on anthropomorphism, but didn't get the chance.
However, unlike my sister, those are the only two series I have read, so far. I have a lot of catching up to do as during my teen years I got distracted by school, John Grisham, Dragonlance and the start of The Wheel of Time series. But what my sister didn't mention was something else we both experienced in relation to this topic. Thanks to her searching, she found a neat little conference held in Colorado (as not many conferences were in our state of Wyoming) that was geared towards women in fantasy, called Sirens. We both went and had the honor of meeting Tamora Pierce. I'm not a squeal type fangirl but I did a little inward, along with yay for first writing conference since I know write novels as well. Having Alanna's first book signed by the author was a great moment and seeing my sister get to meet someone she looked up to, well that made it even better.
How we found the books, where we finished or kept going, all that may vary. But these two sisters, and co-bloggers, both can agree on at least one thing. Tamora Pierce books are awesome, definite must reads for YA fantasy lovers and beyond.