Fandom Friday-Tamora Pierce and Tortall

The Fandom Friday is a weekly feature, try with each blog post written by a new contributor.

This is the weekly post where either myself, information pills or a guest blogger, talks about a new fandom. See, I’ve had the experience in my life where I’ve been made fun or put down about my particular fandoms. And that has made me feel pretty crappy. But I’ve also put down other fandoms as well.

So I’ve decided to change that. I’m opening my world up to new fandoms, and the best way to do that is to bring people in to write about various fandoms. I’m very excited about this segment.

If you guys are interested in becoming a guest blogger for the Fandom Friday, feel free to email me at whatanerdgirlsays at gmail.com or contact me HERE

Today’s blogger is…me!

Yeah, no one has volunteered to write a Fandom Friday :( So I’m writing another one.

So if you want to write one, definitely let me know, it’ll be GREAT.

But today I’m going to focus on a fandom that I am insanely passionate about and that has been around for decades and yet, people just don’t seem to know about it.

The Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce

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The Tortall books are all fantasy, young adult novels told in the same realm, the country of Tortall. They are written by an amazing woman by the name of Tamora Pierce, who has been writing books set in this realm since 1983. They are pure fantasy, set in a realm full of magic, knights in shining armor, magical creatures like centaurs and griffins and dragons, and are exciting, addicting and hilarious all at the same time.

There are fives series in the Tortall realm. They are: The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, The Protector of the Small, The Tricksters and The Legend of Beka Cooper series. 

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The first series is The Song of the Lioness, the first book published in 1983: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man and Lioness RampantThis follows the story of Alanna of Trebond who is about to go to the convent to learn how to be a proper lady, while her twin brother Alan goes to the palace to learn how to be a knight. However, neither one of them wants this: Alanna is the warrior, and Alan wishes to be a great sorcerer. So they switch places, and Alanna disguises her gender in order to become a knight. The four books follow her adventures as she struggles to hide her identity and to pass all the tasks required to become a knight, and to protect her kingdom.

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The Immortals, first published in 1992, are as followed: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods. This series follows Veralidaine Sarrasri, also just known as Daine. Daine comes to a fair in Galla, to escape her home and the devastation that was left behind: her mother, her grandmother and all her animal friends were killed by bandits. But Daine has a secret, and she thinks that it makes her mad: she has a knack when it comes to animals. She takes good care of them, they seek her out, and sometimes, she even feels like she is one. It scares her and she keeps this a secret until she meets Numair, a powerful mage, who tells her that she has Wild Magic, and she has the abilities to heal, to shape-shift and to become one of the most powerful Wildmages ever. As she’s learning this, the country of Tortall is suddenly purged with immortal beings like centaurs, griffins, spidrens and more, and not all of them are friendly. Daine is determined to use her powers to help save the country that has taken her in.

Protector of the Small

The third series in the Tortall realm is The Protector of the Small, the first book published in 1999, and are as followed: First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight. This follows the story of Keladry of Mindelan, or just Kel, as she becomes the first girl in over a hundred years to step forward to try for her knighthood, that doesn’t have to hide her gender, like Alanna did. When she gets though, she learns its a lot harder than she had first imagined, especially since most of the boys in her page class are making it very difficult for her to complete and pass all her tasks. Even the training master is making her life difficult, giving her a probation year, something no other page ever has to complete, making her try for knighthood harder than anyone else’s. Then there’s some brewing at the border of the nearby country of Scanra, and a war seems to be coming, and Kel is determined to be ready for it.

Daughter of the Lioness

The Trickster books, first published in 2003, are Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen. They follow the story of Alianne, or Aly, who is the daughter of the great knight, Alanna. She is sixteen, surrounded by so many successful people, like her mother, her father, the king and queen, her aunt Daine the Wildmage, her uncle Numair, the greatest sorcerer, her brother Thom who is studying to be a mage and her twin, Alan, is going for his knighthood. But Aly wants to be a spy, and her parents do NOT approve of that for a noble born girl. After a fight with her mother, she takes her ship out to sea to avoid her and gets kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles. When she gets there, she stumbles upon an underground rebellion, of the dark skinned raka trying to take their country back from the white skinned luarin. When a god by the name of Kyprioth asks her to keep a pair of half raka, half luarin girls safe, she is thrown in the middle of the rebellion, using her skills to help pull it all together.

Beka Cooper

The last series is the The Legend of Beka Cooper series, which is actually a prequel, and these were written first in 2006, and are Terrier, Bloodhound and MastiffThese follow the story of, you guessed it, Beka, who is an ancestor of George Cooper, who is an important character in the Song of the Lioness series. Beka has joined the police force called the Provost Dogs, and when she first joins, well, she doesn’t really do that well. But she is assigned to the best pair of Dogs there is: Clary and Mattes, and they teach her to become a great Dog. Each novel has a varying story, and Beka has to track down counterfeiters, she has to chase down prince kidnappers and so on. Its told all in journal format, so you get all of Beka’s point of view on her struggles to become a Dog, and to keep her position, and to use her skills to catch criminals, back when women were allowed to do that.

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I first discovered these books when I was 16, when I picked up Trickster’s Choice because it mentioned pirates on the inside cover. I had a seriously ridiculous obsession with pirates back then, and so I decided to read the book. When I discovered that basically all it was that Aly was kidnapped by pirates and they were only mentioned for about two pages, I was confused but I kept reading and I ended up absolutely LOVING the book, and dying for the sequel.

Because of this book, I met my pen pal, Chloe, who I have now been writing to for nine years. She is one of my absolute best friends and I can’t imagine not having this writing relationship with her. However, she informed me that I get a little ahead of myself and that there were THREE series before Trickster’s Choice. So I had to catch up, and I eventually did, though I knew a lot of spoilers because I had gone out of order.

However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying each and every book that I had read. Tamora Pierce is a goddess, and she is an amazing writer who creates these amazing stories with strong, relatable female heroines, way before this golden age of young adult literature even occurred. Tammy was writing about strong female characters back in the 1980s before Hermione Granger or Katniss Everdeen or Clary Fray even existed in the minds of the authors who wrote them.

First off, the characters are all amazing: Alanna, Daine, Kel, Aly and Beka. They are all wicked badass characters. They are knights, and mages, and spies and warriors and detectives. They can wield weapons and track animals, and heal and do magic. They can fight battles, and win duels and take down enemies, through fights or through stealth. They are all wickedly funny, and relatable. You see them struggle with the same sort of problems that any girl from the age of ten to the age of 18 struggles with: first crushes, your first period, getting boobs, losing your virginity, the struggle of your identity, your self esteem and your confidence in how you look. They get to do all these super awesome things but they are just as real as you and me.

And the world of Tortall is so awesome. Its so knights and shining armor like the King Arthur stories but SO much better, because its all so relatable. This is a country that I want to live in, especially because as time goes on, the kingdom becomes more…liberal, if you will. This is a kingdom that cares about the people that live there, and wants to take care of them, and wants them to be healthy and safe and educated. They allow women to enter into the knighthood or the King’s Guard or the Queen’s Riders. They educate all their poor classes. And it just sounds like an awesome place to live. Huge palace, tiny little towns, castles on the edge of the sea, forests, beaches, everything. It sounds WONDERFUL.

So I’ve literally talked your face off now, but these are some of my absolute favorite books ever. Tamora Pierce is my top favorite author, tied with JK Rowling. She is absolutely brilliant and she’s a writer that has been around for decades, and will continue to impress me with every book that she writes. I have never met her, but I hope one day TO meet her, because I’d probably cry with happiness because she’s just so amazing. I recommend these books to everyone, but especially young girls because these characters are great role models and I just think that these books are over looked all the time. I think more readers should be reading these books, instead of others that will remain nameless.

So please, please check these out! You will not be disappointed.

And stay tuned in for more Fandom Fridays!

And check out last week’s on The Lux Series!

Tuesday Top Ten-Fictional Places to Live

Hello everyone! How’s it going? I hope you are all fantastic and happy and all that.

I’m pretty happy. Things have been…just really good lately. I’ve been really working my butt off to do things that I want to do. I am almost done with this semester of school and I feel that I did well in both of my classes. I am working on this blog harder than ever, store working on getting it out there, ed getting my hands on ARCs and getting interviews with authors, doctor and making it as awesome as possible for you guys that read it. I’m also working hard on my third novel, the novel that I really want to be good and successful, because I want to look for an agent this summer and maybe get my book sold :)

Its also going to be my blog’s one year birthday on Thursday, which is SO exciting and I can’t wait to share the super AWESOME giveaway that will be coming your way in celebration of it all.

I also have a really cool interview with Unremembered author, Jessica Brody, coming VERY soon :)

So things are doing good.

But now on to the purpose of this blog post: The Tuesday Top Ten!

One thing that is really great about books is the worlds that they create. Authors have a way of creating worlds that are so real and so believable and you can’t help but just want to be a part of them. You wish these worlds were real because in your mind, they are real. You can pick up a book and escape into these fantastic worlds and these fantastic places and its just awesome.

So here are some of the fictional places that I wish were real!

10. Westeros-Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

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Okay, I realize that so far, Westeros isn’t exactly the most fun place to live. You have all these people dying and political strife and this crazy weather thing where you have years of summer and years of winter. But I love the world the George R.R. Martin creates in his Song of Ice and Fire series. Because we get such a realistic world but with such fantastical things as well. We have political strife, and castles, and holdings and a kingdom and knights and all those sort of things but we also hive these gigantic wolves and the white walkers and dragons and its just a world that is so dark and sexy and desirable, despite all the bad shit that is going down in these books. Its that knights and castles and kings and queens world that you loved when you were a kid but better because it recognizes the adult world, and that there was famine and diseases and whore houses. I don’t know, I like it a lot because of both the fantasy and realistic nature of it. I’d be super down to live there…except the whole winter thing. I’m not a big fan of winter.

9. The Shire-The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings

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If anyone makes a comment on my height, I’ll punch them in the face. Especially since I wouldn’t doubt that most hobbits are actually taller than me. How tall are hobbits anyway? I’d probably fit in so well there. I think I want to live in the Shire of all places in Middle Earth because it has such a homey feel to it. I love Rivendell, and how absolutely gorgeous it is but its very…intimidating, I think is the word I’m looking for. Its too much for me to handle. But there’s something comfortable and homey and familiar about the Shire. And the houses are so cute. I would love to live in a little hobbit hole. In the Shire, its all about food and happiness and reading and relaxing and who wouldn’t be into that, especially since I do love reading and I do love food :) It just seems like a very pretty and pleasant place to live. And who knows, maybe I could become best friends with Bilbo or Frodo and go on epic adventures…though I think I’d rather go on adventures with Bilbo and not Frodo. Bilbo had the less scary adventure. And I really want to have a pet rabbit named Bilbo Bunny…okay, I’m getting off topic…

8. Narnia-The Chronicles of Narnia

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I really like Narnia because even when things are going down, its still a pretty and gorgeous world with talking mice and centaurs and beavers and badgers and all that. I’ve already kind of made it clear that I’m not the biggest fan of the books; I understand it was the times but C.S. Lewis had some serious issues with girl characters, especially Susan. And its a little too religious for my tastes. But I do really enjoy the movies and I think they picked some gorgeous locations to shoot the movie. I remember when I watched The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time and the Pevensie children leave Narnia when they’re older and I’m like “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!?!” I was so mad. I think Narnia is appealing because its such a magical world. It gives me the same kind of feeling that Disneyland does, that feeling of magic and imagination and that feeling of being a kid again and feeling like anything is possible, like children leaders or talking animals and centaurs and good overcoming evil and that sort of thing. Its nice to disappear into such a wholesome and wonderful world for a little bit.

7. Camp Half-Blood-Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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I want to go to Camp Half-Blood so badly! I want to be a demigoddess so badly! I’ve always been fairly obsessed with Greek myths; there’s just something so fascinating about them. I wish I had been born in those times, those were the kind of gods and goddesses that I could really get behind. But I really enjoy the stories especially when you learn how they are the root of some of the words we use or the myths and superstitions that we know now and things like that. They’re really fun stories, especially since these gods and goddesses…they aren’t these perfect beings, they make mistakes too. But anyway, I’d be pretty stoked to have a god/goddess as a parent and have these super cool powers and go on adventures and live in this super cool camp with all these other children who have god parents too. I mean, sit around at home, watching TV and basically do nothing on summer vacation or go to this cool camp where you learn to fight and harness your powers and play a badass version of Capture the Flag and all that? I think you know which one I would pick. I would really like to be Artemis‘s daughter too. I know, not possible, since she swore to be a maiden, and to abstain from men and she would never have a child but…Artemis is such a badass. I remember wanting to name a pet “Artemis” once and my mom was just like “Seriously?” Yes, seriously. Greek myths are awesome and Camp Half-Blood would be a super cool place to live.

6. Enchanted Forest-Once Upon a Time

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I LOVE fairy tales and I would love to live in the Enchanted Forest, where all the fairy tale characters come together and basically live in one spot, especially since Once Upon a Time makes all the girl characters super awesome and kickass. I mean, Snow White? I love her and all but in the Disney movie, she’s SO annoying and she’s SO incredibly dumb in the original story. Ginnifer Goodwin‘s Snow White is super awesome and battle ready and just as strong as the Prince Charming she comes to love. Belle is whip smart, and ready to do what she needs to do to help her father and her kingdom. Red Riding Hood is a werewolf, who learns how to harness her transformation and use it as a tool of survival and battle. Ella (Cinderella) is a whole lot stronger in the show, and is ready to do anything to preserve her family. All of the characters are so different in this show than any other adaptation we see of them. And I’d love to live in this place where magic and fairy tales are real but in a way that I can enjoy them and in a way where I can learn from these seriously amazing and strong female characters. Even though Regina, the Evil Queen, is an evil character, you can still even empathize with her and you can still see her as a strong character. Again, its one of those magical worlds that you’d love to live in.

5. The Queendom of the Fells-Seven Realms Series
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I think a big reason why I would love to live in Cinda William Chima‘s Queendom of Fells is because…well its called the Queendom! The lineage passes through the women of the royal family, not the men, which I find to be VERY interesting and something that we don’t see often. I love that the reason behind is because they worship the first woman of the line, Hanalea, who was their savior. Throughout the year, they hold steadfast confidence in Hanalea and her line of successors and even when things start to get rocky, there are still so many people who are by Raisa‘s side and helping her and supporting her, even though she is only a sixteen year old royal. I also like the diversity that Cinda creates in her kingdoms especially between the people of the capital and then the wizards and the clans. We don’t get this straight across the board sort of country but a country that is full of diverse people. She creates kind of your typical white kingdom with royals and nobles and balls and that sort of thing but she throws the clans in there, and I love the clans because they have such different feels to them. I feel like they have some Native American to them, maybe some African, even some of the Asian cultures as well. I’d be really interested in exploring the very corners of this realm.

4. Tortall-Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, Protector of the Small, Trickster series, Beka Cooper series

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I would absolutely positively die to live in the Tortall realm. Tamora Pierce has written five series that take place in the realm of Tortall (although, admittedly, one mostly takes place in the Copper Isles but the main character is FROM Tortall), and she has created five extremely strong female main protagonists. You have Alanna who disguises herself as a boy for eight years in order to earn her shield and become a knight, the first female knight in a hundred years. You have Daine who has an incredible magical ability to communicate with animals, heal them and to shape shift into any animal of her choice and who is incredibly brave and intelligent and uses it to defend the country she loves. You have Keladry who is the first female to openly try out for her shield to become her knight and to earn her place rightfully. You have Aly, who earns her place as a rebellion spymaster to restore a country’s rightful owners back in place and overthrown the tyrant rulers. Then you have the prequel stories of Beka, who is a soldier of the Provost Dogs, who is fantastically intelligent and brave and able to solve crimes and bring the bad guys down in a time, long before Alanna and Daine, and the rest were even alive. Add in magic, fair and just king and queens, knights and dragons and griffins, fancy dresses, adventures, horses and all sorts of awesome stuff and who on earth wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?

3. Idris-The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices

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Idris. Alicante. The City of Glass. The home country for Shadowhunters, their Jerusalem. A small country nestled in Europe, unnoticed by all us mundanes, its a place of beauty and of a world that holds on to the past in looks, while the bustling world goes on around them. In a world where we have square, boring builds, traffic and smog, there’s Idris, a small beautiful country where the Shadowhunters can be themselves and hold a little bit of Mother Earth’s beauty to themselves. And there’s something so appealing and magical about a place that is called the City of Glass. It is very old school. It reminds me of an old French town or Venice, Italy. I imagine canals and little houses and shops and this beautiful private community of extraordinary people. I want to be a Shadowhunter only less than I want to be a wizard or a Jedi and I think the fact that they have this small hidden away country is so awesome. I would love to grow up there, have a country home where I could have a horse to get around and I could learn what it took to be a Shadowhunter and go to dances in Alicante and feel safe and at home. It just seems like a wonderful place to live.

2. The Universe-Star Wars/Doctor Who/Star Trek/Etc. 

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I know, Sara, way to narrow it down there. I mean the universe, the galaxy, as in Doctor Who or Star Wars or even the new Star Trek. There is something really amazing about the fact that there is SO much out there, so many planets and stars and galaxies and there could be absolutely anything out there. There’s so much out there to explore. I wish I lived in a world like Doctor Who or Star Trek where they can explore these worlds and learn new things and see what else is out there besides just us. We are so centered on this planet, we think of ourselves as so important and big but we are so tiny in the grand scheme of things. There is so much out there that we don’t know about and I think it would be an amazing thing to have a TARDIS or a Millennium Falcon or an Enterprise to take us around to see these new worlds and to go on adventures and see the other beauties of the universe. I’m not going to lie, I think I’d be pretty scared at the idea of open space but also incredibly excited as well. The possibilities of the universe are absolutely endless. And when you’re with the Doctor or the Rebel Alliance, you really have the chance to make a difference, to save lives and have incredible adventures.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry-Harry Potter series

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There is literally no other place in the world, both real and fiction, that I would rather be than this school. When you’re 9/10 years old and you’ve just moved from a roomy house to a house with your grandparents where you are sharing a room with your five brothers and sisters and your parents are fighting all the time, and you go to school and you’re teased all the time because, let’s face it, you’re not very girlie and aren’t really sure how to dress yourself properly and you have your nose in a book all the time and reading just isn’t cool, and life just seems to SUCK all the time…and you pick up this book and you find this incredible, amazing world…who wouldn’t fall in love? I would love to go to Hogwarts. I would love to learn magic and explore this ancient and fantastic castle and learn about hippogriffs and unicorns and make crazy potions and all of those things. These books have taught me more than anything else has and Hogwarts was the home that I would go to when reality just seemed to suck too bad, and its where I continue to go when life sucks and I’ve had a bad day. There’s a line in Deathly Hallows where Harry is looking up at Hogwarts castle and recognizing it as his home, as the home of Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys. That part gets to me every single time. Its a home for all of us, JKR created a home for us all. “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home” is what she said at the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere and she is so right. There is no place I’d rather be than at Hogwarts :)

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Top Ten! What fictional places would you like to live or hang out at? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to check out the previous Top Ten Lists I have made!

Check back in the next couple of days for exciting things, like an interview with Jessica Brody and a HUGE giveaway for my blog’s first birthday!

Book of the Week: Alanna, The First Adventure

I was thinking of what book to write this week’s Book of the Week post about and couldn’t really think of which to write about. I’ve read a couple new books in the last few weeks but I haven’t really cared enough to write about them. I started making new sections on my blogs. I put up a new “Writing Advice” section, treatment where you can go to get writing advice from authors that you enjoy. I’ve personally emailed, tumblr-ed, tweeted, Facebook messaged, etc. these authors and I’ve gotten a nice response from some really awesome authors, so you should definitely check it out.
Then I added two more sections, Recommended Books : Young Adult and Recommended Books: Adult, and I realized how many of the books that I have recommended to people just haven’t been reviewed on this blog. And I’m kind of aiming to fix that. So I decided to start with one of my absolute favorie authors, Tamora Pierce, and her very first Tortall books.
So for your enjoyment, here is this week’s Book of the Week:
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Genre:
young adult, fantasy
Part of a Series?:
yes, the first installment of the Song of the Lioness quartet
You May Like if You Liked:
Harry Potter, Cinda Williams Chima’s fantasy novels
Plot Summary:
Alanna of Trebond has reached the age of ten and it’s time to send her off to the convent to learn how to be a proper lady. Of course, she doesn’t want to go; she wants to go the palace to learn to be a knight. Her twin brother, Thom, wants to learn to be a powerful sorcerer and has no desire to become a knight. Of course they come up with a brilliant idea to switch places and Alanna heads to the palace disguised as Alan, ready to begin her training as a knight. But training to be a knight isn’t as easy as she thought it was, especially when she is trying to conceal her idea her identity as a girl. Soon though she makes friends with her fellow pages, Prince Jonathan, Gary, Raoul, Alex and the king of thieves, George Cooper. Then Jonathan’s uncle, Roger, returns to court and Alanna had a funny feeling about him that she just can’t shake.
The Bad: 
The first Tamora Pierce book I read was the series of Alanna’s daughter. Sorry, small spoiler. I won’t tell you who it’s with though! But that was stupid because there are THREE series before that one! Whoops!
So eventually I went back and read the original series. And honestly, there’s nothing bad about it in my head. I think one complaint someone might have is that its simpler, a child’s book. This doesn’t bother me, because of all the good reasons below, and because Tamora’s writing and stories get more complex as her books progress and I do believe they are very young adult books.
The Good: 
There is SO much good about this book. First off, the characters. Alanna is a wonderful character because she is SO determined and she’s such a strong female character. Alanna: The First Adventure was first published back in 1983, before the burst of young adult literature and strong heroines hit us all. I think Tamora Pierce was doing something before a lot of other authors were. Alanna disguises her gender in a place where it is NOT easy to do so to become a knight, which is a crazy challenge all in itself. She’s also really small, so she’s not even built like a normal page/squire would be built. But that’s what makes it even better. Alanna is trying to become a knight under extraordinary circumstances, and her size only makes the goal that much harder. But she works so hard, she practices over and over again, she even works as hard as possible to overcome a cruel bully. As the stories progress, she becomes stronger and smarter and she’s one of THE strongest female characters I have ever read in the many, many novels I’ve read.
There’s also the world of Tortall that Tamora Pierce has created. It is very reminiscent of those stories we read as children with princes and princesses, knights in shining armor but in a young adult setting with some serious issues going on, serious villians. You have villians fighting for the crown, and you have bullies picking on those who are different from them, you have a girl’s life in danger every day because of her hidden gender. And she creates such a REAL world; she knows the kingdom, she knows the neighboring kingdom well, and she knows the kingdoms across the sea, and she has histories for these kingdoms. She knows her myths and legends, she knows her history. Her worlds, the creatures, the people, the myths and legends and rules and laws…they all have backing to them. She isn’t pulling this out of nothing, she truly knows what she is talking about, which makes her world believable and makes her world a world that readers want to live in.
She also creates a wonderful story. You can’t help but root for Alanna as she tries to pull off this incredible and seemingly impossible task. She is trying to handle so much, and she’s so young in this book. It takes place over the course of…I’d say three or four years and its just so much for a 10 to 14 year old handle. She’s learning to be a knight, she’s learning to hone her magical skills, she’s making friends, dealing with a bully, and on and on. But even though its just a fantastical story, its so believable too. I think Tammy has so many fans, but I think sometimes there’s a lack of new fans in her case because of the overwhelming flux of teen paranormal romance and the popularity that it has. Her books are good, clean, fun fantasy novels with fantastic characters, strong female leads and enough romance without being too cheesy.
Rating: 
Five out of Five stars. Tamora Pierce is a goddess.
Recommended or Not? 
Definitely. I recommend this book highly because there is so much to read after this. There are three more books in this series,  then the four book Immortals series, the four book Protector of the Small series and then the two book series, Tricksters. Then there’s also the prequel series, Beka Cooper, series. And Tammy only gets better and better as the series go along and all of her books are pure golden fantasy with action, humor, romance, and on and on…and she always has kickass female characters. Pick up a Tammy book now.
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