Today, I really started thinking of Tamora Pierce. She just won the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Library Association. If there is anyone in this world that deserves that award, it is her. Her first novel, Alanna: The First Adventure, came out in the early 80s. She continues to publish novels, and they continue to dazzle her readers.
I first picked up one of her books when I was sixteen years old, nine years ago. I picked up Trickster’s Choice at Target, for two reasons. One, it was only about ten dollars, which was great. I was sixteen without a job so ten dollars was awesome to me. Two, there was mention of pirates in the book flap describing the book. I had an unhealthy obsession with pirates back then. Really, it was very, very unhealthy.
Anyway, the book ended up having absolutely nothing to do with pirates except for the fact that it is briefly mentioned in the beginning that the main character is kidnapped by pirates.
But besides that mistake, it ended up being such a fantastic book. I could go on and on about it but I did a Book of the Week post about it AGES ago and you can check it out here.
A few months later, the sequel to Trickster’s Choice came out, Trickster’s Queen, and I fell in love all over again with Tamora Pierce’s writing. Then an amazing thing happened: my love of this two part series gained me a pen pal, Chloe, who I have been writing (yes, snail mail!) for nearly 9 years now. She is a HUGE Tammy fan and introduced me to the fact that the Trickster series was the fourth Tortall series by Pierce.
So I went back and read the Daughter of the Lioness series, the Immortals series, and the Protector of the Small series. Then I reread the Trickster series again. Then I anticipated and enjoyed her new series, the Beka Cooper series, taking place in the past, before the events that we’ve come to know in the other series.
And the fact is, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Tamora Pierce and her fantastic books in it.
One, there’s the fact that it brought one of my closest friends in the entire world to me. Sure, Chloe and I live on opposite sides of the world; me, in California, Chloe, in Australia. We have never actually met in person. But we’ve been writing to each other for nearly a decade. We’ve read the same books, enjoyed the same movies, and gone through so much together in the world of handwritten letters. I give her books and she gives me books. She is one of my best friends, hands down, and it came from a mutual love of Tamora Pierce.
Tammy also gives me such a confidence in myself and my writing and its because of how long she has been writing. The woman has been around for decades, writing fantastic books, and sure, she’s not turning her books into movies and hitting the red carpet, but she’s been an overwhelming and inspirational presence in the young adult literature and fantasy worlds. She’s always there, and with every single book, she only gets better. She is a force to reckon with and I believe that I can do, because she did it, and continues to do it.
Plus there’s the pure and undeniable fact that she is a FANTASTIC writer. She takes us into a fantasy world that’s both new and yet familiar. She makes you really believe that these places and people and things are all real. You can’t even convince yourself that it isn’t real. Some fantasies that I’ve read before are the same thing over and over again, or they’re just too complicated for me to wrap my head around. I mean, sometimes I just get tired of reading about forbidden romances and fallen angels. It gets old. But Tammy’s stories are unique and familiar and fun.
Her stories are a breath of fresh air when you are surrounded by the same things over and over again. I’m over the love triangles and the fallen angels and forbidden romance, and dark titles with the same black and grey covers over and over again. Honestly, it just gets tiring. I mean, sure, I like the idea of the stories but sometimes the romance just gets in the way and I start to get annoyed.
But Tammy. Oh, Tammy. She creates these fantastic characters. Alanna. Daine. Keladry. Aly. Beka. All of them are strong, admirable characters. Alanna disguises herself as a boy for eight years to become the first female knight in over a hundred years. Daine is a powerful mage, able to communicate and heal animals and shape shift into one as well. Keladry is the first female to come forward to become a knight, with her gender known. Aly becomes the spymaster for a secret rebellion to take back a country from tyrannical and cruel rulers. Beka is a fierce and intelligent force of the Law, helping to solve some of the realms biggest crimes and mysteries with her scent hound, Achoo. These are amazing, strong and fierce women. If there was ever a group of fictional women to worship, this would be it.
Because these women, they do everything in their power to live their dreams and protect their realm. The fact that Alanna disguises her sex for so long and fights and fights, and becomes such a powerful knigh is amazing. Daine uses her powers and her way with animals to fight a WAR, to become a HERO. Keladry goes through years of torment and years of disbelief to become a knight herself, a formidable one, separate from Alanna, her predecessor. Aly is clever, extremely intelligent and 100% committed to helping the raka people take back their country from their terrible conquering rulers. Beka comes from the poorest parts of the capitol city become one of the most successful of the Guard, solving some of the hardest and most mysterious of crimes.
And the best part is…they all fall in love. They all do. And most of them get married, and have that happily ever after. There are mushy moments and exchanges of “I love you”, and sweetness and romance, and even some moments of flushed cheeks by the readers. But these heroines never let the romances get in the way of their goals. When a marriage proposal gets in the way of Alanna’s desire to see the world, she says no, instead of compromising her wishes and dreams. Daine’s love is her partner, her equal and they feed on each other for support, love and strength. Keladry chooses her dream, her determination to become a knight over anything else, over anyone else. She wants love but she can’t let it distract from protecting those who need her. Aly loves someone very much but she doesn’t let her get distracted from her mission, a seemingly impossible task. She waits until she’s completed her mission before completely giving herself over. Beka has her relationships, her flirtations, even a deep love for someone, but she never lets it get in the way of doing her JOB.
Can you see why I’m madly in love with Tamora Pierce and her writing? Can you see why my life, my writing, my passion for books, my outlook, my morals, my values, my beliefs, my strength have been influenced so much from Tamora Pierce? The woman is amazing and creates worlds that you want to be a part of. She creates characters that you wish you could be…and then you realize that, no, you don’t want to be them, because they are unique and they inspire you to be unique, to go out there and be different, and to grab onto those things that you want and dream, everyone else be damned.
I’ve been rambling on for what seems like forever. I could go on for pages and pages, for days and days, because there is no way I’ll ever begin to tell you how important this author, and her books are to me. I only hope that you all have a chance to pick up a book by her and realize how fantastic they are, and how much they can change your life. Besides my dear Queen Rowling, there isn’t an author on this planet that I worship and strive to be as much as Tamora Pierce.
I’ve read a lot of books, and I’ve loved a lot of books. I consume books the way some people consume food, or clothes or shoes, baseball games, even alcohol and drugs. I have a passion for books. But when you get down to it, I have two favorite books.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
That should say something right?
Go out there, pick up a book by Tamora Pierce. You seriously won’t regret it. Then come back, and we can talk all about it. I can’t wait for it.
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Tamora Pierce’s Novels
Song of the Lioness Series
Alanna: The First Adventure
In the Hands of the Goddess
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
The Realm of the Gods
The Protector of the Small
Beka Cooper series
and many more series outside of the Tortall universe!