Fandom Friday-Tamora Pierce and Tortall

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

This is the weekly post where either myself, 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 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

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

*      *      *     *     *

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!

18 thoughts on “Fandom Friday-Tamora Pierce and Tortall

  1. Chloe says:

    Yay Tortall! Who would have known when you picked up Trickster’s Choice that it would lead us to becoming penpals! :) But yes, they’re seriously amazing books, I would also love to live there so so so much. Have you read Tammy’s Circle books yet? I didn’t like them the first time I read them, probably because I was expecting them to be like Tortall. But I enjoy them now :) Also there’s a book out called Tortall and Other Lands, have you read that? There’s stories about Kitten and Aly’s babies, as well as other people in the world of Tortall.

  2. scrivener212 says:

    Thank you so much! One of your fans posted this on my Facebook page, and I’m so flattered. I’m in sort of a brief boy phase right now–a Circle of Magic book featuring Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy (Briar is my boy plant mage) that I’ve just finished; it’s out this fall–and a book about Numair when he was still Arram Draper, best friend to Ozorne, heir to the Carthaki Empire.

    Of course there are strong girls and women around both, but it won’t be till the next Circle and Tortall books that I get back to female heroes. (The next Tortall book will be about Maura of Dunlath, from Wolf Speaker, and how she finds her place in life.)

    Thanks again for the cool piece about my books. I hope you always feel this way about them!

    Tammy Pierce

    • whatanerdgirlsays says:

      I was so honored beyond belief that you had ventured over to my blog and read this post :) You were such an important part of my introduction to young adult literature, and to the world of fantasy. Basically, this blog would SO not exist if it weren’t for me discovering Trickster’s Choice when I was 16 years old. I am SO looking forward to both the Numair books (Numair is one of my absolute favorite characters) and for the Maura books as well :) I am so excited. I really hope to be able to meet you someday and have you sign my unbelievably beat up and loved copy of Trickster’s Choice!

  3. Sara says:

    I was so glad when i realized somebody is as obsessed with TP as I am! I really adore her, read all her books at least twice (or three, four, five times…) :D
    I did some of the same thing as you did – i picked up The Song of The Lioness first, but then i read The Protecter Of The Small and then The Lioness’ Daughter. so they mentioned Numair, Daine and all those – and had no idea what they were talking about! :) But they i found out, that you are supposed to read the series is order, and then it all made sense :)
    i really like the books and especially the girls – Alanna, Daine, Kel, Aly, Buri ect. And teh boys! I think my favorites are Gary, Numair, Nawat, Raoul, Jon and George. Who are you favorites?
    These are my all time favorite books (with The Mortal Instruments) :D So glad you wrote about them! Have you ever read the Circle books? They’re just as perf! Except I think I like Tortall better than Emeland – both are amazing, so it’s hard choose!

  4. Kalessin says:

    Yay, another Tamora Pierce fan :D (Found your post via Tamora Pierces homepage.)

    I found the Alanna and the Daine books in the library when I was… I dunno, about 10 I guess. I read them a few times and started buying the Circle books as hardcovers when they were translated (into german. Back then I didn’t read english books yet) – until they stopped after book three. I re-read all the books a lot, and when I started reading english books, I jumped onto Briar’s Book and continued with the Circleverse ones. And for some reason I will probably never understand, I thought I wouldn’t like the other Tortall books until Tammy mentioned Mark reads on her blog which started me reading SotL and Immortals again, then Tortall and Other Lands (should have waited with that one – reading Nawat before the Tricksters wasn’t a good choice), PotS, Tricksters and the Beka ones. I’m now on my second round of those books new to me (first round began end of march). How could I think I wouldn’t like those?! I’ll never, ever understand.

    I started giving those books to my cousins – I hope they’ll like them as much as I do. (I don’t see them a lot, so I don’t know what they thought, yet.)

    Will you also have a Fandom Friday post on the Circle books (I guess you read them, as you have Street Magic in the first picture)? Or are you less excited about them?

    Concerning the post above, I have two remarks; first – Alannas twin is called Thom, not Alan. Actually, your mistake made me wonder: why did she choose to go by Alan and not switch name with Thom? Though perhaps that is, because this way only she had to pretend anything. Can’t have two Thom of Trebonds running around.
    And the other one is that it nags me to read that loosing ones virginity is an issue for girls between ten and eighteen – it kinda sounds like you should be done with that at age 18, which does not fit my reality at all ;) (I don’t think I know any woman who did that this early, but that’s just my circle of friends.)

    As for volunteering for a Fandom Friday post, I’d write about the Steerswoman series, but I’m *really* crap at writing reviews…

    • Sara says:

      I always thought Aly’s twin was Alan, and her older brother’s name was Thom? Do I need to reread the books? No I’m pretty sure that’s how that goes. Oh wait, Alanna’s brother is Thom, and she goes by Alan. Did I get seriously messed up? Either way, thanks for pointing it out so I can go back and fix that!

      I probably won’t write a Fandom Friday for the Circle books. I liked them well enough but I’ve been a larger Tortall fan than a Circle fan. I keep hoping someone will volunteer to write about those because I”m just not as familiar with them as others are.

      Thanks for stopping by though. I always love meeting Tammy fans. There just aren’t enough of us out there in the world.

      • ladyxiane says:

        Alanna’s twin’s name is Thom after their father Lord Thom of trebond and with whom Alanna switches places in the lioness series. Aly’s (Alanna’s daughter) twin’s name is Alan, Aly and Alan’s older brother is named Thom, who is first introduced as a boy in Wild Magic of the immortal series.

        I’m so glad I came across this blog. Tamora Pierce has been one of my all time fav. authors since I picked up Alanna: the first adventure as a freshman in high school and now in my mid-thirties I still love her books. I have the lioness quartet, immortal quartet, pots quratet, tricksters series, beka’s books, magic circle, circle opens, and will of the empress. Just found out about the other tortall shorts definitely going to hunt those down to add to my collection. I also read the excerpt to the new briar book, picking that up first chance I get. These books helped me all through high school, they gave me solid ground to stand on, so much so that I can only recall one time when someone tried to pick on me with name calling. I was quick to make it clear to him that his opinion of me mattered not one wit and wished him a good day. I left him standing in the hall with a confused look on his face.

        I am so jealous that you got a response from Tamora herself. I’ve always wanted to meet her but I can honestly say I wouldn’t know the first thing I would say. Her work has only gotten better with the passage of time and I love that she keeps us in the know of the happenings of the worlds she has created and brought into ours. I also love that I can find out what happened with my favorite characters. I hope the new stories don’t stop anytime soon.

        • ladyxiane says:

          I have to correct myself… earlier I said that Alanna’s twin was named after their father but I got myself mixed up recalling that Thom was later named Lord of Trebond. Thom and Alanna’s father was named Alan of Trebond.

  5. Laura says:

    I know this post is quite old, but its new to me, cause I just found your blog.

    Anyway, I love Tamera Pierce and I think she’s like the underground nerd author of the year. I give her books to all of my little cousins (male or female) to try out. OK, my male cousins might not like all the girly bits as much, but they still will read the whole series. :P The first Alanna book was the first real novel I ever read and was what got me into reading in the first place. Like you, I love that you can relate to the characters, but its still got action and adventure.

    I got the opportunity to meet her a couple years back and it only solidified my love of her. She was at a convention and doing panels on YA Lit and something about Boys and Reading (and how people say there’s not enough out there for them or something). Anyway, her opinions and passion on all of the topics were mesmerizing ( although her review of J.K. Rowling’s female character was less than stellar, but her arguments were completely valid! ). Its obvious that she’s as big of a fan and critic of the YA genre as her readers are and I think thats what makes her novels so great.

    • Sara says:

      I’m so glad to see others who love Tammy as much as I do. I really feel like there aren’t a lot of YA readers out there that are reading her like they should.

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