Did y’all know that I’m turning 30 this year?!
For the record, 30 is a terrifying number. You can sort of get away with a lot of indecision and childishness in your 20s, which is my zone. By 30, generally speaking, you’re really expected to have your act together and behave in a socially acceptable way for an adult.
I mention all this because I’m twisting today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt and using an author that is technically YA… but I started reading her books legit 17 years ago, so I feel like I can work with the umbrella of “childhood” there. Because in the YA blogging world, eh, I’m getting prehistoric.
(I kid, by the way? What I’ve seen of YA book bloggers ranges from 13 to 40 and I love it.)
So, Tamora Pierce.
Tamora Pierce is one of those authors who not a lot of people read ferociously anymore (at least in this community) but those of us who do get SO EXCITED when we talk about her books. I grew up with her and she inspired me so much. Her books were the first high fantasy I read, the first books where women could do everything the men could, where people could do magic. I was all about the magic bit. Tamora Pierce’s books made me feel alive, and they made me want to write books like hers so I could make other people feel the same way. I loved her then, and I still love her now.
Between Tortall and Emelan, she has 33 different books and she’s still writing! Last year’s Tempest and Slaughter was a long promised novel and her first from a male perspective, but she’s been writing fierce, incredible heroines since 1983. I will confess that I haven’t read all her books, but I have read more than half, and those… I’ve read over and over again. I own all her books, though, and as I go through my Great Bookcase Crusade, I will read them all. And in the case of Trickster’s Choice, probably for the eighth time.
Which brings me to my Top Ten! Without further ado, ten of my favorite books by Tamora Pierce.
While Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen are still my favorites as an overall package, I do feel like I should mention that the protagonist, Aly, is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery. In today’s world with a critical eye on the interpretation of slavery, I think that Twitter would probably call this one out for being too casual about the way slavery is presented? Or maybe I’m overthinking it. I always worry that my old favorites are going to be found lacking and I’ll be condemned because of it. I do know the duology has been criticized for having a “white savior” which I actually disagree with, because Aly is more a tool to the whole thing than the charging force…
But, ah, I digress.
You’ll notice, however, that only one of the first five is a book 1. While “book 1” tends to still be good in these, I feel high fantasy like this really shines in book 2 and up. Book 1 is great because it sets up the characters and the world, but they’re not always very exciting. Things start getting good later in the series.
I know, I know! Only one of Keladry’s books! I didn’t read the Protector of the Small series as a kid, and as I got older and older, it felt like they were going to be too young for me. Her earlier series tend to feel like that, everything written before Trickster’s Choice. The way YA is written has changed over the last 30+ years as characters are written more mature, so older series tend to fall into the MG genre instead.
Nonetheless, everyone had such wonderful things to say about Protector of the Small… and dang they were right. Now I’ve got to read the rest of that series, and basically the whole rest of the Emelan universe.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenged participants with the prompt:
Have you ever read Tamora Pierce? Her characters, their relationships, and worldbuilding are such #goals for me as a writer, and it’s so easy to fall into these books over and over again. If you haven’t tried any, I highly recommend them… and if you have tell me your favorites in the comments!