Where are all the Tamora Pierce Fans At? (+ My Ten Favorites) #TopTenTuesday

Posted July 2, 2019 by Amber in Memes / 17 Comments

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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.

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenged participants with the prompt:

Childhood Favorites

 

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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!

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17 responses to “Where are all the Tamora Pierce Fans At? (+ My Ten Favorites) #TopTenTuesday

  1. I have a feeling I would have loved Tamora Pierce’s books growing up but they weren’t fantasies that were available to me in bookshops or my local library. Instead I had Harry Potter (like most of us in the 90s and 2000s) and Artemis Fowl. I only heard about Tamora Pierce after discovering BookTube and book blogging, and whilst I like the sound of her books, I don’t actively read many of the older YA fantasies anymore. Maybe I will eventually, but for now they’re not on my priority list.

    • Amber

      Depending on the series, I don’t know that Tamora Pierce translates as well when older readers pick her up. Her Alanna and Immortals series, as well as most of her Emelan books feel like they’re written for younger readers, so they’re a bit less enjoyable. I think that her Beka Cooper series is probably best for new readers who are at a college level and above, but like you said, if you don’t go back and read older YA fantasy anymore, probably not a good fit. 🙂

  2. I read a lot of them for the first time a few years ago. I really liked the series that had all the dog names. I quit reading when I finished the series with Daine and Numair. That relationship creeped me out. I couldn’t go forward with it.

    • Amber

      To be honest, when I read these as a kid, I didn’t even pay attention to Daine/Numair’s relationship? My brain just edited it out – I was entranced by Daine’s wild magic. I notice it more as an adult, and I can see where the age difference is concerning. Alanna ends up having a relationship with a significant age difference as well, but the other ladies in her various series have more traditional relationship.

      The series with all the dog names is her Beka Cooper series! That’s the one I’d recommend to any new reader of hers that’s a bit older (i.e. out of high school). I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  3. RS

    I always wanted to love the Alanna books, but for some reason she felt like she belonged to one generation older. Never quite connected with her. So my favorite Tamora Pierce books are the ones I started with, the Immortals quartet — which I don’t actually remember past the first two, but I was definitely enraptured by their heavy animal content. I think I’ve read a couple Circle of Magic books + Protector of the Small, but sadly do not remember much.

    • Amber

      I read Allan first, but I definitely connected more with Daine as a kid for the same reason you mention… the animals! Her magic was so cool to me. I find her newer releases in the last 15 years are stronger than some of her older series, so if you ever feel moved to pick up something newer by her, I’d recommend either the Trickster duology or the Beka Cooper series. 🙂

    • Amber

      I’d recommend Terrier (and the Beka Cooper) series for you. It’s part of her Tortall universe, has more mature themes than her earlier works, and is chronologically earlier so you won’t be missing anything in a name drop. 😊 I looked through your fantasy shelf on GR and it’s not quite as heavy as some of the stuff on there, but it’s a good start. 😁 Let me know what you think! (I really hope you don’t hate it 😅)

  4. Great list! I’ve never read any Tamora Pierce but I’d really like to give her work a try. 🙂

    In terms of her older work being called out now… it’s a difficult one, isn’t it? Just because something we find uncomfortable today was fine 10 years ago doesn’t really make it fine – especially if it’s something serious like racism or sexism or anything like that – but authors also need to be allowed to grow and change. I don’t mind Pierce’s older work being a little uncomfortable to read as long as her more recent work isn’t still uncomfortable. I’d much rather an author focus on bringing out inclusive new work than keep banging on about what’s already been done *cough*J.K.Rowling*cough*.

    Jess @ Jessticulates recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday | The best books of 2019 (so far!)
  5. An entire post devoted to Tamora Pierce! I can die happy now. You totally made my whole day! The Circle of Magic books are my top favorite but Trickster’s Choice is also fantastic.

    Oooh, have you checked out Mark Reads? He’s a YA author/vlogger by the name of Mark Oshiro and he reads every Tamora Pierce, on video, and reacts as he goes. Every plot twist hits him upside the head and it’s just so fun to watch. I really, really recommend him if you like that sort of thing! http://markreads.net/reviews/past-books/

    • Amber

      So glad to have added a smile to your day!!! I really need to go in and read more Circle books – Tortall captured my heart when I was younger so Emelan has been sorely neglected. 😅

      I haven’t heard of him, but I’ll absolutely check him out!

  6. Yassss I love Tamora Pierce! These books (especially the Emelan books) were such a huge part of my childhood! I will recognize that objectively they have some issues, but I also don’t really care. I just absolutely adore her characters and her worlds, and of course they’re also super nostalgic for me.

    Also I think her books were actually the first time I ever saw queer rep, and even if I literally couldn’t care less at the time, that sort of means a lot to me.

    • Amber

      I really need to get more into Emelan again. I miss my TBR jar so much it hurts. I actually just had a friend by the other day who saw my collection of Tamora Pierce books and SQUEALED. Tamora Pierce fans are the best. It actually occurred to me recently that Daja was the first queer character I ever read, so for all her flaws in *certain* arenas, I’ve got to give her props for early rep in multiple venues are well.