Books: Song of the Lioness quartet: Alanna: the First Adventure, In the Hands of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant; The Immortals quartet: Wild Magic, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods; Protector of the Small quartet: First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight; Daughter of the Lioness duo: Trickster’s Choice, and Tricksters Queen; The Legend of Beka Cooper trilogy: Terrier, Bloodhound, and Mastiff (2011); Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales; Circle of Magic quartet: Sandry’s Book, Tris’s Book, Daja’s Book, and Briar’s Book; The Circle Opens quartet: Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, and Shatterglass; The Will of The Empress; Melting Stones; and other books written in collaboration with other authors.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster and Random House
Age group: 14-18
Where to find her books: Amazon.com
Eon set me thinking about one of my favorite authors as a teenager, Tamora Pierce. I first read her Immortals series when I was about 13. I was hooked and made a point of reading every book she had written, and wrote thereafter.
I loved her strong female characters, living in times when women were supposed to sit in the castle and embroider. They broke the rules of their society and carved a path for others to follow. I loved how she mixed elements of timeless teenage problems with magic and medieval culture.
As The Ordinary Princess was my introduction the independent woman, Wild Magic was my introduction to the fighting woman with more than a back bone but a fierce spirit as well. There was no sitting in a tower waiting for rescue, these women took life into their hands and pursued their dreams. For some their dreams were to become knights, for other they just wanted to learn how to control their magic.
Add to the mix some meddling gods; much like those of Greek and Roman times, and you had a compelling story sure to catch the attention of a teenage girl. It definitely caught mine.
Pierce has been writing for a living since the early 80’s, beginning with the Song of the Lioness books; whose main character was the fierce and daring Alanna. Alanna was originally one rather large adult book but she was convinced to separate it into four books and tone it down for a young adult audience. It was still a little racy for my taste, but I don’t like reading about those things personally. I haven’t read them in a few years so my opinion may have changed, depending on how she used those themes. There is a time and place for them and if used inappropriately, they might as well be left out.
Her recent writing has not gripped me as Wild Magic did. Her Beka Cooper books are set in the same land of Tortall, but hundreds of years before the Song of the Lioness and Immortals series are said to take place. Beka Cooper shows some of the spunk of Daine and Alanna but the writing feels forced and much too descriptive. The pace of the plot is like trudging through mud. You have to read a billion descriptions to get to something that moves the plot along.
I rarely put a book down without finishing it but by the second Beka Cooper book I couldn’t take it anymore. The books were too long, too wordy and too slow moving. I didn’t have time to take weeks to finish a book that I didn’t really enjoy. I do know people that loved them though; so it may be more personal preference than anything else.
I still love the Immortals series and would even read Song of the Lioness again but I don’t think I will finish Beka Cooper. I like many aspects of Pierce’s writing, the interwoven stories, the balanced descriptions and exciting plots. She has had and will have a demanding schedule; maybe she needs some rest to get her balance back.
Either way, I suggest you take the time to get to know her earlier writings and maybe even some of her new. Individual taste varies of course. I would recommend her for older teens though; there are some mature parts in her books that would be better suited to a more mature audience.
She is one author worth checking out.