Thursday, 21 January 2010
I know exactly who I'm going to talk about :)
Tamora Pierce. Now I know any US or Canadian people may already know who she is but from my side of the pond it's a whole different story. In the UK it is *very* rare that you find someone who even knows who Tamora is and even rarer if they've actually read her books. But she is my absolute favourite author EVER- I picked up one of her books Wild Magic when I was about 13 or 14 (so not very long ago - I'm turning 20 this year *gasp*) and after reading this first book and seeing that Tammy had written more, I became like a girl possessed. I searched everywhere to try and get hold of her books, which was easier back then because Scholastic still published them in the UK but now there is actually NO UK Publisher *boo hiss*. But with the help of my mum, who at that time worked for a bookseller company, I was able to get all of Tammy's Circle books in one fell swoop to add to the Tortall books I'd already found.
I remember a rather funny incident which involved the Circle books that my mum bought for me - when they arrived I was actually forbidden to read them until *after* whatever exams I may have been doing at the time and my parents hid the bag of books. Now me being the book-devouring addict that I was (and still am of course) I searched the house for the loot and found them appallingly easily (in plain view in a wardrobe in the spare room- dear me was that the best they could do?). I had the brainwave that I could open the bag and take just the first book out, read it and then put it back so my parents wouldn't notice. Over the next week I read through all of the Circle of Magic quartet without my parents ever realising, I think I'd also read the first two books of the Circle Opens quartet. Then one day my dad says that I can now read one of my new books and fetches me one at random - of course he brings me one I've already read so I just take it and put it in my cupboard. The next day I claim to have finished it and he gives me the next one et al. This basically continued until I had got all of the books in my possession most of which I'd already read when they were given to me. Thankfully because they are Tamora Pierce books I have no problem re-reading them over and over.
Now I've wittered on forever about my acquisition of the books I'd better extol on *why* Tammy's books are so wonderful. If you've ever imagined (talking to the females here) when you were little, that you were a warrior and pretended to flail swords about and fight battles then Tamora's books are like a huge dream come true. Her heroines are not the delicate, wilting girls who'll let the men do all the fighting for them - they are very capable of defending themselves and those around them and perfectly happy to assume that role. That's not to say that the menfolk don't do anything, Tammy's male characters are some my favourite characters out of all the books I've read in the last ten years- they fight, they're often hilariously funny and they can actually be romantic with whom they fall in love with. Now if you add into the mix of brilliant characters a hefty dose of magic and the medieval-esque backdrop (This is Tortall folks, I'll get to the Circle books shortly) then you have a superb recipe for some excellent books. Tamora has written so far 16 books in the Tortall universe; 3 consecutive quartets, 1 duet which follows the quartets and 2 books out of a trilogy which is set 200 years before the first quartet, The Song of the Lioness. The last book in the Beka Cooper trilogy - Mastiff is due to be released in the Spring of 2011 I believe, although IMO that's *way* too far away.
In her other universe which centres around the country of Emelan, Tammy has written 10 books so far- 2 finished quartets, Circle of Magic and the Circle Opens and 2 books in the latest quartet, The Circle Reforged. The Emelan universe has a more modern feel than the Tortall world- it's more like 16th Century Europe with more sophisticated technologies and of course magic. There is a slightly different magic system used in these books which has certain people's powers manifesting through ordinary objects rather than just having powers which can be applied to any task. The four main characters in the Circle books start off as children of around 10; Sandry, Briar, Tris, and Daja, all of them have lost their families in one sense or another and were rescued from their situation by Niko Goldeye, a powerful mage, who brings them all to the Winding Circle Temple in Emelan. Over the course of the books the children grow and learn about their powers and in the second quartet they all split off and have their own adventures in far off countries (I know I suck at book descriptions- bear with me). Some people prefer the Tortall books to the Circle ones and I can understand why because with the latter having four main characters it's a tad difficult to like all of them equally- I personally love Briar and Tris but other people may have different favourites.
To me it's terribly sad that so few people in the UK known about this wonderful author especially considering how many books she's written over the years. I actually bought my best friend the Song of the Lioness quartet for a combined christmas/birthday present (Happy Birthday for Saturday Jess!! ) so I could have someone I knew to talk about and share the books with. Once she's read the first quartet I'm going to try my damnedest to help her find copies of the other Tortall books on this bereft island- of course that's if she *wants* to read the others *grin* - I'm not gonna turn all rabid fan-girl and force her to read them.
I do wish that a British Publisher would re-print Tammy's books over here so a new generation of girls could know about Alanna, Daine, Kel, Aly, Sandry, Tris, Briar, Daja and all the other wonderful people you learn to love as you read the books. But with all the teenage girls being obsessed with vampires, werewolves, faeries and the other hosts of supernatural creatures that are all over the Waterstones 3 for 2 tables at the moment I would worry that Tammy's books wouldn't be given the notice they deserved. Although maybe if they brought them out en masse with the amazing covers that Scholastic used before:
Isn't it brilliant!?!?!
This is First Test, the first Protector of the Small book which has my outright favourite Tortall heroine Keladry learning to become a knight. LOVE THIS QUARTET!!
Now since I've bored you all long enough with my extensive gushing about Tammy and how great her books are I shall bring this to a close. If you didn't know about Tamora Pierce before you read this post well *tsk tsk* if you want to know more go find one of her books and READ IT!!
Here is the Link to her website, which I acknowledge as the source of the cover images. (I would have scanned my books but I don't have them at university with me *sniff*)
Thank you for sticking with me, see you next Thursday!