“Girls are 50% of the population. We deserve to represent 50% of the heroes.” ~Tamora Pierce
I love Harry Potter, and I adore the Lord of the Rings. I love getting swept away in Jane Austen’s world of romance and scandal but for me, nothing compares to the feeling of picking up a book and escaping to Tortall.
All of the Tortall universe books are like old friends to me. Picking one up is never a bad idea and even though you know what to expect, you always stumble across something you hadn’t noticed before (like just how many references there are to a certain blue-eyed Sergeant in Lady Knight!).
Tamora Pierce writes female heroes better than anyone as far as I’m concerned. Eowyn is a great heroine but so much of what she does is down to luck. Hermione is a strong female character but never really gets the chance to develop into a true hero. Katniss Everdeen is a fantastically brave female character and has heroic moments, but her attitude somehow ruins it slightly. And don’t even get me started on Bella…
Alanna, Daine, Kel, Buri, Thayet and Beka are all heroines. Aly is a little debatable for me but she and I are slowly coming to terms with one another. I’m still hurt (like Alanna) that she didn’t choose to become a Knight. They all work and train hard in order to prove themselves. They have morals, hormones, imperfections, they overcome adversity and distinguish themselves as leaders and champions of what is right and fair. Sure, sometimes they have bad tempers and swear like sailors but that’s the charm of all of them. They fall in love, they have their hearts broken, they ride bad-tempered horses in the cold and the mud for days on end and fantasize about warm baths. And none of this makes them any less than the men around them, none of this prevents them from doing their duty. Tamora Pierce doesn’t write Mary Sue’s and I can’t thank her enough for it.
My personal favourite is Kel. Actually, Squire is the book I have read the most - ever. There is something wonderful about Kel and Raoul’s relationship that makes Squire a fantastic read. Really, does it get any better than this?:
“Lord Raoul asked me to tell you that if you get yourself killed, he will never speak to you again.”
There is also something about the way that Kel sees the world that is so refreshing. Like Alanna says to Kel, the reason why Kel is so inspiring is because she doesn’t have Alanna’s gift, or anything that distinguishes her, like Thayet’s beauty, or Daine’s wild magic. Instead, everything that Kel does is due to her indomitable spirit and determination. The fact that Kel’s single-minded obsession to prove herself is due to her determination to help people, makes her an endearing character and one of the most noble characters we encounter in Tortall. I also really enjoy the plot-lines in the Protector of the Small quartet. Even though I adore Alanna, Duke Roger irritates me to the point that he ruins the books for me when I re-read them now. He gives me the heebie geebies!
I’ve been reading Tamora Pierce books since I was in the fifth grade and I’m graduating university in a year! And I can’t imagine myself ever not wanting to go along with Kel as Third Company rides out behind her, battle the Ysandir with Alanna, take down criminals with Beka, and enjoy a pint at the Dancing Dove.
And if you’ve read this and have no idea what I’m taking about - get thee to a library! Seriously. You’re missing out if you haven’t read these.