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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales

Ok, so Tamora Pierce is one of my all time favorite authors.  EVER.  Not only have I dragged her books across the country with me everywhere I’ve traveled, from holiday car trips and college, from the Midwest to Pennsylvania to Montana to California, from Yosemite to Santa Barbara, but the acquiring Tammy’s books have inspired quite a few spur-of-the-moment quests of their own.—In college, when my local bookstore didn’t have Squire on the release day (how dare they!?!?!?), I drove an hour to the nearest neighboring state, to the nearest bookstore, to get it.  In Montana, when I didn’t have a local bookstore, I drove an hour away for Trickster’s Queen (incidentally that’s when mapquest lead me to a dead end and I switched to google maps).   While working in Pennsylvania, I found out Tammy was doing a book signing… at the other end of the state—but hey, if I could make the five-hour trip to Punxsutawney, I could certainly do the same to see one of my favorite authors!  And then three years later, I took a six-hour jaunt down from northern to southern California.  And I’d do it all again in a heart-beat, because not only does Tamora Pierce write the most breath-taking, thrilling, amazing books—but on top of everything, she turned out to be an amazingly cool person!!!

And so, when I found myself stranded in another vast stretch of wilderness, with no bookstore in sight, and eagerly anticipating Tamora’s newest release, Tortall and Other Lands:  A Collection of Tales—I found myself in for a whole different kind of adventure.  My nearest bookstore—an hour away—had recently closed, and the next closest was an hour and a half away.  So, was I getting a good night’s sleep the night before, gearing up for a three-hour round trip relay that would get me my book and back home to devour it in the shortest possible time frame?

Not hardly—I was lying in bed, eagerly anticipating my Nook telling me that my download had been completed.  As much as I LOVE a good road trip, there’s nothing like having a book appear instantly at your fingertips.  It was almost as magical as reading the book, itself

…and speaking of the book…

It’s an absolute MUST for every Tamora Pierce fan—Absolutely MAGICAL—like a little bit of all her books rolled into one.

…Which, I guess is the idea behind a collection of her short stories. ;)

I’d read some of the stories before in other anthologies, but apparently I’d missed some, so that makes me extra happy to have this book as part of my collection! :D  New readers can fall in love with Tamora’s stories for the first time, and fans will love Nawat, The Dragon’s Tale, and Lost where they can find out what happened to characters like Aly and Nawat (Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen), Kit, Tkaa, Daine, Numair, and the Darkings (The Immortals Quartet) after we’ve left their stories. 

Student of Ostriches, Elder Brother, and The Hidden Girl all show us glimpses of life throughout Tortall, while Time of Proving, Plain Magic, and Mimic could easily be set in any of Tamora’s magical worlds.

I just about inhaled the stories all at once—but with the short story format it’s easy to read a few stories, and then pick it up again later on if you need to.

Eleven stories are included, in all—And as for picking a favorite—I won’t even try.—Ok, I tried, but I totally can’t, so here are all the things I love:

I LOVE Kylaia, in Student of Ostriches, learning different fighting and defense techniques by watching how different animals interact, while she’s tending herds for her village.  I loved Elder Brother, and finding out what happens when a tree becomes a man.  I love Teky from The Hidden Girl, and how chooses not to disappear behind a veil.  Nawat was such an unexpected story, and one of the most emotional—What do you do when people expect perfection?  What do you do when perfect isn’t what you expected???  The Dragon’s Tale is finally Kit’s chance to tell her own story—We’ve seen and loved her from everyone else’s point of view, but now we get a chance to see what it’s like to grow up as a dragon, where you can understand everyone, but it’s such a struggle for everyone to understand you.  In Lost, a misplaced Darking turns out to be in the perfect place to help a girl find her way out of a bad situation.  Time of Proving tells the story of Arimu and Sunflower, where two reluctant friends discover the values of knowledge and friendship.  In Plain Magic, Tonya finds out that sometimes magic can happen in the most unexpected ways.  In Mimic, Ri and her mysterious lizard friend aren’t quite ready to grow up, that letting go isn’t always easy, but that it’s important.  Huntress is a darker, contemporary story where Corey finds out that running with the in-crowd isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Testing is another unexpected find, a contemporary fictional story that gives the reader a more personal look into the author’s life.

Tortall and Other Lands:  A Collection of Tales is full of richly woven stories that I could read over and over again…and it’s a great companion for Pierce’s other work.—And it totally makes me want to go reread my favorite stories all over again!!!!


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