Tortall and Other Lands
- Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Random House
Collected here for the first time are six tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories, some of which have been published before, will lead Tammy's fans, and new readers into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy. Also included are four other fantasy stories . . . one set in a remote desert, two in an unknown town, and one set in a very familiar locale: New York City, in the present day.
Tamora Pierce is one of my favourite YA authors – she’s been around for years and I first started reading books set in Tortall when I was a teenager. I have never failed to get excited about each new release – and am now desperate to get my hands on Mastiff, the third Beka Copper story. I was so excited when I got this collection of short stories for my birthday as it meant I could explore some more of the world, while I wait for Mastiff to arrive.
Tamora has always featured strong heroines who struggle and fight to be seen as independent and strong enough to stand on their own against prejudice which tries to stop them. This means that the girl always has to work for their dreams and rarely achieve them easily, but the journey is always interesting. These stories though cover a wider range of characters with some of the side characters from her Immortals and Tricksters series getting some focus as well as new characters. I especially loved catching up with Aly and Newat and their new children and with Kitten, the Dragon and her adoptive parents Daine and Numair – it was great to see what their everyday life was like after the big adventures they had and what happened next to them. It made me want to go back and re-read the books with them in…something I think I will try to do next year!
There does seem to be a theme of dragons turning up in quite a few stories – in a variety of different ways. And who doesn’t enjoy a good dragon story?! These dragons are young, old, threatening and friendly. Magic and Gods also show up a few times making the stories a mixture of fantasy and new mythology. As with any anthology, some stories work better than others. Huntress and Testing were great examples of Tamora’s writing set in contemporary times, while The Time of Proving is instantly forgettable and my least favourite story. Tamora’s writing is easy to get into and with much focus on the everyday element of these fantasy worlds which makes them more accessible and relatable. This was a comfortable read across a range of fantastic ideas – and I wanted to spend longer in Tortall!
Recommended for fans of Rae Carson and Maria V Synder. 8 out of 10