It’s another Tamora Pierce #TBT! What can I say, guys — Tamora Pierce’s books made up 90% of my favorite reads in elementary school/junior high.
First Test is book one of the Protector of the Small quartet, and in a lot of ways, I think it’s a stronger series than The Song of the Lioness. The main character, Kel, represents a type of woman I don’t think we see enough of in current YA literature. She’s tough, yes, but also thoughtful and self aware. She’s not a girl searching for her identity — she already knows who she is and what she wants. There’s something about Kel’s voice that’s very refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tris’s and Katniss’s of the YA world, but there’s something a little more real in Kel. Something more… introspective, I suppose.
Anyway, if you want a great YA read — or if you’re writing MG/YA, especially with a female MC — definitely don’t miss this one. It’s a little old, yes– but it was a NYT bestseller for a reason. 🙂
This one’s a classic – Alanna: The First Adventure, the first book in Tamora Pierce’s four-book series, Song of the Lioness. I read this series about a million times as a kid (which I now think is questionably appropriate, considering all the s-e-x references in the later books) and I still have the original, tattered paperback somewhere in my childhood bedroom.
The book follows Alanna of Trebond, a 12-year-old girl who disguises herself as a boy to become trained as a knight. It’s a quick read, but engaging and immersive. I’ve tried to get into a few of Tamora Pierce’s more recent series, and I have to admit, none of them felt quite as spot on as this one. The writing in Alanna is just so clean and minimalistic. It’s a perfect example of less is more — proof you don’t need flowery explanations or page-long descriptors in fantasy to immerse the reader in your world.
So if you missed out on this series when you were a kid – particularly if you’re a fantasy writer! – I would definitely recommend it.