Fantasy author builds worlds over time

By Kyra Smith-Cullen
A&E Editor

April 4, 2013

When I think of a strong female character, any woman written by Tamora Pierce automatically comes to mind. As an author who has been around since 1983, Pierce has avoided much of the public limelight despite the fact that several of her books have been on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Pierce’s first book was ‘Alanna: The First Adventure’ and it is simply one book set in her medieval fantasy land of Tortall. In it, the heroine disguises herself as a boy so that she can become a knight, a practice forbidden in over 100 years, while a power-hungry noble tries to usurp the throne in series of events that continue over the next three books.

While Alanna’s story ends there, readers get the chance to see her 10 years later as a minor character in ‘The Immortals’ quartet as well as in subsequent books. It is a similar case with many of Pierce’s characters, where background characters have the potential to reappear in later stories as a major figure. In her ‘The Circle of Magic’ series, set in Emelan, minor characters are less repetitive and more confined to one book. The reoccurring characters allow readers to see more development over a long period of time, even outside of their own stories. She’s a master of weaving plot to allow for growth but still keeping the reader involved and enthralled in her words.

Besides her independent female characters, Pierce is known for her abilities to explore different cultures and deal with stereotypes of the cultures. Each series features a new land and focuses on their history and beliefs. She doesn’t show any culture in a negative light without arguing why the idea is wrong.

I’ve been reading Pierce ever since I was in my early teens and she has only grown in my regards. Her stories are timeless, allowing them to be relevant in any situation. I would recommend her to any reader who is interested in strong women and elaborate worlds.

Posted in: A&E

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