Learning to be a Knight

Tamora Pierce is the author of many young adult novels that take place in the land of Tortall. The strong female characters in these books inspired me to find my own strength as a young girl, and my life has been shaped by the power of the characters in these stories.

I grew up in the land of Tortall. I disguised myself as a boy to become a knight. I talked to animals and understood what they said back. I worshipped the Goddess and Mithros. I visited Carthak and was given the power to raise dead animals. I lived with the Bazhir and taught the young mages of the tribe how to harness their magical Gift. I learned how to strengthen my Wild Magic. I fought ancient gods, befriended Stormwings, and fell in love.

The fantasy world of Tortall has been with me since I was in middle school, which is when I first read the first two series set in that world (Song of the Lioness and The Immortals). And while all of the series are YA, I’ve read both of the above series and all three more recent series (Protector of the Small, Daughter of the Lioness, and Provost’s Dog) multiple times. In fact, a collection of short stories called Tortall and Other Lands was released two weeks ago, and I’ve already read it, even though I’m in my mid-20s.

Each series set in Tortall (or the surrounding lands) follows a strong, independent young woman. All of these fictional characters have been my own role models in life. We watch them grow, we watch them stumble, we watch them learn, we watch them get up and show the world who’s boss. And each of these women have their own personalities. They are not the same person, written over and over. That is one of my favorite things about these books.

Tamora Pierce’s books have been as much of an integral part of my life as the Harry Potter series. In my free time, I volunteer with the HPA, but I also run a Tortall appreciation blog on Tumblr with one of my friends. I have had couch reading parties where my friend and I sit and read together. When I’m feeling low or I need a pick-me-up, I usually turn to one of the Tortall books to make me feel better. Or I call my above mentioned friend and we gossip and fangirl over our favorite moments in the books.

That is why, for Accio Books! this year, I will be scouting around for gently used books from the Tortall world to send to the Bedford-Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School. If just one kid picks up the books and gets transported to this medieval fantasy world, then I have accomplished everything that Accio Books! stands for – I’ve given back to a new generation of readers.

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15 Comments

  1. March 9, 2011 at 6:06 am
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    Awesome blog Holly. Never even heard of them *hides face*, but you’ve got me intrigued.

  2. Hallie

    March 9, 2011 at 8:12 am
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    I love the idea of a couch reading party! Thanks for sharing, Holly! I’ve been looking for a new series to get obsessed with :)

  3. Holly McCready

    March 9, 2011 at 9:43 am
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    Thanks :)

    And couch reading parties are the best!

  4. Georgie

    March 9, 2011 at 10:17 am
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    Ah, I loved these books when I read them, but my school library was missing the third one of each quartet, so I still haven’t finished them! And the local libraries never have any of these books *cries*

    • Holly

      March 15, 2011 at 6:46 am
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      Do you think there was an evil sprite that stole the 3rd book from each set? That’s ridiculous and crazy!

  5. Bethany Mikulis

    March 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm
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    Wow thank you Holly!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A new series to begin!!!! We have already begun to collect our books!!!!

  6. nikki

    March 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm
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    I am so glad someone enjoys these books as much as me!!! The song of the lioness series are one of my favorites, but I also love the new Bekka Cooper one’s and the circle of magic series. All of her books are great especially if you like strong female lead books. Great Blog Holly!

  7. Francis

    March 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm
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    It makes me so happy to know that Tamora Peirce’s books will be going to the library! I absolutely LOVE her books. Kel and Alanna are two of my greatest role models. I think I need to reread all her Tortall books now. (=

    • Holly

      March 15, 2011 at 6:47 am
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      Dooo it! I’m getting ready to reread the Beka Cooper books again :)

  8. Vanessa

    March 10, 2011 at 6:22 am
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    I have had a REALLY difficult time finding her books on audio. I managed to find the Circle Of Magic series, as well as the Alana (sp?) books on audio, but many of her works don’t even exist on audio, unfortunately. My sister absolutely loves all of her books, so rather than an amazing world that I was let into, it was more of a mysterious world I was locked out of. I really love what I read, and still wish that I had had access to them, as my sister owns all the physical copies of all the books. This is why I fight so hard against the Illiteracy Horcrucs, because it has affected me so deeply in so many ways.

    The series that influenced me in the same way as these books influenced you, is *His Dark Materials* by Philip Pullman, who narrates his own audio books, in a really incredible way! I always wished that Harry Potter had more strong female role models (yes, I know there are a few, but the most powerful people we see, Dumbledore, Voldemort, and Harry are all mail).

    I really, really loved this blog post, as I feel very affected by the literature in my life, and I love to hear how books have affected other people, as well.

    • Holly

      March 15, 2011 at 6:51 am
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      It looks likes you can order the audiobooks through Borders and iTunes. I don’t know what’s considered a fair price in audiobooks, but the iTunes prices look a little bit better.

      I really need to read the “Dark Materials” series. Too many books, not enough time!

  9. March 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm
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    Oh man, I love Tamora Pierce. I haven’t actually read the Immortals or most of Protector of the Small (I at least started the first one– not sure if I ever finished it). But I ADORE the Song of the Lioness and the Trickster set– I also liked the Circle of Magic and the Circle Opens books.

  10. Rinnie

    March 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm
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    I have to say that Tamora Pierce books have always had a special area on my shelf and in my heart. I have always loved them. I know I will be buying the new Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales at Borders. I wish you the best of luck in finding gently used copies to be sent. Kel and Alanna inspired me so much and it is nice to know that the children will be able to pick up such inspiration from their school library!

  11. Ashley

    March 20, 2011 at 12:18 am
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    I love all of her books. Especially Song of the Lioness. I haven’t gotten the chance to read her new book yet.

  12. Liz

    March 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm
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    Hello
    I would just like to say that I got very excited when I read this post because I am a huge fan of Tamora Pierce.
    I too have turned to Kel, Daine, or Alanna when I needed happiness or strength. Of course, they’re also the books that I read when I fell like I need to return to some old favorites.

    I’m thrilled to find other Tammy fans!

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