Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic was the first book I ever read by fantasy teen writer Tamora Pierce, and continues to be my favourite. It may help slightly if you have read Pierce's previous Song of the Lioness quartet, but certainly not necessary — I didn't get round to reading it until several years later. Wild Magic is the first book of The Immortals quartet, and in my opinion, the best series of stories that Pierce has to offer, placing her immensely likeable heroine Daine amidst a backdrop of magical upheaval, the threat of war and Daine's own mysterious and tragic past. That Pierce manages to meld this huge range of subjects into a coherent whole is amazing — that it is set in a fantasy world that reads as a realistic place makes it even more remarkable.
Daine is a... Read More
Tamora PierceTamora Pierce writes fantasy epics in two worlds: The Tortall Universe (Song of the Lioness, Immortals, Protector of the Small, Daughter of the Lioness, Provost’s Dog) and The Circle Universe (the rest). Her work is available in audio format. Learn more at her website.
The Immortals — (1992-1996) Young adult. Publisher: Thirteen-year-old Daine has always had a knack with animals, but it’s not until she’s forced to leave home that she realizes it’s more than a knack — it’s magic. With this wild magic, not only can Daine speak to animals, but also she can make them obey her. Daine takes a job handling horses for the Queen’s Riders, where she meets the master mage Numair and becomes his student. Under Numair’s guidance, Daine explores the scope of her magic. But she begins to sense other beings too: immortals. These bloodthirsty monsters have been imprisoned in the Divine Realms for the past four hundred years, but now someone has broken the barrier. It’s up to Daine and her friends to defend their world from an immortal attack.
Available for download at Audible.com
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
Wolf Speaker is the second of Tamora Pierce's "Immortals Quartet" concerning fourteen-year-old Daine, a young woman who possesses "Wild Magic," giving her the ability to communicate with animals, heal any animal wound, and in this book, to gradually change her form into any animal she wishes. Pierce jumps straight into the story without hardly any background information, so if you are unfamiliar with the fantasy realm of Tortall, I very highly recommend that you don't begin your journey with this book: start with Wild Magic, or even better The Lioness Quartet, Pierce's first books concerning Tortall.
Daine and her mentor Numair have been sent abroad in order to investigate the disappearance of several of the Queen's Riders, and in doing so Daine receiv... Read More
The Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
The Emperor Mage is the third book in Tamora Pierce's The Immortals Quartet, and by this stage if you haven't read the previous installments (Wild Magic and Wolf Speaker) I heartily recommend that you don't start here — you'll be completely baffled. A peace delegation including Alanna the Lioness, the Gareths and other nobles from Tortall have been sent to the hot, swampy Charthak Empire in order to negotiate peace with the war-mongering Emperor Ozorne. With them is Numair, once the Emperor's best friend and now his sworn enemy, Daine, who has been chosen to come in order to heal the Emperor's beloved and sickly birds, and Kitten the baby-dragon, whom the Emperor is intensely curious about.
Although the negotiations intensely important to Tortall, considering that war with Charthak i... Read More
The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
The Realms of the Gods is the final book in Tamora Pierce's Immortals quartet, and probably the best. As one can possibly guess, it's nearly impossible for someone to begin reading this series at this book — you at least have to read Book Three: The Emperor Mage, though ideally you should have all three previous books under your belt: Wild Magic and Wolf-Speaker just to have the complete picture of what's going on here.
And what's going on is that our sixteen year old heroine and her mentor Numair are constantly on the move as they do their part for the kingdom against the hoards of immortal monsters spilling over the now-destroyed barrier between the mortal and divine realms and are mar... Read More
Circle of Magic — (1997-1999) Young adult. These books have been released in the UK with different titles: Sandry’s Book is The Magic in the Weaving, Tris’s Book is The Power in the Storm, Daja’s Book is The Fire in the Forging, Briar’s Book is The Healing in the Vines.
Publisher: This is a story about craft, about work, about magic, and most of all about the pleasure and difficulty of friendship. It begins when four young misfits with a talent for magic (and trouble!) arrive at Winding Circle Temple. Despite their differences, Sandry (the noble), Tris (the merchant girl), Daja (the trader), and Briar (the “streetrat”) find themselves bound together in a Circle of Magic — a circle they will need when they face crushing danger in a white-knuckle climax that will have listeners glued to the edge of their seats.
Available for download at Audible.com
The Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce
The Circle of Magicseries by Tamora Pierce consists of four books, but the action and characters are so intertwined that it makes sense for me to review them as a series. These are some of my favorite YA stories, and ones that make me cry every time I read them.
The Circle of Magic tells the story of four young people — Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar — who are brought to the Winding Circle Temple by Niklaren Goldeye, a powerful mage who has had visions of each one of these young people. Sandry he rescues from a city destroyed by plague. Tris he finds at a small temple, where her family has abandoned her because of her temper. Daja is the lone survivor of a storm that destroyed her Trader family’s fleet, and Niko finds her clinging to a raft in the open ocean. Briar is a street rat and thief about to be sentenced to the docks when Niko intercedes... Read More
Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce
This volume is the second in a four-part series called Circle of Magic and is also titled The Power in the Storm. Set in a fantasy realm over a one-year period, Tamora Pierce tells the story of four young mages who are brought together to live at the temple community of Winding Circle, to control and properly use their various powers.
The children couldn't be more different, but their studies bring them closer together till they are bonded magically (unbeknown to their four mentors), each sharing in the other's unique magic. Pierce claims that her inspiration comes from the olde-world handicrafts that are dying from our own world, such as weaving and metalcraft. Such things are channeled through into the mage's powers, with the exception of Tris who is a 'weather witch' and can hear voices on the wind.
Summersea ... Read More
Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce
Daja’s Book is the third book in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series, which has also been published as The Fire In The Forging. The quartet of books centers around the trials and tribulations of four teenage mages, separated for a variety of reasons from their families and brought to live together at Winding Circle in order to control their magic and hone their crafts. With each one roughly collaborating with an element (obviously fire, in this case), the four students form a strong bond together when they find that their unique magics can be combined and unleashed in unexpected ways. It is this extraordinary friendship that emerges between the four impossibly different young people that forms the backbone and major theme of the series.
Sandry, Briar, Tris and Daja (who by now ... Read More
Briar's Book by Tamora Pierce
Briar's Book, the last book in the Circle of Magic quartet (also published as The Healing in the Vine) is perhaps one of Tamora Pierce's best novels. Unlike her other series, which deal with battles, magic, fantasy creatures, revolution and politics, Briar's Book centers something very mundane by comparison: a plague. Yet Pierce incorporates within the story all her powerful themes of love and friendship, pain and suffering, grief and hope, and humanity's capabilities for both good and evil that make her one of the best YA fantasy writers out there.
Briar Moss (who is unique among the cannon of Pierce's books considering he is her only male protagonist thus far) has spent almost a year at Discipline Cottage, Winding Circle and out of all of the young m... Read More
Protector of the Small — (1999-2002) Young adult. Publisher: In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan (known as Kel) is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits females to train for knighthood. But Kel is not a girl to underestimate…
Available for download at Audible.com
First Test by Tamora Pierce
Throughout Tamora Pierce's range of fantasy books, the Protector of the Small quartet is unique, mainly because it is not primary a fantasy series, but a school story — more akin to the likes of Enid Blyton's Naughtiest Girl in the School or Mallory Towers. This may seem like an odd thing to say, but on close inspection I think you'll find it's true. Though there are fantasy elements present, the main narrative of the book is concerned with topic that you find in other books of the school-story genre (including Harry Potter), including school bullies, malevolent teachers, homework assignments, camaraderie among peers, "hazing" younger students, and even sporting tournaments (though Pierce replaces cricket or... Read More
Page by Tamora Pierce
Keladry of Mindelin (or "Kel" to her friends ) has completed her first year of training to be a knight, and conquered the unfair probation that the training-master Wyldon inflicted on her. Now she hopes she can finally get on with her life-long dream of following in Lady-Knight Alanna's footsteps, and take the next step in becoming a knight of Tortall.
But things are never as easy as that, and there are still those among her who are determined to see her fail. Yet, as in her first year, Kel is helped by old friends Neal, Merric, Owen, Cleon and Prince Roald, her stallion Peachblossom and the flock of friendly sparrows outside her window. As well as this are two new allies; the timid maid Lalasa whom Kel takes into her employment, and Jump the mongrel who has 'adopted' Kel as his own. When the year starts the work begins, along with page-duties of serving the court, summer camps in the wilderness, skirmishes w... Read More
Squire by Tamora Pierce
Keladry of Mindelin (or "Kel" as she's better known) has finally completed her page training, passed her exams and conquered the ongoing bullying that's plagued her since she first signed up to become a Lady Knight. Now that she is a squire, she's eager to begin her duties under a knight of the realm — and is shocked and awed when Raoul of Goldenlake offers to take her on. Anyone who has read the Song of the Lioness quartet knows how much of a legend he is in Tortall. Soon the two are a close knit-team, as Kel accompanies him to bandit-raided villages and centaur populated lands. Soon she's learning through experience, with the grim realities of living rough and dispensing justice to criminals becoming an everyday occurrence — and there's still the same old prejudice against a female squire.
As the book progresses, Kel comes up against many varied obstacles, such as... Read More
Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
Finally, Keladry of Mindelin ("Kel" to her friends) has completed her training and been dubbed Lady Knight of Tortall in this final installment of The Protector of the Small quartet. She's conquered bullies, prejudice, kidnappings, skirmishes, the skepticism of Lord Wyldon, and the terrifying Ordeal; the chamber that all squires must endure if they are to be knighted. She's all ready to throw her weight into the Scanran War, especially considering the vision that the Chamber of Ordeal granted her: Kel knows the identity and appearance of the man who is behind the monstrous killing machines that have been plaguing her people. Made from the iron-covered bones of giants and geared by the trapped spirits of children, the terrible machines are creating severe losses for Tortall and Kel is eager to be rid of them once and for all.
But her superiors have other ideas, and ... Read More
The Circle Opens — (2000-2003) Young adult. Publisher: Lady Sandrilene fa Toren is a noble girl whose thread magic wove together the power — and the personal bonds — of four young magicians. Now, Lady Sandrilene is on her own and saddled with teaching magic to a restless boy, safeguarding her uncle’s health, and tracking down a brutal murderer.
Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce
Magic Steps is the first book of the Tamora Pierce quartet entitled The Circle Opens. Featuring the characters of The Circle of Magic quartet, this new series continues their story by exploring how each of the four main characters — just coming to grips with their powers in the previous books — now handle the challenge of becoming teachers themselves. Unfortunately, Pierce has decided that one of the prerequisites of this new experience is that the four protagonists — Sandry, Briar, Daja and Tris — must be separated in order to focus on the new relationships that they forge with their students. Therefore, Magic Steps opens with the acknowledgement that Briar, Tris and Daja have set off (separately) with their teachers in order to travel to cer... Read More
Street Magic by Tamora Pierce
It's ironic that feminist writer Tamora Pierce's only male character, the self-named Briar Moss, is one of her best characters. Amongst the rest of the mainly female cast, his charisma, street smarts and ongoing inner conflict between his younger, wilder instincts, and his older, more civilized self, makes him one of the most lovable and well-rounded characters in the Circle of Magic series.
The first four books gathered together four magical protégées: aristocratic Sandry, moody bookworm Tris, stoic Daja, and street-rat Briar, all of whom have complimentary powers that allowed them to perform startling acts of magic. Underlying their feats are the strength of the friendship and the bonds of trust that they forge, making the original four books one of the most touching examples of a self-made foster family in young adult literature, particularly... Read More
Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce
The Circle Opens quartet deals with the ongoing adventures of the four Winding Circle students as they themselves become the teachers to new (and even younger) apprentices. Sadly, one of the prerequisites of this teaching experience is that the four friends are separated, as became clear in Magic Steps, in which we learn from Sandry that Briar, Tris and Daja have left on far-flung journeys with their respective teachers in order to improve their own magical crafts. As such, the wonderful friendship that was the heart and soul of the previous quartet (Circle of Magic) is put on hiatus as the four make new friends, become teachers and deepen the relationship between themselves and their mentors.
Daja (still sporting the copper-cover hand that she earned in Daja's ... Read More
Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce
This, the fourth and final installment in the THE CIRCLE OPENS quartet is itself a sequel to Tris’s Book in the original CIRCLE OF MAGIC series. There, the reader was introduced to four immensely powerful but untrained young mages: aristocratic Sandry, stoic Daja, street-rat Briar and outcast Trisana, called "Tris" for short. In a departure from her usual action-adventure stories, Tamora Pierce concentrated on character for this particular series, describing how this disparate group of youngsters was brought to the safety of the Winding Circle temple in order to learn how to control their abilities. Over the course of the four books, the children formed an unbreakable bond with each other and with the teachers that are still guiding them toward mastery of their craft and the responsibilities of adulthood.
With this new seri... Read More
Daughter of the Lioness (Trickster) — Young adult. (2003-2004) Publisher: Tamora Pierce brings readers another Tortall adventure! Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the first lady knight in Tortall. Young Aly follows in the quieter footsteps of her father, however, delighting in the art of spying. When she is captured and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family in the faraway Copper Islands, it is this skill that makes a difference in a world filled with political intrigue, murderous conspiracy, and warring gods.
Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
The last time we saw Alianne of Pirate’s Swoop was briefly in Wild Magic, as a little girl of about five. Now she’s sixteen, and the true product of her parents: Alanna the King’s Champion and George Cooper, the King’s Spymaster. Although she’s eager to take her place amongst the adults of her world, honing her gifts as a spy, she’s also perfectly content to spend her time relaxing, flirting and mischief-making — much to the disappointment of her mother.
After a particularly uncomfortable squabble with her mother over her prospects for the future, Aly decides to sail her boat to her friends’ estate for a while till her fiery mother cools down. However, Aly didn’t count on the pirates prowling the coast, who capture her and put her on sale as a slave within a few pages! This of course, is where the story really starts. Aly is approached by t... Read More
Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
Trickster's Queen is the sequel to Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Choice and (so far) the first set of books that are not quartets, but a simple duet. It is also by far her longest book, and in her acknowledgements she credits that to J.K. Rowling due to the fact that the Harry Potter books are so thick. Both books take place in Pierce's Tortall universe, though are situated on the Copper Isles rather than Tortall as in the Alanna, Immortals, and Protector of the Small quartets — which I recommend you read before tackling these books just to have the proper background and history... Read More
The Provost’s Dog (Beka Cooper) — (2006-2011) Young adult. Publisher: Tamora Pierce begins a new Tortall trilogy introducing Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who lived 200 years before Pierce’s popular Alanna character. For the first time, Pierce employs first-person narration in a novel, bringing readers even closer to a character that they will love for her unusual talents and tough personality.
Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost’s Guard, and she’s been assigned to the Lower City. It’s a tough beat that’s about to get tougher, as Beka’s limited ability to communicate with the dead clues her in to an underworld conspiracy. Someone close to Beka is using dark magic to profit from the Lower City’s criminal enterprises — and the result is a crime wave the likes of which the Provost’s Guard has never seen before.
Available for download at Audible.com
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
In Terrier Tamora Pierce tells the story of Rebekah "Beka" Cooper, an ancestor of George Cooper who was the City's Rogue in the time of Alanna (a setting and characters familiar to readers of her other novels). Beka is starting her first year as a trainee Dog, known as a Puppy (these are nicknames for the Provost's Guard — the force that keeps peace in the city of Corus). She is assigned to the Dog team of Tunstall and Goodwin, two of the best Dogs in the Evening Watch — and two who have never before taken a Puppy.
Beka has her work cut out as Tunstall and Goodwin begin her training, never letting her forget that she may have knowledge but that experience is all on the streets of the Lower City. So when Beka starts sniffing out two linked plots — one to mine the City of precious fire opals, and one to steal away the Rat's children as blackm... Read More
The Song of the Lioness (Alanna) — (1983-1988) Young adult. Publisher: Becoming a legend is not easy, as young Alanna of Trebond discovers when she disguises herself as a boy and begins training to be a knight. Alanna’s skills and stubbornness help her befriend Prince Jonathan and alienate his evil uncle, Duke Roger. Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, this book is a rousing introduction to the intensely satisfying story of Alanna.
The Circle Reforged — (2005-2013) Young adult. Publisher: For years the Empress of Namorn has pressed her young cousin, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, to visit her vast lands within the Empire’s borders. Sandry has avoided the invitation for as long as it was possible. Now Sandry has agreed to pay that overdue visit. Sandry’s uncle promises guards to accompany her. But they’re hardly a group of warriors! They’re her old friends from Winding Circle: Daja, Tris, and Briar. Sandry hardly knows them now. They’ve grown up and grown apart. Sandry isn’t sure they’ll ever find their old connection again — or if she even wants them to.
Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales — (2011) Young adult. Publisher: Collected here for the first time are all of the 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.