Disclosure: All links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click and purchase an item.
As I’ve said for like the third time now, my favorite author of all time is Tamora Pierce. I have read her fantasy novels since I was young and enjoy them to this day as adults. There really is no age limit when it comes to enjoying her books–but they are especially powerful for growing girls who need examples to live by as they mature.
I have reread them countless times. And I look up to her as a novelist because I likewise want to be a published author someday. Even though she’s “known,” she’s pretty underrated actually in the fantasy genre, so I am here to shower praise upon her work and promote her since she recently dropped a new book, Tempests and Slaughter!
She’s a super talented, cool lady whom you can follow on Twitter, but if you have never ready any of her stories, you have to give them a try, and here are the reasons you should–the signs that make me sure you would enjoy her novels!
5 – You love fantasy novels, shows, ALL things fantasy
Okay, this one is pretty obvious but if you love the genre of fantasy, whether it’s through fantasy novels, movies, or TV shows, then you are going to like Tamora Pierce. You like Game of Thrones? Her Tortallan series (as in the stories take place in a fictional world called Tortall) likewise take place in a medieval-inspired setting (okay, that’s a bit of a stretch because there’s less gore, no incest, and all that–so sorry to disappoint you). You like Harry Potter? There’s magic and mythical beasts here, as well. Plus that camaraderie! You like Narnia? Lord of the Rings? Then you would like Tamora Pierce’s fantasy novels because…
4 – You like to dive into complex imaginary worlds
The best part about fantasy novels is diving into a new world–one that is so realistic and complex like your own but better. You know Middle-Earth. It’s a complex world that requires maps to help you navigate. There are maps for the fictional world of Middle-Earth. And this actually excites you.
Then you will be happy to know that there are two complex worlds in Tamora Pierce novels that come alive from all the detail and thought put into them. You can read her series that takes place in Tortall, which is a more medieval type of land and my preferred one, or you can read the one that takes place in Emelan, which is more magical if that is your thing. Both are great and come with helpful maps and even glossaries at the end for all her creative terms. They are two separate worlds that will take you out of this world as thoroughly as possible. Jump through that portal!
If you want to know which fantasy world you belong in, take my quiz here.
3 – You admire strong female leads
Growing up, there weren’t that many options for books with strong female leads (and I don’t mean side-leads but lead leads) who could do anything boys could do. If there were any female protagonists, they would mostly be focused on quite… “female” problems like boys, school, looks, whatever, which was fine. I liked those reads, as well. But discovering Tamora Pierce was amazing because all of her novels (excluding the ones about Numair and Briar) feature incredibly strong women front and center. They are fierce. They are noble. They are brilliant. They are likable and hardworking. I love them. And even her books with male protagonists show basically how men… should be? They’re thoughtful, they’re kind, they’re respectful of everyone regardless of gender, race, social status, anything–basically a decent human being.
If you want strong female leads and you like reading about them kicking ass (okay, I try not to curse on this blog but that’s kind of mild… right?), then pick up ALL of her books NOW.
2 – You like YA books that are well-written
Even though YA books have been growing in popularity immensely over the last few years and adults are proudly exhibiting these books with pride, they still have a bit of a bad rep. They’re not considered meaningful, deep, or well-written. And yes… not all of them are great, but whether you believe this or not, if you are looking for a YA book that is intricately and beautifully written, then read her books! The action is detailed and vivid, quotes are memorable and striking, characters are alive and relatable. She doesn’t stuff too much into one book or try to drag out a story through multiple installations. The pacing is usually perfect.
1 – You like YA books that are real & diverse
What’s especially striking is the realism. She doesn’t particularly sugarcoat anything. None of the characters get through their hardships through luck or being the chosen one or anything like that–they know what they want or what they absolutely have to do and they go full speed ahead. The journey can be painful, the characters may have to be meticulous and perfect, but they get it all done, which is incredibly inspiring because the challenges and how they are faced are realistic. She also tackles topics like exploring sexuality in a healthy way for young women, social class, patriarchy, sexual harassment, politics, and more in a way that is easy to understand and relate to.
Diversity is another plus here. Tamora Pierce has a clear appreciation for foreign cultures from the way she incorporates them into her novels. As mentioned before, she creates a whole world filled with different countries that are representative of actual countries. For example, the Yamani are the Japanese, and heroine Kel, who lives there for most of her childhood, is an expert at the naginata. Most of the diverse leads are in the Emelan series, though, actually. Tamora Pierce also does not shy away from having lesbian couples or bringing up the negative reactions to homosexuality as men train for their knighthood.
Are you now convinced and ready to give her a try? Then purchase the very first book that you should totally start off with (because that’s what she started off with), Alanna: The First Adventure. My favorite quartet is Protector of the Small and favorite character is the protagonist of that quartet, Kel. Yes, it’s a quartet, but when asked what my favorite book is, I just want to say Protector of the Small–like all of it. If you want to start off with that, you don’t necessarily have to go in order but there may be small spoilers because all of them are interrelated to a degree.
If you already know and love Tamora Pierce’s fantasy novels, which is your favorite series and who is your favorite character?