I love reading fantasy books. I don’t care what anyone else says, I like to be swept away into different worlds, whether they have aliens (Star Wars books, Anne McCaffrey), magicians/wizards (Patricia Wrede, Robin McKinley, Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling), or dragon riders (McCaffrey, Naomi Novik). Somewhere magical. Remember, something doesn’t have to be full of magic (as in wizard magic) in order to be magical. One definition of magical, remember, is “to be mysteriously enchanting”.
Now, if I can’t be mysteriously enchanting, myself, then I’d like to go somewhere like that, in my mind. That’s what books are for, right? To take you on adventures to place that you’d never go, otherwise? Why should it be Timbuktu, anymore than Coruscant or Tortall? I’m always telling people, don’t judge a book by the genre. Well, one specific aspect of that is… don’t diss a good story, just because it has fantastical elements. Expect the fantastic. And let your mind sweep you away!
I could go on about some of the aforementioned authors for… well, a long time, but I’ll spare you that. Just recently, I’ve been rereading some books by Tamora Pierce. Well, reading AND rereading. I’ve been reading, for the first time, Alanna: The First Adventure and Wild Magic. Ok, there’s the tiniest chance that I read the Alanna book, back when I was in my teens, but the memory is so vague, I’m not sure if it’s accurate. So we’ll just say that I hadn’t read it before. But though I picked those books up from the library, the ones I was really after, were her Trickster books.
Several years ago, I came across Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen, and I fell in love with those stories. Never judge a book by its cover? I’m pretty sure the awesome cover art is what caught my attention, originally, but it was the story that pulled me in, the rest of the way.
Unlike most teenagers, you’re introduced to Aly Cooper, when she shows off her newly blue hair to her father, and jokes about the “emptiness of life” being why students do that. But it’s all in fun, and I find it an amusing opening. She doesn’t go against her parents, even if she doesn’t agree with them or always understand them. After all, Aly is living in the shadow of her mother, Sir Alanna the Lioness, the King’s Champion, and finds it hard. Her father, Tortall’s spymaster, understands Aly, and yet, neither of her parents are willing to let her embark on the career she wishes for… to be a spy, like her dad.
So, does she openly rebel against her parents, after they absolutely refuse her request? No, she goes for a sail in her yacht, to visit some neighbors down the coast… and gets picked up by some pirates. The adventures begin, as Aly figures out how to protect herself (and her identity) as she’s sold into slavery. She arrives in the Copper Isles, to work with the Balitang family, and discovers a conspiracy is afoot. And then, the Trickster god Kyprioth steps in, and offers her a wager. Will she take it? Can she look after the twice-royal Balitang daughters, Sarai and Dove, and see that they live out the summer? And will her accumulated knowledge, during these adventures, eventually convince her parents that she truly was meant for this work?
And this isn’t even mentioning the crows! I love the crows. You’ve got to love a crow-turned-man that can’t figure out why offering a girl some grubs to eat isn’t winning her heart. So, while you decide whether to give these books a try, I’m looking forward to reading the next two in the Alanna (In the Hand of the Goddess) and Immortals (Wolf-Speaker) series, which I just picked up at the library. Oh, and I also got book 6 of the Tomorrow series (Burning for Revenge), by John Marsden, so I’m all set for… two or three days.