Underappreciated Author: Tamora Pierce

I hope that this will be the first part in a long-running series, inspired by my time working in a bookshop. One of the my favourite parts about working in said bookshop (and I’m not going to lie, there were a lot of amazing parts) was getting to recommend my favourite books to people, and then watching them fall in love with said books. While I will always get a kick about discussing Harry Potter with a child who has just started falling in love with a series, there is something particularly special about recommending a book that it is unlikely a person would have picked up otherwise. These books aren’t mainstream the way Harry Potter or Percy Jackson are; they are truly incredible stories that, for one reason or another, haven’t made quite as big a mark.

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I decided to start this series with an author who is one of my top three favourite authors: Tamora Pierce.I honestly can’t remember when I first started reading Tamora Pierce; she has been such a constant that it almost feels like I have been reading her incredible books since the day I was born. She is a fairly prolific writer, but don’t be put off by the impressive number of books she has written – while many are related or interconnected, they aren’t all sequential! She writes in two distinct worlds, and within these two worlds  there are numerous different series. A friend and I have had many a long-winded discussion about which series is our favourite, and the small references to earlier characters can provide a delightful little jolt as you are reading a later series.

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I think the easiest way to explain why I love Tamora Pierce’s books would be to say that there is something about them that feels incredibly real, despite the many incredible, fantastic elements they contain. It’s not just that her characters are diverse, which they are – she writes characters of almost every age, gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, and religion – but that they experience real, mundane everyday problems. They get cold, and hungry, and sore; they get into stupid fights and struggle with their emotions; both male and female characters have to deal with finding contraceptives, and their sexuality and there sexual choices, whatever they may be, are never suggested to be in any way wrong. When I was younger I remember being absolutely gobsmacked when one of her characters had to deal with getting her period; it was so rare to read about that in any sort of fantasy or adventure tale, something that bothers me to this day. These things, while relatively small, have an amazing ability on the ability of the reader to relate to the characters, and they grounded the incredible, fantastical worlds that Tamora created.

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All of the incredible fan art included in this post was sourced from minuiko.tumblr.com.

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