Title: Plain Magic
Author: Tamora Pierce
In: Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection (Tamora Pierce)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Medieval fantasy, Strong women
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Bored and lonely, I wandered into the village and found an unexpected arrival.
Tonya is supposed to be a sacrificial virgin, but she doesn’t want to follow the village’s traditions. Luckily, a passing traveller helps her out and introduces her to a bright, new world.
This was a fantastic spin on the traditional sacrificing a virgin to the dragon story. Like all of Pierce’s stories, Plain Magic champions the strength of women and integrity over all else. Tonya’s frustration at being trapped in a small village where her mentors refuse to teach her only heighten the inequality and strength of Tonya’s character. As the sacrificial virgin, she contrasts against every ideal that these tales normally purport for such a symbol – she is not malleable, completely pure, or helpless.
Lindri’s acts of plain magic and willingness to teach Tonya beautifully contrast the stubborn and unyielding attitudes of the villagers. Even Tonya’s own father is willing to submit to the folly of sacrificing his daughter to a creature to save the village. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and the story has a wonderful, if not completely expected, happy ending.
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