Title: Elder Brother
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: The Immortals Quartet #2.5, Tortall #14
In: Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection (Tamora Pierce)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Animagus, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: At last she stood and waded into the cold water, wincing.
The story takes up events from Wolf-Speaker, namely Numair Salmalín’s turning Tristan Staghorn into a tree. After doing so he said to Veralidaine Sarrasri that somewhere else in the world a tree was changed into a human. Elder Brother depicts this changed tree’s, his name is Qiom, first steps in the human world. Numair repeatedly talks to Qiom in his sleep, giving him tips on how to handle this new life. Qiom had some difficulty in adjusting to it, because this human body was new to him and he didn’t know how he was supposed to behave as and around a human. In his early days he met Fadal, who decided to accompany Qiom and became his friend.
I love reading stories about how difficult it is to be human, and to understand all of the weird little social cues that we insist on performing. Although, writing a story about this in a way that is interesting and still flows well can be difficult. Sometimes, when trying to re-explain our actions, the words come of contrived and false. But, as with everything Pierce writes, this is not the case.
Finding out what happened to the tree-turned-man after the wonderous conclusion of Wolf-Speaker is definitely an interesting angle for a short story. Numair’s feeling of responsibility over his actions also help to further endear himself to me. Qiom’s struggles feel so real and confusing, and it is only when he meets Fadal that you gain the first glimpses into his possible future.
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