The rebellion that began in Trickster’s Choice reaches its climax (and conclusion) in Trickster’s Queen. Whilst the speed of the story really picks up, it is still filled with Aly’s humour and wit. There are still moments of beauty and enjoyment amongst the dramatic events of rebellion. The connections that the characters make to one another, and the loyalty that they feel jumps from the pages, and will suck you into their world further and further with every word.
Of all the women in Tamora Pierce's world of Tortall, Aly is the one that I always most identified with as a teenager. As someone who, as a teenager, never quite fit in, was more than a little difficult, and found that a lot of my peers often looked at me a little funny, Aly seemed like a literary version of myself. Albeit without a sword welding mother, and a talent for daggers and subterfuge.
Kitten is such a beautiful character – not only because she is a dragon, but she constantly helps Daine throughout her journeys in The Immortals Quartet. But, since, she isn’t able to communicate with her foster parents, it’s kind of hard to understand how she truly feels about what is happening around her. The Dragon’s Tale shows us Daine and Numair years down the track, and also gives Kitten a beautifully strong voice.
I liked the intersection of The Hidden Girl with Elder Brother. It is subtle and only a fleeting moment, but it looks at a culture and a non-Tortallan country from two vastly different standpoints. Yet, both put forward a woman’s plight and fight for power. The Hidden Girl is a great reminder that we all go about things in our own ways, and there is not one right was in which to find power in your own world.
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.
I am madly in love with the idea of Darkings. They combine a childlike innocence with a wondrously devious ability to spy. Combining one of these small creatures with an abused young girl who is trying to find her way in life was a stroke of brilliance in Pierce's World of Tortall. The fact that Adria is a brilliant mathematician just makes this story all the more interesting and progressive.
Flanagan manages to do it again – he takes a well-known culture and uses it to build another fascinating world in his The Ranger’s Apprentice seires. This time, it is to the mountainous slopes of Japan and Asia that we are able to visit through such a fantastical lens. I love the vividness of the world which Flanagan has created, and the genuine level of research which he has obviously put into his work.
Will’s love and care for Halt shine throughout this next chapter in The Ranger’s Apprentice series. Mostly this is due to, as the title says, Halt’s Peril. However, it is also the first time that they truly work together since Will’s graduation into the ranks of the Rangers. While the dynamic has changed slightly, much of their relationship has remained the same, and it is fun to understand how they have transformed over the years. Especially Will.
Erak’s Ransom showed Will’s dedication to his horse, and The Roamers provided a great reminder of this – in the extent to which Will will go to rescue his dog. It is the ultimate display of affection between a man and his dog, the proverbial best friend – for both of them. Ebony is incredibly loyal and obedient (something that I still struggle to achieve with my dogs), and Will will do anything to protect her and keep her out of harm’s way.
After Halt and Horace leave for Skandia to rescue Will and Evanlyn, there is a lot that must surely have happened back in Araluen. Halt’s abandonment of his pursuit of Folcar is one such story that never really felt completely finished. After all, he was an immensely dangerous and slippery foe that really needed to be removed from the kingdom. Finally, The Inkwell and the Dagger helps to fill in the gaps about what happened in their absence. After all, the world didn’t stop moving because Halt abandoned his post.