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.
Coming of age stories have a lot of power to them – after all, everybody comes of age in some way or another, and at some point. There are a multitude of ways and traditions which allow children to become adults. Time of Proving is one such story, it is short and succinct, yet, the idea of coming of age and finding one’s path in life is pursued and memories of childhood and the decisions we made on that cusp of adulthood flash back at you as you read this short story.
I can’t imagine being in a position that I am forced to spend my teenage years in a group home. But, it is a recurring idea in many stories, and the idea that one of my favourite authors actually acted as a housemother for young girls in this situation adds to the interest that I feel at such a horrible situation. However, although this story focuses upon these girls, it is not a sad, depressing or even pitiful story. Rather, this short story will leave you smiling and giggling at the not-so-nice antics of these young women.
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.
This is an incredibly sweet little story. It is about a girl who doesn’t quite want to grow up, and the power of our connection to nature. Both aspects of which I can relate to entirely. After all, who really wants to grow up and take on the mantle of responsibility?
It is hard enough growing up, finding your place in high school and just generally not making too much of a fool of yourself when puberty strikes. Now, imagine doing this with a family that believes in witchcraft. A family that is not quite what everyone else would consider as normal. Pierce uses this extreme to remind us to not only stay true to ourselves, but how truly difficult it can be to come of age in today’s world and society.
There is nothing like visiting a world that you have loved since childhood, and Tortall and Other Lands is a great way in which to do this. Yet, it isn’t just about Tortall, Pierce tells stories about womanhood, coming of age and overcoming odds in spite of everything that can happen. It is this great range of stories that will enthral and captivate any reader again and again and again.
What a stunning conclusion to an already amazing quartet. Daine’s heritage, war and place in life are finally cemented by her trip to the realm of the gods – literally. Even her powers fully come to the fore in this tale as she grasps who she is and what she is able to do. Finally, the Immortals War reaches its conclusion, Daine becomes an adult and Ozorne is bought to justice.
The politics of war perplex me, for example, you’re not technically at war until both sides admit that you are – at least, that’s one of the main things that I learnt from The Emperor Mage. That, and you really shouldn’t piss off someone with power. Or underestimate them for that matter.
This is such a beautiful, sweet and inspiring story. Daine’s strength and moxie shine through as she fights to help rescue her friends and extended family. The vividness of the world in which she places herself and her strength of character just shine from the pages as the depth of danger in which Daine and Numair find themselves deepens.