Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tamora Pierce, thirty years of fantasy.. And I just found her!

So, for the last four years my friend has been hounding me to read Tamora Pierce. I was reluctant.. the covers are ... boring. Yes, I know. I am a librarian and I shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  Pierce's first book "Alanna The First Adventure" was printed in 1983. I was two years old. Growing up, I never heard about Tortall or Pierce.

Two years ago, I found Sarah Maas, who writes the Throne of Glass series and the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I am completely obsessed and I wanted to find something else that had strong female characters and magic. So, very quietly so my friend did not know, I picked up "Beka Cooper Terrier" by Tamora Pierce.

Two weeks later, I now own all of Pierce's books (thank you eBay!). I finished the Beka Cooper trilogy and started Alanna. They are really good. I wish my school work (darn me for decided to go back to college) wouldn't interfere with my reading time! I am highly motivated to get my homework done so I can read though!

Beka Cooper wants to be a Provost's Dog, the Tortall version of a policeman. They don't use swords, they use two food long, lead lined batons. She is entering her puppy training, the year she follows around a pair of seasoned Dogs. Though magic is real in Tortall, not everyone has it. Beka  is no mage, but she can talk to ghosts that ride the back of pigeons. There's also a purple eyed cat that talks.

Beka's pigeons reveal a dastardly plot involving murdered children and miners being killed. They happen to be two different things going on, and Beka convinces her partners to help find the murderers.

The official jacket description is:
Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost's Guard, and she's been assigned to the Lower City. It's a tough beat that's about to get tougher, as Beka's limited ability to communicate with the dead clues her in to an underworld conspiracy. Someone close to Beka is using dark magic to profit from the Lower City's criminal enterprises--and the result is a crime wave the likes of which the Provost's Guard has never seen before.

I can't actually explain why, but this book just grabbed me. There's enough humor in it. I laughed sometimes.. The speech sometimes was very interesting. Beka is a strong character who knows what she wants, but I love the way she is shy in front of people. The second book takes place after Beka graduates to full fledged dog, and the third book takes place three years after the events of book 2. This really is a fantastic author. I can't wait to finish reading all of them! 

The Ranger's Apprentice series returns, starring Halt and Crowley!

When Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late. By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne. 

Yet when Halt and Crowley arrive in Gorlan, they discover just how close Morgarath’s scheme is to success. Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won.

When I first read about this book, I couldn't believe it! Finally! We get to learn more about Halt's history! Okay well, not really. Not yet at least.

 The book starts as Morgarath is starting to take over Araluen. The king is imprisoned "for his own safety" as supposedly Prince Duncan tried to assassinate him. Duncan is off in the wilds of the north raiding and pillaging and causing all sorts of problems. Morgarath managed to fire all the Rangers and in their place put stupid saps.

 This is where the story starts, as Crowley and Halt are on the run from Morgarath's soldiers. Of course, they run into mayhem and find new friends. They track down the twelve former Rangers who were fired in hopes of finding Duncan and freeing the king and confronting Morgarath. Things never happen the way they should, though. Concealing themselves inside Gorlan, during a huge tournament that Morgarath has once a year, they wait for the perfect time to take Morgarath down.

Oh, hey this is where Halt meets Lady Pauline :)

I'm thrilled that Flanagan has taken his world in this direction. I loved the original Rangers Apprentice series. I thought the Brotherband Chronicles were awesome. Even though I care absolutely nothing about sailing, I never lost interest in the books. And here we have young Halt and Crowley, trying to save the country, but from the beginning. Love it!