Adventure, magic, and plenty of good ol’ fashioned girl power. If you’re like me, you’ve been obsessed with Tamora Pierce’s books since the tweenage years. Raise your hand if you used to brandish an imaginary sword, pretend you had thread/smith/plant/weather/wild magic, or if you wrote your college entrance essay about how the books affected you as a human. (Guilty on all three accounts.)
From Tortall to the Winding Circle, these are books we carried with us. They make you feel like you can do anything, like there’s a grand adventure ahead of you. They bring you courage in those life moments when you have to stand up for yourself or for others. And they make you feel like being a girl is the coolest thing in the universe.
Not to mention, Pierce doesn’t shy away from any topic. Periods, same-sex couples, misogyny, systemic racism — she paints imaginary landscapes that mirror the challenges of reality. Among all the thrills of adventure, you learn things about yourself when you read her books. You get invested in problems that are true to life. You feel like you have the power to change the parts of the world that aren’t noble, or fair, or right.
Knights, mages, thieves, gods, spies, talking animals, mythical creatures; Pierce’s books are stuffed with kickass characters and innovative creations. Even as a supposed adult, I am constantly coming across moments when life would be so much better if we lived in Pierce’s world.
When You See an Animal Being a Weirdo and Want the Scoop
Animals in Pierce’s books often have special relationships with humans, especially in the Immortals series, when Daine uses her wild magic to talk with animals. The possibilities of this power are endless. We could find out Pizza Rat's real thoughts! Or hear whatever smack talk squirrels say to each other.
Besides nothing sounds better than being able to come home and get life advice from your dog. Or to gossip about people with your cat, like Alanna and Faithful do in the Song of the Lioness quartet.
When You're Really Sick But Still Have Stuff to Do
In the Tortall books, many of the characters have the Gift, which allows them to, among other uses, heal. Alanna is often guilty of using her Gift to heal herself when she’s not feeling 100 percent but still needs to get knight training things done. I would probably abuse this ability: I’m a lady on the go, I don’t have time to be sick right now.
When You Have to Mess Around with Birth Control
Looking back at the books as an adult, one of the most enviable moments is in Alanna: The First Adventure when Alanna gets her first period and Mistress Cooper gives her a charm necklace that will keep her from getting pregnant. That’s it. No pills, IUDs, or condoms. No insurance problems, side effects, or Congress debates. Just a little piece of jewelry that is 100 percent effective and hassle-free. Why aren't we making these, again?
When You're Scrolling Through Dating Sites
Dating certainly isn’t perfect for the characters in Pierce’s stories, but the options are so much cooler than in real life. In the Song of the Lioness alone, Alanna is involved with the king of thieves, the heir to the throne, and the hand-fighting champion of the world. (Though, let’s be real, who wouldn’t swipe right on George Cooper STAT?) Daine and Numair fall in destined shapeshifter love (eventually). In the Trickster series, Aly’s love-interest is a man who was originally a crow — there’s probably not a box for that on OkCupid.
Meanwhile, I keep getting matched with people who haven’t even completed one heroic, kingdom-saving feat.
When Someone's Being a Grade-A Jerk
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just walk up to Donald Trump, whip out your sword, and challenge him to a duel for the honor of the kingdom? Pierce’s characters are constantly standing up to bullies and jerks of all ages and statures. Using swords, magic, and pure spunk, they fight for a world in which people who are good and kind are revered and successful, while the people who seek to harm others are cast aside. In real life, it is of course possible to stand up for what’s right, but it doesn’t have quite as much impact or flair as it does in the books.