Chelsea Haller's Reviews > Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales

Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
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Oct 05, 11

Read in April, 2011

Tamora Pierce has been entertaining teens for years, especially those who are female. Most of her books have avery strong feminine main character who struggles through the world of men to show that they are just as good as any male. Tortall and Other Lands : A Collection of Tales, doesn't focus on any particular character as it plays with many different characters in its many short stories. Many of the main characters are still female, but that is not the purpose of these stories, these stories take characters who are not centralized and puts them in a more center position.
The first short story is called “Student of Ostriches” and while it does not deal with any characters we may know from her other books it is placed in a location we are at least semi-know about. Based in the savannah outside of the Tortall kingdom with a Shang warrior making his presence known in the last third of the story. We are put into a familiar world with unfamiliar people. The basic premise of this story is learning to fight not from a teacher, but from the nature and animals around the main character. She is a mere girl who watches the savannah animals around her and learns ways to fight from them. The end of the story shows how she takes what she learns and puts it into practice to protect the honor of her sister and her family.
The second short story is “Elder Brother” and was hinted about in one of the Immortal Quartets when Mage Numair has to do a devastating bit of magic and turns an enemy into a tree. The knowledge is given that halfway around the world there would be a tree who all of a sudden was a man to keep the balance of nature. This is the story of this tree-man and how he deals with being human. Not only is the story about this, but also about a “boy” who finds him and the challenges of a world who believes females should be hidden behind veils. There are a couple of female characters in this story who show you two different views of women in this world. One wishes to escape and the other embraces it and shows the advantages of being hidden behind a veil.
The final story is completely different and is loosely based on her experience as a house mother in a group home. Showing a different side to her writing. She takes her experience and instead of telling you exactly what happened, compresses it and changes the way she handled it to fit the way her character would have handled situations. She says in her note about the story that what she writes about were similar to things that happened to her, but thankfully they had not happened over only a week long trial as what happens in her story.
While I could go through all of the stories and give you an idea of what is going on in all of them, it just isn’t as fun as actually reading the stories. The one thing these stories did all have in common is making it incessantly hard NOT to pick up Tamora Pierce’s other books again. While it is not necessary to have read all of the other books before reading this one and actually this would make a wonderful introductory book for anyone who has not read the other series yet; it does make understanding what is going on a little easier to understand. There is a story which includes Darklings and if you have not seen what they have done for the kingdom of Tortall, then there is a disconnect of why these blobs are not immediately feared and fought with.
I am a fan of Tamora Pierce and cannot wait for her next book in the Beka Cooper books. It comes out in October of this year and while I await for that one I will reread the rest of her books now that I have a taste of the stories again in my mind. Love it when a book makes me want to read the rest of the series again (and thankfully they are not very long… well most of them).
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