Have you ever read a book that just stayed with you, no matter how long ago you read it?
A book or series that still makes you cry even though you know it almost word for word? For me, that series is Song of the Lioness Quartet
by Tamora Pierce
, and every time I read it I am grateful for all the lessons it taught me growing up; lessons I still remember and try to teach.
The first book in the quartet is Alanna and was written in 1983, the year I was born, which could explain why it is so very fantastic. I first read the series in sixth grade and devoured them quickly. I read and reread them, and kept up with each new series that was set in the fantasy land of Tortall. I loved the books so much that each time there was a new cover art set (usually as it passed publishing hands) I would buy the entire set again. I currently have four sets of what I fondly call the Lioness Quartet and I try to read them at least once a year.
So what makes these books so special, books that I recommend to everyone who asks for suggestions whether young or old, male or female? First of all, I absolutely love the equality found in these books. It is equality that does not put down one over another
(a crazy idea, yet one I see repeated over and over in today's society), but showcases the strengths of the men and women, the children and the adults in the land.
The book does not shy away from fleshing out weaknesses and struggles either, giving insight in how to approach bullies, learn from our mistakes and actions, and even learning to love every part of yourself and seeing the gifts each person brings.
Alanna is a girl desperate for adventure and longing to be a knight.
The quartet is set in the fantasy kingdom of Tortall, in a time when knights go on gallant adventures, and some are imbued with the "Gift" of magic. The book feels very much like reading a medieval lore, where magic is real and conversing with different gods is more the norm than the exception. I love how there are many different, rich cultures, each with their corresponding deities just as the cultures in our world have different mythologies.
Her twin brother Thom just wants to become the greatest wizard the land has ever known, yet their widower father is set to send him to the palace to learn the fighting arts and send his daughter to become a proper lady. Alanna and Thom switch places, but as Thom mentions later he gets the better end of the deal as he doesn't have to spend years deceiving those around him like Alanna, or Alan, does to become a knight. On her path to reach knighthood she makes friends with kings and princes, men and women, knights and thieves, and each help her learn and grow into herself as a knight and eventually as a woman. Alanna's road is not easy as she is gifted with both the ability to heal, through magic, and to protect and kill as a knight.To this day Alanna remains my favorite fictional female character and Tamora Pierce holds a high place in my favorite author shelf.
Her books peppered my imagination throughout my childhood and even today, my greatest daydreams include many of her characters.
Ashley Elrod is a wife, mother of 4, and avid bibliophile (someone who loves to read, admire, and collect books).
From time-to-time Ashley will be sharing with us some of her antics. From stand-out reads to things that make her beloved, unique, and a name to remember; especially, within circles where she is known and loved best. Just wait and see, Ashley is one of those women you'll grow to admire simply because she is who she is unapologetic-ally. She is also the Co-Founder of Seek Like Kings with her husband: https://www.facebook.com/seeklikekings/
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