Friday, May 18, 2012


For the 2012 blogging from A to Z challenge, I'm writing to the theme of book series that I love. Mostly science fiction and fantasy, with a few others thrown in.

Oh hell yes, that's right. The A to Z challenge is back. I know it was a month of April challenge, but I didn't finish it and I had an entire freaking alphabet of series novels planned to discuss. So I'm going to finish it by golly.

And if you make me say "by golly" then I'm going to do it because seriously, how often do I fling around phrases that old?

The Immortals was the second series out of the realm of Tortall by Tamora Pierce. I completely and totally fell in love with Alanna in the Song of the Lioness Quartet when I was a preteen and so I gobbled up the Immortals when they arrived on the shelves even thought Alanna was way cooler. I've recently discovered that in the intervening decades, during which time moved on to not-so-YA reading, Tamora Pierce has put out several other Tortall-based series the most recent of which I understand is a prequel some many, many years before the Alanna books.

Where I loved the fact that Alanna cross-dressed as a boy to get what she wanted in a man's world and then eventually became the most successful "man" while completely in control of her gender identity as a woman (whoa, I think I just outlined a conference paper thesis), Daine of the Immortals series deals with gender roles and socio-economic roles in a different way.

While Daine never cross-dresses, she's often mistaken for a boy, both because of her appearance and her rough skills as someone who can live among the wild lands and has an uncanny way with horses. More than that, Daine can talk to most animals. It's wild magic passed to her by the Immortals of realms beyond their own, not the safe, human magic most people of Tortall are used to. Daine deals with the prejudice of small town life until her (unwed) mother dies and then strikes off on her own and discovers a whole host of more worldly, more educated, more privileged, and more understanding people. (And I think I just outlined a second conference paper thesis.)

The series teams up her and the horse handler Onua and the magician Numair. Alanna also makes appearances throughout the series as well as characters from her quartet of books now in their more "grown up" roles.

The cover art above absolutely does not appeal to me. But it appears the books have been through several editions/rebrandings. I remember a series with gorgeous illustrations like these at right. And I remember oh, so well, after all these years a line from the fourth installment of the Immortals: Love's fair wondrous. Where's the harm?

What can I say? I'm drawn to those moments of pivotal emotion brought on by a great awareness of emotion throughout the entire novel/series.

I'm more of a fan of the Song of the Lioness Quartet than the Immortals series, but sadly this will be the only Tamora Pierce mention in my A to Z of fantasy and sci-fi series so I've got to get in my read the song of the lioness! plug now. It's also THE BOOK to give to your 11-14 year-old niece.

Highly Recommended