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A Collection of Tales

by Tamora Pierce

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-375-86676-0
Publisher: Random House

In this collection, Pierce's fantasy worlds teem with a wide variety of heroines: math prodigies, shepherds and martial artists, primarily girls of color, mostly fighting sexism. In the lovely, necessary "Lost," abused young Adria is filled with despair when her teacher tells her she's incompetent at math. Adria, who believes "engineers are almost like gods," discovers a mentor—a female engineer—to nurture her talent. Teky, in "The Hidden Girl," secretly teaches girls to read holy writ, finding strength in her knowledge and her choice to wear a burqa. Teky provides a vital counterpoint to the disquieting, outsider perspective in "Elder Brother." Here Fadal, who chooses life disguised as a boy over the veil, hopes to travel to Tortall, which she (falsely) believes is a feminist idyll. Familiar characters return: Tortall fans will delight in new adventures of the darkings, Kitten the dragon and Aly the spymaster. Nor are young men neglected in these compact comings-of-age. Nawat (of Trickster's Choice, 2003), in the most adult of the tales, learns the harsh realities of fatherhood (and witnesses a remarkably physically explicit childbirth). Powerfully, he realizes his love for a child with a disability conflicts with his upbringing. Unusually for Pierce, one contemporary fantasy and one realistic fiction piece close out the collection. A mixed bag with many ardent, needful tales of girls discovering inner resources. (Short stories/fantasy. 12-16)