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The Bulletin
of the Center for Children's Books:

Rising Star
Each month we offer a focus on a particular author or artist. Sometimes we use this space to discuss a rising new talent or an established star, but we also like to celebrate those who now live on only in the rich legacy of their books.. See the archive for focus pieces from previous months.

Tamora Pierce

The catchy opening sentence of her online autobiography gives you some idea of the mindset of our focus fantasy author for the month: "I was born on December 13, 1954, to a poor but honest pack of wolves." (Well, I like it.) Although I'd heard of Tamora Pierce (any number of adolescent fans had recommended the Alanna books) I hadn't read anything she'd written until Scholastic sent us the first title in the Circle of Magic Quartet, Sandry's Book, in 1997. In a matter of very few pages I was securely hooked. Four magically gifted adolescents (three girls, one boy) are rescued from unhappy destinies and trained by a community of highly respected mages. Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar are adolescents with angst to burn, and burn it they do, individually and collectively. Each of the four titles focus on one particular adolescent and her (or his) changing relationships with friends and mentors. Pierce creates a fully realized fantasy world, and she peoples it with three-dimensional characters navigating complex yet recognizable emotional quandaries. Her adolescent characters could be any adolescent, anywhere, trying to find a way through the labyrinthine mazes of maturity. The first and subsequent titles of the Circle of Magic Quartet contain the same incisive storytelling; there is no flagging of interest, no sloppy short cuts, no dependence upon the previous titles. This is an admirable feat in series fiction, and it is a feat Pierce repeats in her other fantasy quartets. Pierce's novels feature women of all ages fighting for their rightful place, whether at court or in battle. They are brave women, loyal, often stubborn, and sometimes foolhardy. Any magic they encounter, wield, or access is fully integrated into the plot and setting. Characters are understandably motivated, action is swift, and emotions run both high and true. Your series fantasy fiction readers, those looking for a bang-up read, and even adventure lovers will find new ground here. Readers will open a title by Pierce with justifiable anticipation, and, having read it, will close it with a sigh of genuine contentment.

--Janice M. Del Negro, editor

Bibliography (in order of publication)

The Song of the Lioness quartet:

The Immortals quartet:

The Circle of Magic quartet:

The Protector of the Small quartet:

The Circle Opens quartet:

Tamora Pierce's website is located at:

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This page was last updated on June 1, 2000.