And now the reason you're even here.
List Mark Two Updated: 5/7
1. Mockingjay -Suzanne Collins
4. Page -Tamora Pierce
11. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
12. Trickster's Queen -Tamora Pierce
13. Halfway to the Grave -Jeanine Frost
14. Tortall and Other Lands -Tamora Pierce
15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer -Michelle Hodkin
Usually when I think of Tamora Pierce I think Kel, Alanna, Daine and the circle. I love Beka as well but she was not part of my classic Pierce education. Aly never really occurs to me right off the bat, as awful as that sounds.
It's not that I dislike Aly. I wasn't the biggest fan of her at the beginning. The only type of misunderstood characters I am fond of are the snarky ones. Aly is misunderstood whiny in the beginning. I've never had patience for that. Both Alanna and Kel knew they would have to do things they didn't want to before they got what they wanted. Aly just whined that her mother wouldn't let her do what she wanted.
Aly is a tool of the gods just like Alanna. She is essentially kidnapped by Kyprioth. She's wry and witty with the god in a way that Alanna never was. Aly is a a great combination of Alanna and George. She's got George's wit and disregard for authority but Alanna's bravery and desire to make a difference.
Admittedly, my favorite parts are Aly's revelations about her mother. I dislike seeing her think ill of Alanna. I know that's unfair but Pierce has proven to be a master at making us see different characters differently depending on which character we follow. But she doesn't pull that off with Alanna. I got so frustrated with Aly. So it was really cool to see how Aly's opinion of her mother changed based on what happened to her.
Nawat is also one of my favorite characters. Aly is very patient with him. He's so innocent and sweet. His misunderstanding of how humans work makes his forward behavior endearing rather than upsetting. Because of his innocence his love for Aly is pure. This is really evident at one point when Aly asked if he's been kissing anyone else and he asked why he would. They're good for each other. He has that fierce desire to protect her and just enough forcefulness to suit her. I love when he gives Dove the arrows too. He's not in my top fictional crush list but he's sweet.
Dove is a great character but she reminds me a little of Maura from Wolf Speaker.That's not necessarily a bad thing. I actually like Dove a little more but Tamora Pierce gives Dove far more page time to develop her. She is a good foil for Sarai's energy. Sarai is all heart and Dove is mostly head.
As political as the other series could get this is by far the most political. It's similar to Emperor Mage that way. This story has a really good balance between magic and normal problems. Aly uses magic and while Kyprioth brought her to the Isles, magic is not the source of all of her problems. Some of them are non magical, like assassins and rebels.
I really am such a sucker for the older characters. I get all excited every time someone mentioned Kel. And these "Letters from home" scenes are some of my favorites. I love seeing Alanna and George together. Even the scene between Alanna and Jon was wonderful (especially when he tells her to put the sword down and she asks if she'd going to need it). It made me think of the old Jon that I liked more. One of my favorites is when Alanna and George are arguing. It's great to see the wonderful, fierce, vulnerable Alanna again. I also absolutely loved the moment Aly introduced Nawat to George with the mutual eyebrow raise. It was one of those great character interactions.
I think my issue with this book lies in that my favorite moments are the character interactions and so much of this is spent with Aly planning. There are some good witty moments with Aly but the best moments are the ones like that one between George and Aly at the end. None of the regular characters really know the real Aly yet and it's hard to have significant moments between them like that.
Another thing in it that Aly's character growth could have been great and subtle but Pierce makes a point of mentioning that Aly sees similarities in her old behavior to Sarai's frivolous habits. One mention of that would have been fine or to show it with a recollection like she did when Alanna caught her kissing the boy at the party. Instead it's just thrown in there.
I like Trickster's Choice but it's just missing something that her other Tortall books have. I want to say it's the close knit, family style relationship that's so common but I feel like it is more than that. I do like the political aspects which aren't generally my cup of tea so Pierce gets definite points for that.
Aly is a cool character with some awesome talents (which are actually cool as they give us more insight into George as well) but she's no where near as dear to me as Kel, who will pretty much forever be my favorite.
Anyway, I'm giving it a rating of Epic. I had to think about it but this seems best.
I'm so excited to start Cassandra Clare's City of Lost Souls after work tomorrow. After that we'll be back on track with Jennifer E Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.