A Guide To The Magical Worlds Of Tamora Pierce

Have you ever found yourself wanting to start a new book series, but haven’t had time to find an author worth your time?

Tamora Pierce has been in the writing game long enough that she’s written something for everyone, whether you prefer knights in shining armor, antics of magical teenagers, or a good-ole spy novel.

Most of her books are set in either the fictional world of Tortall (think of kings, knights, and the appropriate accoutrement) or Emelan (which is more suited for mages of all sort and skill), and written in either sets of two or four.

1. SONG OF THE LIONESS

Arguably the books that Ms. Pierce is most famous for, this quartet follows young Alanna of Trebond as she takes her twin’s place among the knights-in-training of Tortall. Yes, that entails having to hide her true identity in much the same way Mulan had to. Acting like a boy isn’t a problem for Alanna – she can fight with the best of them – but problems truly begin to arise once the boys around her start hitting puberty.

The Song of the Lioness quartet, which begins with Alanna: The First Adventure (http://a.co/gAEskxl), follows Alanna from the age of ten to young adulthood. I’d recommend this series to anyone who enjoys political intrigue, a slow romance, a good deal of magic, and even more fighting. If you like Merlin, this is the series for you.

2. PROVOST’S DOG TRILOGY

Set a few years before the events of Song of the Lioness, a prospective reader really doesn’t need to know much information about the world of Tortall before delving into Beka Cooper’s story. Beka is a rough-and-tumble “watchdog,” tasked to watch over the slums of the kingdom. Her job is both that of a cop and a detective; she has to keep the peace among the people and resolve any problems that arise. These problems range from serial killers in the streets, to plots to kill the king. Beka does have some help, however, in her limited ability to speak to the dead.

This series, starting with Terrier, The Legend of Beka Cooper (http://a.co/0V3WVHt ), would be best for those who enjoy watching true crime drama like Criminal Minds or NCIS. If you choose to pick up this series, you’re sure to have a good time. Just keep in mind that it was written for a more mature audience than Song of the Lioness, and the gore level has been adjusted to match.

3. CIRCLE OF MAGIC

The Circle of Magic quartet is the first set quartet in a set of books that follows four children – Sandry, Daja, Tris, and Briar – as they learn to handle unique and volatile magical abilities. Each child has their own ghosts and troubles, so it’s no question that there’s going to be conflict between the four of them. Living in one house with their two teachers, they have to learn to live and work together if they have any hopes of ever getting their magic under control and becoming full-fledged mages.

This series is set in Ms. Pierce’s other world, Emelan, and begins with Sandry’s Book:

http://a.co/6tGYVAv

Each child narrates a book, and an actually diverse cast makes for an experience where everyone can find someone to relate to. If Harry Potter holds a place in your heart, you might want to think about checking this series out.

TO TOP IT ALL OFF:

If any of her works sound interesting to you, I’d highly recommend that you go ahead and check them out. Ms. Pierce’s target audience may be teenagers, but she’s put enough thought and care into crafting the intricately detailed worlds of Emelan and Tortall that there’s bound to be something to catch your eye. You can find out more about Ms. Pierce and her books here:

http://www.tamora-pierce.net/

 

My Childhood in HD – Studio Ghibli Fest 2017

I was one of those kids who found a single movie and stuck with it, watching it whenever possible. For me, that movie was Studio Ghibli’s 1986 classic Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

Aided by Hayao Miyazaki’s unique art style and directing, which is touched upon in a previous article by Janet Cowden, the film inspired a sense of magic and determination in me, as well as a never-ending desire to be a nefarious, sky-sailing pirate with bushy pink hair.

(One day.)

I wanted to see more of Ghibli’s movies. But as I was born in 1996, my only exposure to Studio Ghibli’s films were through VHS or DVD, and many of them were released between 1980 and the mid-2000s. It never even crossed my mind that I might get to watch them in a theatre.

Enter Studio Ghibli Fest 2017.

Hosted by the film distribution company GKIDS and Fathom Events, Studio Ghibli Fest 2017 is a six-month event during which one of Studio Ghibli’s six most famous films is shown in select theaters for the course of two-three days per month.

I had the opportunity to see Castle in the Sky at Tinseltown in OKC, surrounded by perhaps three dozen other people who were just as excited as I was. The feature was preceded by three shorts, courtesy of GKIDS, all of which were very entertaining and only added to the anticipation radiating throughout the theater.

Once it began, it was like the movie had taken on a whole new life, as the theater provides a very different experience than a fuzzy VCR. It had been remastered to better suit the silver screen, the music surrounded us from all sides, and I’m fairly certain many scenes were included that I’d never seen (or perhaps just never noticed) before.

GKIDS and Fathom Events put together a marvelous experience during which I was able to see one of my favorite movies like I’d never seen it before. And there’s more to come! The series is now half over. That leaves Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle to run the last weeks of September, October, and November. Each film can be seen in either the original Japanese with English subtitles or the English dub, though the date and time of showings will vary based upon which is chosen.

For those who are interested, tickets for one of the three remaining movies can be bought either through Fathom Events ahead of time or in person at one of the select theaters participating in Ghibli Fest. Tickets are not the cheapest, running about $15 each when you factor in tax and convenience fees, but if you have the time and money, I believe that the opportunity to see one of these classic movies in theaters shouldn’t be passed up. Personally, I don’t plan on missing many more.

See you at the movies!