Last time on Literary Public Service Announcements: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
And now this week's PSA:
You might have heard me fangirl once or twice or a million times over Tamora Pierce, goddess of YA high fantasy and hero of my childhood. You may even have been around when a few blogger friends and I put together Piercefest, a summer-long blogstravaganza to celebrate her work. You might have noticed me put the Song of the Lioness series, aka the Alanna books and the first series Tamora Pierce ever wrote, and a dozen or so of my Top Ten Tuesday lists.
Tamora's built a huge universe within her books, and the best way to start your journey in Tortall is with the Alanna books. They take place first and really introduce you to all the characters. But today I'm going to fangirl about the second quarter that takes place in and around Tortall: The Immortals. If Alanna was the girl that got me to love kick ass lady warriors and sexy times, then Daine, heroine of this series, is the girl who taught me to love shipping, really good worldbuilding, and maaaaaagic.
The Immortals centers on Daine, 13 at the beginning of the series, 16 at the end. She's a recently orphaned girl from the northern country of Galla who's got such a way with animals that many around her--including Onua, horsemistress of the Queen's Riders, and Numair,
This is one of those series that really blossoms as it continues. Books 3 and 4 are two of my favorite fantasy books ever. The FEELS, you guys. Tamora's characters are so funny and loveable, and her worldbuilding grows in leaps and bounds in this series. Book 3 takes you to Carthak, a vast and rich empire loosely based on Egypt. Book 4 takes you into the magical Realms of the Gods themselves. Book 4 also happens to include some truly, awesomely, magically epic kiss scenes. In fact, it has the one kiss scene by which I judge all other kiss scenes. The kiss scene that taught me what a kiss scene was. The kiss scene I once did a dramatic reading of for Gaby with no shame whatsoever.
She had been kissed before, over the last two years. ... A moment ago, she would have said she liked kissing well enough.
This was different. Liking did not begin to describe the thunder in her body and heart. Hot sweetness raced from his lips through her body, making her tingle, making the breath come short in her tired lungs, making her knees watery.
Twelve-year-old Gillian's entire life was changed when she read this kiss scene. I can't even tell you. I'm not even going to pretend that my copy doesn't automatically fall open to this page after a decade of rereading those passages. I JUST CANNOT MY SHIP IS PERFECT
Daine grows from a rough, lonely kid to a young woman in control of her magic, able to communicate with (and even transform into!) animals. Oh, and there are dragons. YES. DRAGONS. There are animal sidekicks galore in this series, including a super judgmental horse named Cloud and a baby dragon named Kitten who is a serious handful. It's just the best. If you've read the Alanna books (which you really should because duh), you get the added bonus of seeing where all those characters are and what they're doing. And then you get the new characters, like powerful, enigmatic Emperor Ozorne of Carthak, who may or may not be Up to Things.
There there are the gods, who are very present in this series, and all the immortal creatures who are suddenly appearing all over Tortall and wreaking havoc.
There are one or two things you maaaaay have to just... go with, like a pretty major age gap between the characters in my ship, but WHATEVER. These things are allowed in fantasy, okay? They're perfect. Shut up. There are dragons and there's kissing and there are battles and there's a girl who can talk to wolves, okay? THERE ARE DINOSAURS. Why aren't you already reading this?
MOAR COVERS! The ones I grew up with are the first ones. AKA the awesome mass market paperbacks.