This is SO GOOD. I can’t even express to you all how excited I was when this showed up on my door step (I put a hold on it but the copy I had purchased showed up before the library’s copy!). Tamora Pierce and all of her books set in Tortall are THE reason why I got into young adult fantasy in the first place. I devoured each and every book and I still treasure them today. I mean, I think you can accept that a set of characters have had an impact on you when you are going through something scary or hard and the first think that pops into your mind are “Alanna became a lady knight without anyone knowing she was a girl” or “Kel became a lady knight WITH people knowing she was a girl and having to face those prejudices…if they can do that you can do anything, Arielle.” I know that when I give birth in April I will be thinking about them and their strength–who cares if they’re fictional.
I’m not even kidding, either. Even if it’s something little, I think about how Alanna passed out when getting her ears pierced and calm down. I swear I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having read about these strong and amazing heroines AND with getting all these extra little tidbits and glimpses into their lives, I died. You don’t even know how many times my sister and I tried making our own timeline of events between all of the books and then here this is book with an official one. It made my entire month. If you’ve loved any of Pierce’s book set in the world of Tortall, I would immediately pick this one up. We see different things like letters from the Spymaster, George, to his daughter, Aly. We see little notes from Alanna to George about her last pregnancy. There are maps, character profiles, so many wonderful insights from all of her previous books. It was a blast reading through it all and I cannot wait until her next series about Numair comes out next year!