Tamora Pierce, Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales (2011)
I’m a great fan of Tamora Pierce. I first read her first book, Alanna: The First Adventure, way back in 5th grade when it first came out (inquiring minds can look up when it was published and do the appropriate math). She’s written many engaging fantasy stories since then, all of which I highly, highly recommend.
One of the notable qualities of her work is that she has strong female protagonists, i.e. women and girls as heroes. I don’t read widely in young adult fiction anymore, so perhaps (hopefully!) this is now quite common, but when the books first came out, they seemed to me a marked contrast to others in the fantasy genre (my mental image here is of a book with a Boris Vallejo-type cover picture). Her books have certainly caused me to think about the place of women in fiction and life.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has read any of Tamora Pierce’s other books. The book has twelve short stories, almost all fantasy stories. Six of these are set in the world of Tortall, while (to my surprise!) two of the stories are set in the contemporary world. I’m not sure how one is supposed to review a collection of short stories while not giving away plot details, other than by saying, “They’re great!” And they are.