For the last few months, I’ve taken on the task of re-reading books by fantasy writer Tamora Pierce. At 14 years old, the adventures of Alanna the Lioness were a magical escape. In Tamora Pierce’s world, the knight in shining armor was me.
My most recent re-read for the series was Trickster’s Queen, the last in the Daughter of the Lioness duology. The premise of the two Trickster books is that Alanna of Pirate’s Swoop gets swept away from home by a god from another kingdom. He needs a master spy to stir up revolution to regain control of his people and the islands. His brother and sister, also deities, took power as the main gods centuries past. In Pierce’s world, gods’ powers come from belief and faith.
As a teenager, I recognized that the two people at war in the books, Luarin and Raka, were the white conquerors versus the brown natives. As a woman with nearly three decades under my belt now, I realize it’s a parallel representative of European colonists and conquerors that took the land from the indigenous peoples of the islands and country.
I always cheered on the revolution among the Raka people in the book, but now I saw it as my own real life. In these turbulent political times, I see my own people, the Latinx community, combined with other marginalized communities, rallying against politicians that want to keep the status quo.
Another aspect of the story that resonates now are the two noble girls, Dovasary and Sarai Balitang, who are mixed. Their father was Luarin, but their mother was Raka. The spies’ ultimate goal is to put one of them on the throne because they have twice royal blood, from their father’s nobility and their mother’s regency in the time when the Raka ruled.
The responsibility that comes with that though is the reconciliation of two warring sides. These girls cannot deny their blood, from either side and must find a way to make peace between their two worlds to create a new kingdom. I found that spoke a great deal to my status as a third-culture kid, being both Latinx and American, a hybrid of two worlds many find hard to grasp.
Re-reading my favorite fantasy series from my middle and high school years has taught me that there is always more to learn. While once these books introduced me to feminist concepts, now their stories add to my experience and knowledge of sociopolitical issues. The more times you read a book, the more wisdom you gain.
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