Review: The Queen’s Readers edited by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn

The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce ed. by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn

Title:  The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce
Editors: Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn
Genre: Anthology, Essays, Fantasy
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (25th August 2004)
Blurb:

Over the course of her career, Tamora Pierce has created two worlds that continue to inspire readers more than 30 years after her first book was published.

In The Queen’s Readers, contributors explore a myriad of topics as only fans can: with love and a critical eye. With more than 30 essays covering topics from feminism to Pierce’s mythical creatures Stormwings, no fictional stone is left unturned.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars)
Review:

THE QUEEN’S READERS: A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS ON THE WORDS & WORLDS OF TAMORA PIERCE edited by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn contains more than thirty essays about Tamora Pierce’s books. The essays cover a variety of topics from the author’s experiences with the book, to feminism and other academic based topics; each essay varies in length. They are described in the introduction as being “by her fans, for her fans.”[1] The collection also contains a foreword by Mark Oshiro about his experiences in the Tamora Pierce fandom where he says fans “want to make sure that people are enjoying the books”[2].

Ever since I heard of THE QUEEN’S READERS it has intrigued me. As someone who loves the worlds and characters Tamora Pierce has written about, and someone who has studied English literature to the Masters level, I was drawn to this book. Unfortunately I was disappointed. If you are looking for a collection of mainly academic essays about Tamora Pierce’s worlds then look elsewhere. Which isn’t to say, that there aren’t any academic essays. Alyssa Hillary’s ‘Neurodiversity and the Works of Tamora Pierce’ is a thoughtful academic piece that talks about a subject I had never thought of before, but it is in my opinion the exception rather than the rule. Rose Flahive’s ‘Literary Mirrors and Academic Merit: Why YA Fantasy Has a Place in the Classroom’ is another example, although it focuses more on a general YA Fantasy.

A lot of my disappointment with THE QUEEN’S READERS does come from the fact that I thought it would be a lot more academically inclined than it is. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had realised that the essays in the book are often a lot more personal in nature. THE QUEEN’S READERS also suffers from what a lot of self-published books do (despite having two editors): it needed an edit. I noticed spelling mistakes in a few of the essays, and in others I really felt that they would have benefited from someone telling the author they were repeating themselves or they needed to explain or expand upon a point. All thirty-three essays are readable, but some of them do require work.

THE QUEEN’S READERS without a doubt includes a lot of different ideas and experiences in the Tamora Pierce fandom, and for that alone it is an interesting and informative read. I think a lot of people who have read Tamora Pierce’s works would find ideas and themes that reflect their own experience, as well as new ones for them to explore. I also think that as long as you cherry-pick the essay you can find some great starting points for academic explorations of Tamora Pierce’s works. I don’t think THE QUEEN’S READERS is for every fan of Tamora Pierce’s books, but I do think it is a good starting point and I wish there were more books like it.

 

 

[1] ‘Introduction’ by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn in The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce ed. By Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn, p. 1 (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2004)

[2] ‘Forward’ by Mark Oshiro in The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce ed. By Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn, p. 4 (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2004)

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