I don’t know how Tamora Pierce does it, but she consistently manages to craft lovely, uplifting novels with difficult themes; characters who are deep and emotive without becoming maudlin; and worlds with complex social, economic, and political systems. And she never, ever info-dumps all over the story.
Ms Pierce writes stories that I don’t want to write, but that I love to read, that remind me, in a wonderful way, of my early love for Robin McKinley’s Damar novels. I always wished there were more Damar stories, and the Tortall stories hit that spot for me. I finished Protector of the Small last Friday and dove right into the Beka Cooper trilogy. Thank you, Library Gods!