Skip to main content

Tortall: A Spy's Guide

Review

Tortall: A Spy's Guide

Few authors are as prolific as the incredible Tamora Pierce. She has penned dozens of inventive fantasy novels for young adults, all of which are filled with memorable characters and immersive story worlds. Some might even consider her among the founders of the young adult genre. The most beloved of those worlds is that of Tortall, and with her newest book TORTALL: A SPY’S GUIDE, Pierce has provided her most devoted fans with a deep dive into the inner-workings of this world. Particularly, this neat little book focuses on fan-favorite character and expert spy master George Cooper, featuring annotated letters and writings between himself and character’s like Alanna and Numair, to name just a few. Put together with the help of Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger, this book provides some fascinating background for all of Pierce’s books set in the Tortall universe.

"Pierce’s dedication to this world is apparent as soon as you crack the cover of TORTALL: A Spy's Guide, and that is just one of the reasons it is a must have for fans."

TORTALL: A Spy's Guide is one of those books that readers can pour over, looking for little insider hints and details from their favorite characters and places within the world. The book is filled with letters, character profiles, and even a full chronology of Tortallan events, plus plenty more. It is perfect for devoted fans of Pierce’s various Tortall series, but it is not meant for outsiders. Those with little-to-know familiarity with this world will finds themselves lost among the stacks of characters, events, and locations. However, even those who have read only one or two of Pierce’s Tortilla books will find something to love here, because not only does this book cover events and characters that readers know and love, but it also pushes the story forward in a unique and captivating way. Even the first few pages were enough to excite me --- I couldn’t wait to dive back into Tortall and learn everything about my favorite characters.

Even aside from the heaps of fascinating content, one of the most appealing aspects of this book is its wonderful design. Pages are made to look like worn pieces of parchment, each different depending on their context. Some are equipped with intricate wax seals, scrawled annotations from characters, and even drawings of creatures and characters that help bring the world of Tortall lovingly to life. Of course, along with all that is the in-depth guide to becoming a spy that is sure to thrill readers of Pierce’s Daughter of the Lioness series especially. Pierce’s dedication to this world is apparent as soon as you crack the cover of TORTALL: A Spy's Guide, and that is just one of the reasons it is a must have for fans.

Reviewed by Katherine Szabo on November 29, 2017

Tortall: A Spy's Guide
by Tamora Pierce, Julie Holderman, Timothy Lieb, and Megan Messinger

  • Publication Date: October 31, 2017
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0375867678
  • ISBN-13: 9780375867675