Hello, friends! This was commissioned by the lovely Blue AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT EXISTED. I was told that this did not spoil any of the other Tortall books, so I was happy to read my first Tamora Pierce short story.
First, here are the videos:
This was a totally surprising and rather surprising story to read. An all non-white cast with a tale that centers around how a young girl uses the environment around her to adapt into the person she wants to be? Sign me the fuck up. I’m introduced to Kylaia, a curious and studious young woman who helps save her family’s honor. I mean, I was already into this short story once it got to animals. Sorry, it’s a weak point of mine. (Which is just more proof of how The Immortals is endlessly oppressing my entire existence, y’all. I don’t know how a single heroine is ever going to beat Daine for me.)
Like what I’ve experienced so far in the Tortall universe, gender roles and expectations are at the forefront of “Student of Ostriches.” It’s been fascinating to see how Pierce has her characters confront the patriarchal elements of Tortall society. Plus, what we see here is different from Song of the Lioness and The Immortals because it doesn’t take place anywhere near Corus. The Mawolu people are so unlike any of the cultures I’ve read about in Pierce’s books, so it was a real treat to get confirmation that they weren’t white. AND I DEFINITELY LOVE SOME REVERSE RACISM GOING ON IN MY STORIES, HELL YEAH. (And let me just state that if you don’t get the joke, reverse racism doesn’t exist, so that’s the whole point of why I was so joyous in the second video once the whole Mawolu people started making snide comments about the sole white person in the entire story.)
For a short story, we get some great character building for Kylaia, Iyaka, Ogin, and Kylaia’s family. Kylaia herself is SO GREAT. Oh my god, she learned how to annihilate opponents from giraffes. Really, I love what this tells us! Kylaia took what was at her disposal to shape her own life and her own destiny, and y’all, I love stories about agency so much. I think that’s inherently what “Students of Ostriches” is about. This young girl waited around for no one to learn something new about the world. That’s awesome!
The fight scene at the end is SPECTACULAR. As I said in the third video, I didn’t expect Kylaia to be that victorious. She shuts down Awochu IN LIKE 60 SECONDS. He doesn’t even land a single blow, does he? BLESS.
Anyway, this was great! Blue commissioned me to read “Elder Brother” once I finish Wolf-Speaker, and that review will be attached to my predictions for the third Immortals book. Once I finish the Tortall books, I’ll also read the rest of this anthology. YES.
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