7/5/13 ** Cashore follows in the footsteps of Tamora Pierce in her ability to echo the political and social issues of our world in the events of her novel's world. In the mid-80s Pierce used Alanna's world of Tortall to explore the role of women in the spheres traditionally held by men and to explain to adolescent readers that women could have relationships with men in ways that didn't diminish their capacity to exert power (i.e. Alanna could have a sexual relationship with Jonathan without marrying him and without giving up her dreams of being a lady hero & warrior). Now in the first decade of the 21st century, members of Cashore's ensemble cast demonstrate that people can have relationships with others, regardless of their gender. Raffin and Bann, both men, are clearly in a loving, committed relationship; Tilda and Bren, both women, live as a couple, and yet still want a child.
I admire both Cashore's and Pierce's ability to reflect our world in all its diversity. I admire their courage in taking on the important social issues of our times. Readers, both adolescent and adult, need strong books to provide both a window and mirror for issues that they may struggle with.