restricted access Young Warriors: Stories of Strength (review)
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Reviewed by
Pierce, Tamora, ed. Young Warriors: Stories of Strength; ed. by Tamora Pierce and Josepha Sherman. Random House, 2005312p Library ed. ISBN 0-375-92962-2$19.99 Trade ed. ISBN 0-375-82962-8$17.95 R Gr. 7-12

In this solid collection of fifteen fantasy and alternative history stories featuring war and warriors (and a range of authors from Janis Ian to Brett Hartinger), characters must choose their battles (and their weapons) carefully. In Mike Resnick's "The Boy Who Cried 'Dragon,'" awkward Melvin goes off to slay a dragon and finds an equally awkward scaly beast in need of saving. Ada in Holly Black's "Heartless" has imprisoned her heart in a piece of bone, until she is captured by enemy soldiers and decides she must swallow the bone to retrieve her heart before doing battle. In India Edgehill's "Devil Wind," Taravati seeks revenge on the British colonial who killed her husband by using witchcraft to inhabit the body of his daughter. These stories and others feature difficult choices that test the limits of each young warrior, tacitly inviting readers to imagine what choices they might have made in the hero or heroine's place. While the choices themselves are often what one might expect—for instance, that one must use one's wit as a weapon instead of (or in addition to) one's sword—many of these stories challenge ideas about who a warrior is. A diverse selection of warriors, including a re-imagined Helen of Troy who engineers her own escape from her capture by Theseus, and wartime residents of an Irish convent who hide a young Jewish girl, provides ample variety in both protagonist and tone to satisfy a range of readers. Fans of the intrepid young female warriors lately popularized by Tamora Pierce will especially enjoy this collection of stories about young people pressed to their limits who choose to fight back.

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