This post is by Judith Tarr from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content
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When I read Steel Magic, I wondered rather plaintively if Norton would (or could) give her girl character a less trammeled role in the next book. It’s true that Sara gets to be a cat, which is cool, but she doesn’t make her own decisions. She’s told what to do at every step, and she has to perform her assigned tasks under much more challenging physical conditions than either of her brothers.
Octagon Magic is, in a lot of ways, the answer to my wish. It’s the first straight-up girls’ book I’ve read in the Norton canon, and it’s part of a sea change in how Norton seems to have perceived her intended audience. By 1967, the Witch World series was well under way, and the Free Trader/Forerunner universe was opening up to strong and proactive female characters. She’s not writing boys-only adventures any longer. She’s writing for girls, ...