Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Book 3 of the Song of the Lioness Quartet, Review

Tamora Pierce's third book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, follows Alanna in her first year as a Knight. She has her shield, she's been revealed as a girl, and it's time to go adventuring like she always dreamed. Coram, Moonlight and Faithful come along on her journey south, looking for knightly errands, excitement and some place warm to spend the winter.

Within just a few days though Alanna has gotten herself into the type of predicament that only she can seem to cause. She's been adopted by a Bazhir tribe, become their Shaman and adopted three outcast children, all unintentionally. She finds she's going to have to stick around and train her fosterlings to use their gifts in order for them to replace her as Shaman before she can continue on her quest for knightly pursuits. Like I said, a situation only she can seem to stumble into!

While with the Tribe, Alanna will have to do some growing up of her own, but you'll have to read the book to see if this 18 year old dynamo can manage now she's won the shied she's spent her entire life focused on getting.

I had to laugh at the George/Jonathan conundrum in this book. After reading the Twilight Saga last year and then the Hunger Games, I wondered if the Song of the Lioness Quartet had been released in the past couple years (instead of the eighties) if people would have squared off in Team Jonathan vs. Team George. I have to say, I was team Jonathan until I hit my late twenties, when suddenly I became Team George. Not to say I didn't always love George but let just say the handsome Prince was more up my alley.

Now that I'm older I also appreciate the lost aspect to the story in a way which never occurred to me when I was younger. The idea that Alanna is not entirely sure what to do with herself now she's got her shield wasn't lost on me when I was younger, but it certainly didn't occur to me that she'd focused all her planning, work and life into getting her shield and now she had achieved it she was kind of adrift. Goodness knows, most of us tend to find ourselves in a similar position after finishing university or college and realizing it's now time to step out into the world and do all those adult things everyone expects us to accomplish.

Book three is fun, and an interesting look at other aspects of the Tortall world, but it's largely a building block to the fourth and final book. I end up missing a lot of the regular characters (though most of them pop up a bit), and as such it's not my favorite one of the series. So time to power on to the last book, Lioness Rampant!

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, By Tamora Pierce
Published by Simon Pulse, January 2005

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