The Woman Who Rides Like A Man
By: Tamora Pierce
Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death -- either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mythic fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe's first female shaman -- despite the desert dwellers' grave fear of the foreign woman warrior. Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes -- for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall.
I can't even describe how much better this series is getting as it goes along. The character development is through the roof.
Alanna: Not just a knight, now she's a shaman, too? I love that she defies the norms at practically every turn. It was cool to see her out in the world and especially with the Bazhirs, after two whole books taking place predominantly at Court. She's more free now and with that comes a lot of expansion to her character. In the first book she learned how to be a boy. In the second book she learned how to be a woman warrior. In this book she learns that other women are pretty cool, too. I think this is a healthy and thoughtful approach to her thinking patterns. Of course when she's smaller and living among all boys she is going to look mostly at herself being a girl to find out what that means. But now that she's revealed her secret she has found out that being a woman isn't a shameful thing (as she might have casually come to think through her time hiding it).
Jonathan: Okay, so I still love him. But he needs to get over whatever this is. He started to act like a bratty, presuming child. I hated how he ended up treating Alanna because it almost makes me think that he's never fully understood her, both her desire to fight and be a knight or her femininity.
George: I absolutely adored seeing a glimpse of George's kingdom at The Dancing Dove. I love that he truly cares for his people and feels the need to protect them even if they are thieves and rogues. He respects his responsibility to them deeply, because for a rogue and a King of Rogues he's still allowed to be big on loyalty.
George's reaction after her and Jon's separation was beyond fantastic. He wasn't pushy in the least. He was her best friend first and foremost. He only mentioned his interest a couple times to let her know that he would be there fore her. He waited for Alanna to make the decisions of when she wanted to pursue a relationship with him (the thing that got George into trouble). He just focused on making her laugh and smile again without requiring her undying commitment or promises she couldn't make for him at the time.
And can we just talk about this line for a minute?
"There's plenty more fish in the see than Prince Jonathan,...And this particular fish loves you with all his crooked heart."
Can you tell that I'm kind of in love with George? ...I thought so.
Thom: He is really scaring me. I thought his conversation with George had a really interesting dynamic. It was sometimes humorous, but only in the most terrifying way. They are both so smart and witty, I'd love to see them verbally face-off.
Myles: His adopting Alanna was everything I didn't know I wanted from this series. It was so great knowing that Alanna could have a future in Olau if she chose it.
The Plot and World:
I really can't wait to see everything that Jonathan being The Voice of the Tribes will mean. The Bazhir add a really different aspect to the story than what it was before. And with all the mentions to Duke Roger and Thom trying to raise the dead, you just KNOW that jerk is coming back. I am not looking forward to that, but maybe it'll finally let Alanna get over her guilt for killing her.
"I think as a human being," she retorted hotly. "Men don't think any differently from women---they just make more noise about being able to."
"It does not hurt men to know women have power, too."
"And think. IT's not granted to all of us to have one great enemy....The problem is once ye've vanquished such an enemy, life might be a little empty."
"Have you ever noticed that when you try to deny some part of yourself, things fall out so you need that part more than any other?"