Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
Series: Song of the Lioness, #3
First Published: March 1, 1986
Published: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272

Alanna fights on...

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.
This might be my favorite book of the series. Or, at least, it's a hard toss up between this and it's predecessor.
I love how this series progresses with age. In the beginning, we see Alanna as a young girl. By the third book, she is in her late teens. It is a beautiful progression. Most strikingly, it really allows us to see Alanna change. Because a lot of Young Adult novels (or any novel in general, really) stick with a specific age range for the character, we are told of the past experience that make the current ones so stark. Of course, aging a character over a series is always dangerous because the reader might lose interest. But Pierce strikes such a perfect pace that this doesn't happen. And I think by the time the reader reaches this book, it really is clear how well Pierce has done this.

This sets the background for some great character developments. We see these character who we've come to know over the last two books, and who think they've come to know themselves, realizing that they still don't have everything figured out, and that their desires can change. It's a wonderful reflection on how time and experiences change people - or don't change people.

As usual, the villainy in this novel is a tad blatant and obvious. But these books were geared towards kids, and Pierce does knock up the sacrifices a notch.

Of course, one of my favorite things about this books is a spoiler, so I cannot say. However, to anyone who reads it, contact me and we can have a nice talk about it. It's also a highly subjective plot point, so there really is no use in me describing it...except that this book was highly appealing to me and my personality.