Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Series: Song of the Lioness, #4
First Published: 1988
Published: January 1, 2005
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 272

"I'm not sure I want to be a hero anymore." 

Having achieved her dream of becoming the first female knight errant, Alanna of Trebond is not sure what to do next. Perhaps being a knight errant is not all that Alanna needs....But Alanna must push her uncertainty aside when a new challenge arises. She must recover the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem with enormous power for good -- but only in the right hands. And she must work quickly. Tortall is in great danger, and Alanna's archenemy, Duke Roger, is back -- and more powerful than ever. In this final book of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alanna discovers that she indeed has a future worthy of her mythic past -- both as a warrior and as a woman.
 Because this book is the conclusion of a killer series, I want to give it 5 stars. At the same time, I enjoyed it's predecessors far more than I enjoyed this book. 
That's not to say that this book is horrible; it's not. It's still full of the same amazing characters, and none of them let you down. No, as usual, it is the plot that suffers. 

I for one, really dislike it when character's are brought back from the dead. I think it really causes their credibility to suffer. It also let's the reader know that the stakes are lowered. Joss Whedon understands this relationship perfectly. He knows if he doesn't kill off character's continuously put into bad situations, then his audience won't ever expect him to do anything real. On the other hand, he can't be caught reusing tropes because of the same issue. And that's one of my biggest issues with this book - the source of conflict is a reused trope, and it reads like that. The portion of the novel not devoted to that then feels like filler, especially during the first half of the novel.

But then the ending roles around. And despite all the imperfections, it's still perfect. Pierce has a talent for that. And to be clear, a perfect ending is not an ending that appears perfect. No, a perfect ending is real, raw. There's a reality to it that makes the happiness believable and the tragedy carthartic. And it was a great series. One of the best fantasy series out there, and if anyone is looking for something in that genre that they haven't seen before, I definitely recommend Pierce's first series.