To be honest, I don’t really know why I’m still reading the Song of the Lioness quartet, because I’m really not enjoying it, but having read the first two, and now reviewing the third, there’s no way I’m not going to follow it up with Lioness Rampant, because I’m stubborn as hell.
“Let her prove herself worthy as a man.”
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.
Alanna’s journey continues…
I didn’t particularly like this book. In fact, I might even go so far as to say I disliked it. Alanna is still a Mary-Sue, everything goes perfectly for her, two eligible bachelors want to marry her, and she can do nothing wrong – she teaches a tribe entrenched in its ways to accept women as actual people, she’s the most powerful sorcerer around, she can do no wrong, really, and she has purple eyes. I mean, I know that Alanna is specifically mentioned as being touched by the Goddess, but it’s getting boring now that everything she does is part of her star-spangled destiny.
The characters supporting Alanna in her journey to being the first female everything are bland and under-developed, and Jonathan develops into something that was really displeasing, in all honesty, which seemed something of a departure from his earlier characterisation. Perhaps it’s just development, though.
Pretty much the only thing dragging me through the end of this quartet is dogged determination to finish it out. I don’t think there’s anything really terribly wrong with these books, but they’re not the innovative, entrancing books I thought they would be, so I’m really left disappointed by them.
The Woman Who Rides Like A Man suffers again from the same issue as the first two books in the series – it doesn’t feel like a story in its own right. It’s more like an interlude, building up to something. The trouble is, we’ve spent so long building up, I really don’t think that the climax of the fourth book will deliver.