The Woman Who Rides Like a Man – Tamora Pierce

“Alanna of Trebond, the sole woman knight in the realm of Tortall, splashed happily in the waters of an oasis, enjoying her first bath in three days.”

Back in my childhood, I read and loved Alanna, never realising/getting my hands on any sequels. Aiming to rectify that recently, I found book 2 was a bit too much of a change of tone for me to wholly appreciate. Thankfully, book 3 doesn’t stray any further, and was easier to enjoy as a light-ish, easy read.

Following the events of In the Hand of the Goddess, Alanna is hoping to finally live up to her dream of being knight and having adventures. However, she’s soon caught up in the lives of a desert tribe. First accused of witchcraft and unnatural behaviour (for a woman), can she win them over? And what of her romance with a certain ‘friend’ – where might that be heading? Back in the city, there are plots of magic and thieves, which to be honest maybe should have made up more of the story, rather than leading into another volume.

I’m so-so on this book. On the one hand I enjoyed reading it well enough, but something about the tone still doesn’t sit quite right. In style it feels still quite ‘younger reader’, but the amount of sex would suggest otherwise. The message of having to fight for any shred of ‘girl power’ is still very sadly relevant, but I’m not sure the use of existing cultures as a basis for this fantasy is altogether as ok as I’d like. Mostly it’s not too bad, and let’s face it: the entire world of Tortall seems against equality, so meh.

I’ll press on with the final book, and I have other work by the author on my TBR. But certainly nothing so far has impressed me or rekindled the joy I had from the first book.

Kindle: 151 pages / 10 chapters
First published: 1986
Series: Song of the Lioness quartet book 3
Read from 9th-13th November 2019

My rating: 6/10

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