on June 3, 2004
I just finished reading this in its unabridged audiobook format on my way to and from work. First, I must disagree with a previous review that stated this book stands on its own. I didn't realize this was book three in an ongoing series and found it a little rough going. Alanna had obviously been through a lot before this book and I continually felt like I had missed out on big important chunks of her past (especially her past relationships with others) and her knighthood.
In this book Alanna is a knight in a world where most tribes believe woman aren't meant to be a warrior (and how she became a knight? well, I still have no clue). The story begins as Alanna, along with her feline friend (whom she can communicate with) and her man-at-arms are attacked by Hillmen. Following the battle (of which Alanna and her crew are victorious) Alanna is forced to stay with the desert Bazhir tribe where her troubles begin in earnest. The local Shaman does not want Alanna around and causes her no end of trouble. Eventually a battle leads to Alanna's new position as Shaman of the tribe and her days are spent tutoring three gifted youngsters, two of them girls (much to the tribe's dismay) in the ways of magic.
Further complicating things is her relationship (which is surprisingly sexual, though not explicit, for a book marked 7-9 grade!) with Prince Jon. She sleeps with him nightly but as she spends more time with him comes to realize that he's a bit too spoiled (boy, is he ever!) and that she's not quite ready for the marriage he wants. She's also most definitely not ready to birth him a few babies just yet! Prince Jon is not pleased when she voices her opinion on their future together. Soon after Alanna meets up with yet another romantic interest George, the King of Thieves, who I guess is an old pal who becomes oh-so-much more. Finally, there's some trouble with Alanna's twin Thom who seems to be swaying over to the "darker side" of magic.
This is an okay book, as Pierce is a skilled world-builder, but I felt at a loss through the majority of the story and things didn't get moving until midway through. I also never felt a connection to any of the many characters which is a shame because I typically enjoy this author's people and their humorous insights (Trickster's Choice & Circle of Magic: Sandry's Book are two I enjoyed thoroughly). The Woman Who Rides Like A Man is very much a "middle of the series" type of book and should not be read independently of the others in this series.
on May 10, 2004
First, I want to say that I enjoyed this book very much. I didn't find it boring although it does seem as if Ms. Pierce wrote book 3 & 4 of this series as one book which was later broken into two books due to length. As such this book reads like a set up to book four. No major action takes place and there is no real climax to the book. However, Alanna makes two major life changing decisions. 1) She decides to start developing and using her magic. I liked that she became shaman although it seemed ridiculous that the Voice and the headman would have allowed such a weak and stupid shaman to stick around for so long! 2) Alanna decides that she cannot marry Jon. This is a very difficult decision for Alanna to make and I think (given their very young ages) that both Jon and Alanna react in a very realistic manner. Alanna bases her decision on logic and while Jon is not yet ready to accept it, I think Alanna has made a very wise and mature choice. What I didn't like was that she immediately begins to act immature again by using George to make herself feel better. The way George is written he's alittle too perfect. He's always there for Alanna and he is always supportive. You never see him have a relationship with any other women so I really felt sorry for him here. I wish that he and Alanna could have kept their relationshiip platonic until Alanna was ready to make a commitment to him. The way it happens makes them both look rather weak and immature. But, George has always been my favorite so a part of me was happy to see them get together. Anyway, if you are looking for a very romantic relationship in this book, you won't find it and I know many people were disappointed in that.
on July 7, 2003
My fourth favorite in the Song of the Lioness quartet, this book is still a good read.
Alanna, taking time off for the country to get used to the knowledge that she is a woman, travels to the desert to escape the dreadful Tortallan winters. She meets a Bazhir tribe, but is not accepted, especially by the shaman and the women of the tribe. She finds she likes the mysterious chieftan of the tribe and the three young outcasts who look after her at first.
She also recovers a sword brimming with evil magic and she struggles to control it.
After killing the shaman, she must take on his duties for the tribe, which includes training the three outcasts.
Another plotline continues, as George, the King of Thieves, struggles to hold his throne against Claw, an unknown thief, who insists on fighting dirty. When Alanna visits George, a bit of a relationship forms, but can it hold when neither Alanna or George can stay put long enough?
Also, Alanna's brother Thom is messing with forces that shouldn't be messed with. Like the dead.
This book is necessary to understand the fourth book (which is a great read), but most people find that it lacks the large plot twists and surprises that all of Pierce's books contain.
on May 17, 2003
Tamora Pierce's writing is a gift to readers everywhere. Her books would appeal most to the female child-teen populus. This could be an age range anywhere from five years of age to twenty years of age. Though it would be enjoyable for people of all ages! The entire lioness quartet includes Pierce's talent of creating realtable characters. Her characters posses a certain quality that makes them seem as if they are alive. Alanna, the brave-hearted featured character in the quartet, has flaws that give her a life-like quality. These flaws include stubborn behavior, a hot temper, and a love for life and adventure. She's
not a picture perfect hero, but human like the rest of us. Alanna's accomplishments are inspiring and encourage the reader to fufill some of his/her own life goals. The content is easy-going giving the story a flow. It's pace is so well-crafted, that it feels as if the reader is watching a very good and very detailed movie. Upon finishing one of her books, I feel as though I'm saying goodbye to a bunch of good friends- the characters that I've gotten to know through the stroy. The reader's become Alanna and feel the emotions that she does. It even came to the point where I was predicting Alanna's behavior: "Oh she's not going to like that!" Or "Now Alanna is going to pretend that she isn't in love." This book, although simple in word content, is one of the best and most enjoyable books I have ever read.
on April 5, 2003
I have read a lot of reviews that say that Alanna turns into a [...] in this book.
Alanna is growing up, folks. I should know. There is a time in everyone's life when they seem to become a lot more petty and selfish, but that is just to cover up the fact that they feel lost and alone.
Alanna is realizing that perhaps she and Jon aren't a match made in heaven. She sees that because she is not Jon's equal, she can't be his wife, because he needs an equal. She is confused when she learns this, and tries to find herself. She's also trying to come to terms with a part of herself that she has long denied--her magic.
I'll admit, she's selfish. Even Faithful says so. But hey--isn't everyone sometimes?
And by the way, the whole affair with George thing--it worked, in my opinion. He loves her, even when she's at her lowest. I think this could be the real reason Ms. Peirce made them have an affair. Jon turns his back on her when she's feeling terrible, but George is always there. He loves her, and treats her like an equal.
All in all, THE WOMAN WHO RIDES LIKE A MAN is a good book. Not as good as the other three, but you can't very well skip it. At least, not if you're a true Pierce fan.
One last note--George is exactly seven years older than her. Remember in the first book? He says he's seventeen, and she's ten.
on January 2, 2003
In the begining of the book Alanna is attacked by hill men who plan on killing her and Coram and stealing all of their posesions. But then the tribe The Bloody Hawk chase away the hill men but then declare Alanna is truspassing on thier property and declare Alanna must fight a duel. Alanna does win the duel and is excepted into the tribe but is then faced with more problems. The tribe's Shaman is convinced Alanna is a demon and tries to kill her in a duel but in turn Alanna kills him. Now Alanna is the new shaman and the first girl shamon and if she ever wants to leave the Bloody Hawk tribe she must trane three new shamons two of which are girls.
I realy loved the first and seccond book in the Alanna series but i very disapointed when I read this. I also found that there was a serius lack of action and a great deal of talking in this book. I also missed the characters Gary and Raul, i just thought they were so fun to read about. I realy thought Jon was the guy Alannashould marry. In the first two books he was a great companion and seemed to realy care for Alanna. But in this book he's just a jerk. He's rude, selfish, and a spoiled brat. The great thing about this series is that Alanna isn't afraid to be a tomboy and a warrior and do all the things guys can do but in this book she wants to be a type of girl that cars about how she looks and how she wears her hair every day and that realy disapointed me.
The one thing i realy like in this book however was the new landscape in which this book was placed. I thought it was realy interesting how the land scape instead of being a area with a lot of woods was a desert.
on May 13, 2002
Alanna of Trebond is taking a break from her home at the palace. Since everyone found out about her true sex, she has been worried about how people will react, and she knows that their spreading horrible rumors about her. All she wants to do is go searching for adventures and she gets one, just not the one she suspects.
While riding towards the South she is attacked by a strange group of men, she is saved by the Bazhir, enemies of these men but also enemies of the King. They invite her to their village where people look at here either as a goddess or a demon. In the few months she spends their she finds that she must not only protect herself, but train 3 young mages, and unite two groups who have been enemies for generations.
The Woman who rides like a man is another exciting edition to the Alanna series. Although I didn't like it as much as the first 2 books I still enjoyed it. The main complaint I have is the book seemed to have two plots, both that could easily be joined with the 2nd and 3rd book. But beyond that it was great. I was happy to see Alanna, George, Sir Myles, Coram and other great old characters and meet new ones. If you're an Alanna fan I recommend reading this book.
on April 29, 2002
The first book of this series is the only one I've truly truly enjoyed ot be honest so far-the second was a bit shocking. But the third-well, lemme start at the beginning.
Alanna spends much of her times fighting a recessive string of battles-they seem to lap over one another and it gets little unending after awhile. In a shortening: It gets BORING folks. I enjoyed the Bazhir-they reminded me of India and the Middle East combined. But I did get a little tired of the continual spew of Alanna beng so worried that Koureem and Kara didn't take off thier viels-it's their culture. And Alanna has no respect for that. I found this a little rude of her.
Alanna, also changed in a totally un-likable way. So she sleeps with Jon and says she loves him but doesn't want to marry him? First of all, I DO NOT under any circumstances belive in sex before marriage. (refer to the Ten Commandments if you have a problem with what I am saying)And then she acts like a baby (I think) when she finds out that he's going with Josaine now. Of she doesn't want to marry him, why does she care?
I personally like George. He's not so scoffing and rude to Alanna- (even though she deserves it sometimes) and he loves her even though she is going with Jon for so long-but I think he deserves someone better than Alanna.
I find Alanna to be a bit immoral-she's a good fighter. She's relatively nice. She is a good teacher. She's good at magic...but she is a bit of a spoiled brat too. She's not a role model, or someone I'd look up to. I'm not really liking these books that much-I like The Immortals better.
The book was okay overall, but like all of the Pierce books I've read, they always have major flaws. If you're looking for a great book, read Pierce, but after you read the masters. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman and Brian Jacques. Then you'll see why these books aren't so great. They seem to act as a lesson more than a teacher-if you get my meaning. They just advise you on how NOT to go about telling a good story...
on January 5, 2001
Although this is another display of Pierce's magical narrative, I agree with some of the other reviewers in that this was not the best book in the series. (In response to Alison from CA, this wasn't *bad*, per se, but it _was_ slightly disappointing.) Actually, I've probably suffered less disappointments then most readers, since I made the mistake of reading the Immortals quartet before this one, and so I already knew who everyone was going to end up with. That's proably why I wasn't much interested with the occurrences in it. Also, it seems to me that any great series has at least one weak book, and in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, I think this was it. Jonathan was extremely annoying in this book, as compared to his character in the first two. Alanna was annoying in that she kept it up with him, even though it was obvious they were not meant for each other, and Jon was acting like a chauvanistic, spoiled, bratty jerk! Well, perhaps he wasn't that bad, and I certainly liked him in the first two, but still. Although all I have done thus far is rant over its flaws, this book is actually very good. As always, Tamora Pierce's wonderful narrative keeps you riveted, and, of course, you cannot read the fourth until you read this one.
on January 1, 2001
Well, after reading the entire series over 100 times, I discovered that this book isn't the worst... it isn't the best, either! I have to say that Alanna dissapointed me. She was everything BUT a girl who would let others push her around because of who she was, in the first and second books. In the third book, all she was, was a depressed person who cried over the smallest things. I guess she was just trying to figure out where she stood, and tried to discover herself, but she could have done better, to say the least. And then there's Jon. How dissapointing the fight was! But some people, in my opinion, have it all wrong. It wasn't his fault, entirely. He loved her, but Alanna was being a bit stubborn. He didn't want to exactly FORCE her into marrying him. His bringing George into the conversation was just proving that he was jealous of him. He was what, 21 in the story? He just did something that any typical 21 year old man would have done; his status as a prince has nothing to do with it, although he is a bit spoiled. But is there a prince who isn't? I still wish he and Alanna could have gotten back together! The Bazhir were a bit boring, but I'm sure Ms. Pierce had a reason for bringing them into the story. There was really no big antagonist. There's a little Myles here, some George there, and Alanna all-around. Any story with Alanna in it is fine, but I hope that Ms. Pierce doesn't do anything like this in any of her stories!