Read books #1 and #2 first,
This review is from: Woman Who Rides Like a Man (School & Library Binding)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.