Song of the Lioness

Author  Tamora Pierce
Books in the Series
  1. Alanna: The First Adventure
  2. In the Hand of the Goddess
  3. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
  4. Lioness Rampant
Date Released  1983-1988
Rating ★★★★★
This is another favorite of mine, just to start out my blog. My name is Alena, so, on my middle school library’s bookshelves, Alanna popped out. I picked it up, and the character on the front cover had red hair, like me, and she wanted to become a knight, which seemed pretty awesome and interesting to read. I never really put the series back down again, checking it out continually, over and over again, until I graduated middle school (and then I had younger sister check them out for me over the summer so I could enjoy the cover art for a few more months…see edition below). It was the first series I ever read that I was actually truly invested in and introduced me to Tamora Pierce’s work. I’ll be reviewing this series in one post because I read them all pretty much as one book.
Quick intro: At age eleven, Alanna of Trebond and her twin brother Thom are supposed to go learn to be a lady at a convent and a knight at the capital city (Corus), respectively, but neither has any interest in the path their distracted father has chosen for them, so they switch places (Alanna disguises herself as a boy to become a page and Thom goes to the convent, still as a boy, to learn to be a sorcerer).  Alanna struggles through her time as a page and then a squire, making friends with the prince of the realm, Prince Jonathan, and his comrades, as well as the King of Thieves of Corus, George Cooper. Alanna plans to reveal her true identity after she has earned her shield as a knight, but a few people close to her figure it out early (it’s fine. they like her). She becomes an extremely good swordsman and fighter and learns to control her strong magical Gift. Thom, her twin, becomes the youngest master sorcerer, like, ever. After she becomes a knight, she battles an evil sorcerer, who messes with her life and the lives of the people around her. She goes on adventures in the desert, teaches children how to fight and do magic, learns from a master of hand-to-hand fighting, fights her own heart as feelings develop (she never wanted  to fall in love, just become a hero), and makes a place for herself in a changing world (she causes most of the change herself), becoming a legend across the realms.

Absolutely recommend reading this series. There’s magic and friendship and knights, and, as I said in my review of Wild Magic, Tamora Pierce does an amazing job of creating down-to-earth characters who have their good and bad qualities. Alanna, for example, has a temper, she thinks she’s a hero, and she’s really stubborn, but she’s also a really hard worker, smart, brave, humble, and a hero.

The series start out with Alanna at eleven, so one might think the books can only be enjoyed by kids in their early teens, but that it just not so – the story and the characters are so lovable and relatable and deal with treachery and making decisions about growing up, and it’s timeless. Who, of any age, wouldn’t want to read as Alanna puzzles through the mystery of boys or resolves to learn a new style of fighting that someone tells her she can’t learn?

And I love those covers. They’re beautiful.

The Song of the Lioness series is well-written and, even though there’s magic and knights and stuff, not too far up in the clouds, and a good series to read if you just want to root for the good guys as they learn from their mistakes.

Ich sehe euch später,
Alena 🙂

“From now on, I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight, Thom’ll be a sorcerer.

“You’re pluck to the backbone, young Trebond.”

“I just want to be a warrior maiden and go on adventures. I don’t want to fall in love, especially not with George or Jon.”

“The enemy you will make is too powerful for you to accuse without evidence – and plenty of it.”

“But I come back, and ye’re the Mother-blessed shaman of the tribe, ye’ve adopted three young ones, and ye’re forcing the women to accept two of their own sittin’ with the men-”
“You’re turning purple,” Alanna commented when he stopped for breath.

“I want to start acting like a knight again. And maybe we’ll find some adventures along the way. Sound good?”

“I’m not a hero, not yet.”


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