Okay, let’s see if I can get through this without fangirling or squeeing or hyperventilating too much OMG I’M FINALLY REVIEWING TAMORA PIERCE OMGOMGOMG!!! And The Song of the Lioness isn’t even my favorite series, so imagine how excited I’ll get when I review the others! 😍
I’ve mentioned that Tamora Pierce is my favorite author before, and throughout my reviews (now and forthcoming), I hope I can show you why her books are pure awesomeness. The Song of the Lioness quartet is the second series I read that’s set in the world of Tortall – the Tortallan universe is amazingly intricate, and this quartet just shows you the tip of the iceberg, really. I won’t belabor the point, but #justreadit. And I’m totally in love with the covers from the 2002 Simon & Schuster edition, so here they are!
Alanna of Trebond wants to be a knight of the realm of Tortall, while her twin brother, Thom, wants to learn magic. So when their father decides to send Thom to the palace of King Roald and Alanna to the convent, the twins decide to switch places. Alanna disguises herself as a boy and takes on the name “Alan.” This first book details Alanna’s adventures throughout the three years that she trains as a page, and it’s a wonderful journey as we’re introduced to the various characters, such as Jonathan, the heir apparent; George Cooper, the King of Thieves; Ralon of Melvin, a fellow page who bullies Alanna because of her small size; and many others. We get a feel of who might be the enemy in later books, but there’s still a bit a suspense near the end of the book. Alanna: The First Adventure is fast-paced and exciting, and it’s an adventure like no other!
In the second book, Alanna is now a squire, and is progressing into knighthood. As her identity is slowly revealed to her closer friends, Alanna is also becoming more aware of her femininity. In addition, Prince Jonathan and the king and queen are being threatened by a mysterious sorceror, and Alanna finally meets her enemy. But this is also the book where I start to lose interest because, oh, there’s a love triangle! I don’t think the romance in any of Tamora Pierce’s books is done particularly well, but hey, the action is still there. Alanna also attains a faithful and sassy companion in this book, so all’s well. In the Hand of the Goddess shows more intricate world-building – such as the Tortallan religions – and really pumped me up for the next book, when Alanna leaves the palace in search for more adventure.
The newly knighted Alanna wanders into the vast deserts of Tortall where the Bazhir – who had been in war with Tortall in the past – make their home. There, she becomes the first female shaman, and plays an important role in fostering the relationship between the Bahzir and Tortall. This third book is key in the world-building of Tortall, because the Bahzir (who are based off of the medieval Middle East) have a presence in almost all of the Tortall books. However, this was my least favorite book of the four, mainly because of the romance (again!). I just have a set OTP in my mind that doesn’t work with what’s happening in this book, haha.
Alanna – having already established a reputation for herself – is now set on finding the Dominion Jewel, a legendary stone with great powers. In the process, she meets new characters (some of whom will play important roles in other Tortall books) and meets her old archenemy. After Book 3, I was surprised by how riled up Book 4 could still get me – and boy, was this a dramatic ending! I love that the cast of this last book introduced more strong heroines, and that my OTP happened, so YAY!
Overall, The Song of the Lioness quartet is a lot of world-building and adventure. I really liked how more of the Tortallan universe gets revealed with each book, and yet Tamora Pierce still has time and effort to infuse so much action and so many characters into the storyline. Moreover, the impact that Alanna has on this world is ENORMOUS, and it’s just amazing how characters can change the world, what! Alanna is such a kickass protagonist (and I love how all of the Tortallan heroines are so different!) with a sharp temper and a kind heart, and even though I whined so much about the romance, it’s nice that Alanna, as a character, is free to try out different relationships before she got her ONE TRUE LOVE. 😉 She has flaws, but that’s what makes her real and relatable.
And I’d totally LOVE to see Tammy’s books on the big screen, but that will probably not happen for several reasons and blah blah boo hoo hoo, so I’ll stick with imagining out all the books in my head, which is still awesome! There’s also tons of fanart out there that I’m super excited about, and it’s interesting to see how similar the artworks turn out for a single character, which must mean that Tamora Pierce is a superb and super-detailed character creator!
Have you read Tamora Pierce’s books?
(If not, JUST DO IT.)