Illustrator: Marilee Heyer
Series: Song of the Lioness #4
Also in this series: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on May 1st 2003
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
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"I'm not sure I want to be a hero anymore."
Having achieved her dream of becoming the first female knight errant, Alanna of Trebond is not sure what to do next. She has triumphed in countless bloody battles, and her adventures are already legendary. Perhaps being a knight errant is not all that Alanna needs....But Alanna must push her uncertainty aside when she is challenged with the impossible. She must recover the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem with enormous power for good -- but only in the right hands. And she must work fast. Tortall is in great danger, and Alanna's arch-enemy, Duke Roger, is back -- and more powerful than ever. In this final book of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alanna discovers through fierce combat and ceaseless searching that she indeed has a future worthy of her mythic past -- both as a warrior and as a woman.
This wasn’t the BEST book in the series but it was good conclusion. Here we finally find the answers to her main questions throughout: what is she going to do with her life, and whom will she end up with?
The villain was pretty powerful: Roger, returned. But it seemed to me that all the plots weren’t really the focus of this story. It just was something to propel the story forward while Alanna figured things out. There were a lot of subplots going on as well, and that’s one of the things I like about this series. Kept things interesting in every area of the story.
I really wasn’t prepared for the level of misfortune in this particular story. We lose some pretty important characters. But that’s what happens, I guess. It was…heartbreaking.
I didn’t really like Liam, though- the Shang warrior she befriends and yet another potential love interest. I wasn’t a fan of him or Jon in this book. He was an all right dude in the end, but he treated her with contempt or condescension a little too often.
What was really amusing was her fight with her sexuality. She kept going back and forth between acting like a knight (as a man) and a woman and seemed to want to just pick one, but she couldn’t. And some people wanted her to act one way, and some wanted her to act another. In the end, she needed someone to accept her as she was, which was…sort of a mix of both.
So, about George…I liked him from the beginning, but he just seemed too friendly to me. Calling Alanna ‘lass’ all the time, even when she was an adult and a love interest. It was hard to see him as a love interest when he was just so protective of her in an older-brother kind of way. View Spoiler »But I guess I’m happy that they ended up together. It’s hard to see them as settling down and starting a family, but out of all the potential love interests, George was the best. So that makes it even sweeter when you look back and remember that in the very beginning, he said he’d wait for her when she was favoring Jon. For once, the slow-and-steady-and-sweet guy won. « Hide Spoiler
Alanna was still kinda OP in this book, but as it was less about fighting and more about introspection, I wasn’t as bothered.
Also, and this may be a little spoilerish but not really if you read the synopsis, Roger coming back is the stupidest thing ever. Really? Thom brought him back because of a stupid DARE? He brought him back, the dude who tried to kill the queen and steal the throne? WHAT WAS HE THINKING? He must have not been right in the head. And everyone’s just fine with it! Well, there are whispers, but the king’s like, hey, full pardon and restoration of your title, and let’s just forget all that nasty business about usurpation. He’s a little too peace-loving. And the people don’t really question it much, aside from muttering about a curse on their line. You brought back an evil scheming murderer and sorcerer! That’s so ridiculous! Even in a fantasy I find this a little too far-fetched. The people wouldn’t react so calmly to that. The king shouldn’t have reacted so calmly. Thom could have brought back anyone else from death- why Roger??? Ugh. So stupid.
By the way, I really love these book covers. Alanna’s so beautiful. Usually I’d have an issue with the purple/red combo (her eyes and hair) but she’s still beautiful.