Book Review: In the Hand of the Goddess

In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2) 
by Tamora Pierce (Goodreads Author)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Alanna is a teenage girl who pretends to be a boy so that she can train as a squire and learn to be a knight in the royal palace of Tortall. Only a few people know about Alanna’s true identity, among them, her dearest friends, Prince Jonathan, and George, the King of Thieves. In the midst of a war with a neighboring kingdom, Alanna starts out with a determination to focus on her knightly studies, but she gets distracted by the temptations of love. With the protection of a Goddess upon her, Alanna uses her magic to unmask a deadly enemy within the very walls of the palace.

I was disappointed in this book. So disappointed in Alanna. She makes very bad decisions,

and has sex at the young age of 16. Seriously??? Why was that even included in this book? That whole storyline was awful, and the romance was so awkward it made me cringe. A couple of kisses and she just hops into bed with the guy. That is NOT okay. I thought this was a middle grade book!! I am NOT HAPPY about this. Urgh.

The rest of the book I liked though. There’s a fantastic storyline about the war with the neighboring kingdom of Tusaine, and it’s all spying and intrigue and battles. Alanna really shines, as she inspires those around her with loyalty. They see how hard-working and caring she is, always putting the needs of others before herself. She uses her limited magic to heal wounded soldiers, and throws herself into battle to protect her friends. I loved her character during those scenes!

Just like in the first book, there are MORE trite elements in this story. A cat named Faithful. What a boring name! And of course, the biggest tallest burliest soldier at the war camp is naturally named Thor. Of course. You couldn’t possibly think of a more original name for a big guy who wields an axe? Lazy writing.

The big finale was excellent, as Alanna finally confronts the hidden enemy of the palace of Tortall, the trusted adviser, that wily sorcerer that no one can ever catch in the act. I loved how the intricacies of the magic system played out in this plot! It really came together beautifully for a satisfying ending.

I was not impressed with the Ordeal of Knighthood, since the whole scene went by rather quickly and I didn’t have time to feel how frightened Alanna was. After all that buildup, it fell flat and it wasn’t even scary. It seemed like sloppy writing to me.

Overall, good things and bad things in this book. I am not a happy reader at this point, but I did enjoy a few parts of the story. I will still continue with the rest of the series, but it is with a bitter heart and a word of caution to other readers. I’m just so angry about the terrible romance plot! Gah!

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