The Woman Who Rides Like a Man: Book Review

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, #3) 
by Tamora Pierce

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Alanna is a full-fledged knight and leaves the court of Tortall to seek adventure in the southern deserts. She encounters a nomadic desert tribe, and is forced into a duel for her life. If she wins the duel, she will be adopted by the tribe as a Bazhir warrior. The Shaman of the Bazhir tribe warns the people that Alanna will anger the gods and bring calamity to them all, and Alanna has to prove that she is as good as any man, not just with a sword but with her magic too.

Once again, I was extremely disappointed in this book. Alanna is so great when she’s fighting, and helping people with her magic, and making friends, and teaching youngsters to control their budding magic. She is hardworking and tough and compassionate. She is such a delight in those scenes!

And then she goes sleeping around with two different men. This is not a series for middle grade! I just don’t understand why any of that is in this book.

It serves no purpose in the plot. It’s not romantic at all, because they just hop into bed together. There’s no romantic scenes, no slow burn, no will-they-won’t-they. If the romance had been written with stolen glances, and one or two innocent kisses, and then hand-holding in the middle of a chaotic scene to show how they rely on one another emotionally during a crisis, THEN it would have served a purpose in the plot and shown the characters to best advantage, AND been appropriate for a middle grade or YA book. I don’t know what the author could have been thinking, making her main character promiscuous. It makes me so angry!!!! GAH! I hate seeing a character I love go down such a bad path, making bad decisions, and then being held up as a role model for young people.

I really loved the desert setting with the shaman magic and the Bezhir tribes. Their culture was richly described and the characters were well written. But I wish that the Bezhir characters had had a little more development. They are rather stagnant, and seem to exist only to create a plot point for Alanna, not to have their OWN stories with their own agendas and background.

I knew I was losing interest in the story when one of the supporting characters died, and I was like… meh. Don’t really care. But I didn’t care because there wasn’t much time spent on his story or on the grief of the other characters after his death. They didn’t spend much time grieving him, so neither did I.

As with the other books in this series, there were many things in the book that I liked, and many more that I didn’t like. There is so much great potential there for a really wonderful story, but the author takes too many wrong turnings in the plot and gets away with sloppy writing. I’m still going to read the last book, but I’m not a happy reader at this point.

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