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.
Alanna switches places with her twin brother, so that he can study magic with the priests and become a sorcerer, and Alanna can study to become a knight in the royal palace. She pretends to be a boy, and joins the pages in the palace. She learns to fight and begins to control her magical abilities. But it’s difficult keeping her biggest secret, her true gender, from all the boys around her!
I really enjoyed this book, and I read it in one sitting! Couldn’t put it down. The writing style has a few flaws, but the memorable characters and fascinating plot make up for it. A few trite “fairy tale” sort of things pop up (King of Thieves, a horse named Moonlight, a sword named Lightning), but I like them anyway. Not exactly original sometimes, but the oldies are the goodies. Continue reading →