The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Book Three in the Song of the Lioness Series) by Tamora Pierce
I actually finished this one weeks ago. However, my full time construction job on top of motherhood leaves me very little computer time. But here is my review of the third book in this saga. (And I mean that in the sense that the series is becoming a little long winded with only a few dramatic events.)
Now that she has won her knighthood and defeated the sorcerer who threatened the peace of the kingdom, Sir Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the deserts of Tortall. She defeats a band of robbers but breaks her sword irreparably. In a strange twist of fate she is adopted by the desert Bazhir tribe, the Bloody Hawk, and becomes their Shaman. And this is where the majority of the book takes place.
As Shaman, Alanna improves her own magic skills and trains apprentices, two girls and a boy. Alanna spends much of her knighthood defending the rights of women in a male dominated culture, as opposed to seeking out adventure. There is not a distinct antagonist in this book. Instead, this books seems to be a sort of coming of age story for Alanna. She continues her search for love and acceptance, while turning down a marriage proposal, and mastering her Gift.
I give Book Three 3 out of 12 buttered rolls. This could be the “Empire Strikes Back” installment of this series but really, I was left totally underwhelmed. There is so much drama. I’m talking femi-nazi, “Girls can do anything boys can do,” “A family will kill my career,” “Anyone who supports a patriarchal society is enslaving women,” type feminism. It got old, and without a specific antagonist or quest to focus on, it got old fast. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the idea of a female heroine. I encourage my daughters to be anything they want to be. But between the what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life drama and the men-hate-strong-women femi-nazi propaganda, I am left hoping there is a “Return of the Jedi” finish to this series. Here’s hoping for the best.