Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4)
YA fantasy, adventure
"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. Perhaps being a knight errant is not all that Alanna needs....But Alanna must push her uncertainty aside when a new challenge arises. She must recover the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem with enormous power for good -- but only in the right hands. And she must work quickly. Tortall is in great danger, and Alanna's archenemy, Duke Roger, is back -- and more powerful than ever. In this final book of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alanna discovers that she indeed has a future worthy of her mythic past -- both as a warrior and as a woman.
So I have library books to return and the Clean Out Your E-reader Challenge on my mind, urging me to read those books, and yet, on Saturday I was struck by a "Screw it all" attitude, "I wanna read Alanna". So I did.
This is the last book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet and I read the first one before I had a blog so I'm going to review this series as whole. You can read my review of book 2 here, and book 3 here.
As girls' adventure books go, there's no beating Alanna. Smart and headstrong, she leads the pack in heroines. Think Deryn from the Leviathan books, or Mulan. She longs to be a knight so she switches with her twin brother and trains in the palace as a boy. Over the years she makes powerful friends (Some may be a little more than friends:)) and accomplishes extraordinary feats.
Characters- ALL AWESOME. Jon, the boys, Sir Myles, George, Liam, Buri, Thayet, Coram, Thom... I could go on all day. Everyone has such personality! They're what make these books so much fun to read(:
Themes and ideas- this, I think, is the area where the quartet stands out the most. Aside from the girl-warrior-dressed-as-boy thing, the novels explore the ideas of believe it or not, your first love isn't necessarily your true love. Also, while I personally don't approve of this choice, Alanna sleeps with her lovers. Multiple ones. And wears a protective charm for pregnancy. Not only does she contest womens' right to fight, she also disproves all the things that would traditionally make her a respectable woman in her world, and I found that refreshing and inspiring. Also, her love life doesn't end in happily ever after marrying the prince- she loves him but contemplates her ability and will to rule, and ultimately makes a decision based on things other than what's expected of her but rather for her own and others' good.
Note: The first book centers around Alanna at ages 11-12, and is suitable for middle-grade readers. Book two has more mature content.
Another aspect of the series that I love is how you are with her over a period of almost 10 years, and really grow to love her world and friends.
And now, the REASON FOR GIVING BOOK #4 ONLY 4 STARS:
I'm not sure. Maybe it's that sometimes Jon has seriously out of character moments, something that I see as a flaw in the writing. Or maybe it's that Alanna kinda goes looking for trouble (though that's arguable- it's her job as a knight) I think it's mainly that the big plot point in book #3 is resolved with little explanation in book #4, and that the big plot point in book #4 pops out with little explanation as to WHY it was allowed to happen in the first place.
Also, I was disappointed in Thayet's final decision , because I felt that so much could've been done with the loose end of her country, Sarain.
overall note: I have been enjoying these books for years and will dearly miss Alanna. Really really recommended.