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

by Tamora Pierce

Paperback, 2011



Local notes

PB Pie




Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2011), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages


On her first tour as a knight errant, Alanna assumes a position of influence with a fierce desert tribe, makes some changes in the role of women in the society, and continues her own emotional development.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

288 p.; 5.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member nmhale
Since I've reviewed the first two books in this series, I won't spend a lot of time canvassing old plot material. We all know who Alanna, and Prince Jonathon, and the other important characters are, and the major events that unfolded before this book. Actually, what I want to focus on in this
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review is why I liked this, the third book in the series, better than the previous two.

I've read a lot of Pierce's quartet series. I fell in love with her Immortals saga and The Circle series, and became a renewed fan with the Protector of the Small. When I started reading Alanna, her first foray into the kingdom of Tortall, I was disappointed. I'm not sure why, but the stories just didn't keep my attention the way others had. Maybe because she was a younger writer with a less mature style, or because I already knew the outcomes for all these characters - since we see their future incarnations in later stories, I knew how that romance would turn out, how that character would end up. The first book had bits that were very reminiscent of Kel's story (I know, I know, Kel's story came later and is the one copying, but I read it first after all) and I thought Kel did it better.

After not being that attracted to the series, I found this third novel making a better impression on me. Alanna has moved away from the castle and becomes immersed in the world of the desert Bazhir. Pierce explores the Bazhir culture, as well as the dramatic changes that Alanna introduces into the relatively patriarchal world, in greater detail than in other series. It was enjoyable to explore a new aspect of Tortall. I also liked the development in her relationship with Jonathon and George, which became complex. I do like both men, but have to admit that I'm sad how it all resolves (which I already know from other books). It must be the novelty of the setting, the maturity in the characters, and the foreshadowing of things to come that made this book stand out as the best in the series for me. It encourages me to go ahead and finish that quartet, eventually.
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LibraryThing member RebeccaAnn
Alanna's finally a knight and, after the scandal that she cause when revealing her true gender, she decides it might be better to have a few adventures away from the castle for awhile. While traveling in the desert, she and Coram are attacked by hillmen and rescued by Bhazir. Soon, Alanna finds
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herself in the unwanted post of shaman of Bloody Hawk Bhazir tribe with three youngsters as her apprentices. Turmoil's happening in her personal life as well. There's the unwanted marriage proposal by Jonathan and the very much desired official adoption of Alanna by Sir Myles, who makes her his heir. And what's going on with Thom? He seems to be becoming more and more like Roger every day.

I think this is my favorite book of the series so far (though the first is still a strong contender). There's more action in this book, and more romance. I felt this was definitely more adult than the first two books, as there were many more references to sex (though none explicit). I don't remember these scenes from when I was younger so I'm not too worried about it being over the top. I don't think I would hesitate to give any of these books to a child.

George becomes a much more important character in this book which is great, because I love him. He's funny, witty, and definitely cares more about Alanna. That's one thing I do like about these books. With Jon's marriage proposal, Alanna doesn't just say yes. She thinks about and considers whether she's ready for the responsibility. I think it's a nice contrast to other books out there, like Twilight. There's a line, I think Myles says it, in response to Alanna taking time to consider the marriage: "It's easier to change a no into a yes than a yes into a no." I like that these books promote thinking before commit to some huge responsibility, and Pierce does it well without being preachy at all.

As for Thom's side story, I don't know what's going on with him but it doesn't seem to be anything good. This book seems to be a set up towards Thom becoming a major bad guy in the fourth book. I guess I'll just have to find out for myself! Off to read it now!
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LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
After achieving her knighthood and defeating a great enemy, Alanna leaves the palace and all her friends to discover who she is and where she belongs.

The third book in this series introduces still more new people and challanges to this growing character. She learns diplomacy and teaching and gains
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the respect of another race of people. Another good book.
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LibraryThing member JenJ.
I've read this a couple of times, but this time I decided to listen to the audio and it was a fun way to "re-read." This is some of the earliest Tamora Pierce and she's just getting comfortable as a writer, but it's still great fun. I cannot stress how much I love her books.
LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This is the third book in the Song of the Lioness quartet, so you certainly should have read the first two before reading this one. Alanna finally became a knight at the end of the second book--but she was also revealed to be a woman. Deciding she needs some time away from the court, she goes out
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into the desert and becomes involved with the Bazhir--a tribal people who seem patterned after the Bedouins of Arabia. Alanna manages to gain the respect of this patriarchal people and for a time acts as their shaman and takes on three apprentices.

From what I gather from reviews, people feel mixed on whether this installment is the weakest of the four, or better than the first two. Personally, I'm with the second. I feel Pierce matured as a writer in this novel. It's true, in some ways this is skippable. It feels more like an interlude between the main plot of the quartet. It's also in that sense more self-contained, and it's better paced than the first two books, taking place in the course of a year.

Also, I have to cheer at how Pierce handled the entire romance between Jonathan and Alanna--for several reasons. One, because there's an ornery part of me that gets grumpy about the tired heroine gets the prince. But also, especially compared to the message of books like Twilight, Alanna actually thinks it all through, and doesn't just get swept away by her passions. I liked that--it's part of what makes Alanna a distinctive and admirable heroine.
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LibraryThing member SavvyEscapades
All I can say is that books change a lot as you grow up. The Alanna series was one of my favorites in middle school, right up there with Ella Enchanted (which also merits being added to the list). When I was younger, this book was my least favorite in the series. Mostly because Alanna’s romantic
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relationships frustrated me. The heroine is always supposed to end up with the prince! Well, now I am older and wiser and know that real princes show you that they care. The don’t use empty words. They know how you like your coffee, the remember your birthday, they throw a blanket over you when you pass out on the couch so you don’t get cold– and not just so they can win brownie points. They do these things because they actually care about you and want to make you happy. As a grown(ish)-up, Alanna’s logic makes a little more sense.

But enough tangential lecturing. First of all, the current edition by Simon Pulse is kind of atrocious. The cover is a pretty purple, but there are glaring typos galore. If you can find an older edition, go with that. The literary critic in me feels that some of the characters, mainly Alanna and Jon, can get a little flat sometimes (particularly during speeches about who they think they are/what they stand for). Still, I find myself sucked into this world. I just finished the book about half an hour ago, and I already want to go find the fourth book because this book left of with a cliff hanger about whether or not the villain is really REALLY dead, and I don’t remember how the story goes. Tamora Pierce writes very clear, simple action sequences (though Scott Westerfeld is still winning my Action-Writer-I’d-Most-Like-To-Emulate Award) and she and Patricia C. Wrede are the only writers that I feel write about magic solidly and effectively (and Wrede uses magic pretty sparingly, if I remember correctly). And yes, before you complain Rowling was on that list, but certain plot-hole filling stunts in Deathly Hallows got her removed from that list.

In short? I loved the time I spent reading The Woman Who Rides Like A Man. It was a nice, easy and quick escape from my world of waiting for Law School decisions and Law and Finance midterms. It even sparked a dream that I had about the characters in the book I’m writing, but that, as they say, is for another time.
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LibraryThing member melannen
Things I like about this book: 1. it continues to be well-written and have wonderful, full, vivid characters.
2. Alanna's relationship with Jon gets to be realistically complicated rather than happily-ever-after or overwrought.
3. The Bazhir culture gets developed, especially showing divisions within
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the culture, and the changing roles of different people within the tribes especially in terms of gender, and the long-term subtle effects of the domination by Tortall.

Things I didn't like about this book:
The whole story is kind of very, very, Dances with Wolves, right down to the title. It's done in a somewhat thoughtful way - there's implication that the Bazhir are choosing, thoughtfully, to invite Jon and Alanna in, because having some influence on the colonizers is still better than just being lost - but it's still not a plot that I'm terribly fond of,. And colonialism aside, as was my problem with most of this series, that plot is dull and derivative, especially compared to the vividness of the characters who inhabit it.
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LibraryThing member mmillet
In book three of the Song of the Lioness series, Alanna has just received her Knight's shield and is anxious to be off on an adventure of her own making. Accompanied by the steady Coram, who trained her as a young page, Alanna feels ready for any eventuality. Heading southward, Alanna and Coram are
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attacked by murderous desert dwellers and are eventually rescued by the equally enigmatic Bazhir people who offer her two options: fight one of their own warriors and join the tribe or be killed. Wisely, Alanna fights and awes group with her fighting skills and compassion - except for a notable few members of the Bloody Hawk tribe. Despite all the tradition and prejudice against women, Alanna is slowing welcomed by the group, eventually becoming the tribe's newest shaman and training three youngsters to carry on her in place.Even though she has escaped the confines of palace life, Alanna is confronted with the reality of determining her relationship with Prince Jonathan while the ever comforting presence of George, the King of the Thieves, silently keeps watch over her. All of Alanna's friends are wonderful but George has always been a standout for me. This book finally showed a little more personality in Jonathan and, for good or bad, made for a more interesting character.Wherever she goes, Alanna draws attention. It's probably the whole red hair, purple eyes, warrior maiden thing she has going on but it really works for her. I'd probably stop in my tracks if she crossed my way too. That said, I love how she is constantly faced with difficult challenges where there really is no easy answer. Alanna faces each situation with maturity and intelligence that I can't help but admire. But above all, she is loyal to her friends and to the vows she made as a knight and it shows in everything she does. I am so enjoying this series and I can't wait to see what is up next for Alanna in the concluding volume, Lioness Rampant.
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LibraryThing member sdtaylor555
Even better than the first two in the series!
LibraryThing member bell7
The third in the Song of the Lioness trilogy finds Alanna, newly made a knight of the realm, in the south deserts seeking adventure. Events conspire to make her an integral part of a Bazhir tribe, using and teaching the Gift she is so afraid to use.

Unlike the second book, this covers only about a
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year. Though still fast-paced, the second half especially felt like a bit of a set up for the fourth book. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to Alanna, George, Jonathan, and all the great characters in this series.
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LibraryThing member Stevil2003
After being very aggravated at the second book in this YA fantasy series, I ended up really enjoying this one. It's nice to see Alanna out of her element among the Bazhir tribesmen, instead of at knight school, where she just succeeds at everything all the time. For once, we see her struggle to
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come to terms with something she's not very good at and doesn't understand, though of course in the end she becomes the best ever. The later portions of the book, once she leaves the Bazhirs and becomes bogged down in more tedious relationship drama (which is typically of the contrived "I love him and he loves me but gosh, I just don't know what to do for some reason!" variety) suffers because it is less focused and feels more like setup for the next (and last) book, but overall this was the most enjoyable installment in the series so far.
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LibraryThing member parkridgeya
Alanna is now a knight and goes out seeking adventure. She encounters more adventure than she realizes and becomes a shaman to the Behazir. She does battle and learns what it really means to be a knight. There is a falling out with her and Jonathan, the prince and her lover, which gives a romantic
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spark to the story.
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LibraryThing member mizchvz
Alanna needs time away from Corus, away from the court. She never imagined she'd become a shaman while on her first adventure as a knight.
LibraryThing member LAteacher
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man is about a girl named Alanna. She wants to learn to be a knight but only boys were allowed back then. Therefore, Alanna dressed up as a boy and called herself Alan. Few people know about her disguise. One day Duke Roger comes to teach the students including Alanna.
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Alanna knows more about Duke Roger than she should. Check The Woman Who Rides Like a Man out at the library to learn more.
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LibraryThing member jwl
Another favorite kids book. I love this author, and I'm working an acquiring all of her works.
LibraryThing member melissarecords
The third book in the Song of the Lioness quartet. Alanna begins her travels as a full knight. My least favorite of the four books. Just didn't interest me that much.
LibraryThing member Capnrandm
These books get more and more satisfying as the series progresses, can't wait to listen to LIONESS RAMPANT!
LibraryThing member mirikayla
This one makes me wonder if I should have given the first two five stars instead of four.
LibraryThing member erincathryn

I don't really have much to say about this book, as it is setting up the final book in the series. The story continues to evolve smoothly and the characters continue to grow.

I never realized there was so much (light) promiscuity in this series. But the relationships are genuine and evolve
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(and disintigrate) in a genuine manner.

One thing I am noticing more and more is "special abilities" and how they seem to pop up at exactly the right time. There is a shadow over there? Luckily I have JUST the special ability to determine it is a tree and not an ambush.

On to book 4.
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LibraryThing member Jean_Sexton
I wanted to like this book more than I did. While there was much to like with a strong female character who wants life to be good for others, there were some disturbing turns. Jon suddenly turned into a petulant prince, demanding Alanna be who he thinks she should be. There are stronger hints of
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The Evil Twin. And there were times when Alanna herself sort of came across as the Benevolent Great White Hope bringing her much better ways to the ignorant natives.

That said, it was still a good story. Showing people that women can indeed be the equals of men is a good thing. And Alanna's refusing to give up her dreams to become someone she is not is an excellent role model. So with its flaws, I will continue to read the series.

Recommended for readers of fantasy.
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LibraryThing member Crowyhead
Another great installment in the Song of the Lioness quartet.
LibraryThing member StarKnits
The fist year of Alana's knighthood
LibraryThing member BrynDahlquis
I actually like this one a lot because Alanna seems to grow up so much. I also really like the Bazhir, though I'm still not quite sure how the Voice is supposed to work or what he actually does on a day to day basis.

Jonathan is freaking annoying, but that's expected.
LibraryThing member SandyAMcPherson
Alanna sojourns in the desert amongst a tribe of the Bahzir, after defeating their shaman. This story appealed to me more than Book 2. The characterizations were lively and the story less contrived with Alanna 'out' as a woman.
LibraryThing member M.Akter.Tonima
Spoiler alert

Things i like about this book:
1. Introduction of new culture
2. Alana believing in gender equality and demanding while also making other people demand for its establishment
3. Sutble hint of return of roger

Things i hate about this book:
1. Imperialism mirroring; alana the saviour of
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tribal people, teaching them "proper" ways like unveiling women (let them be who they wanna be)
2. Alana whining about everything
3. Alana and Jons weird romance. Has even less chemistry than beetlejuice and alec baldwin
4. Jon being a pampered jerk from a modest prince
5. No sign of george until alana needed him as a rebound
6. Evil religious people ( I am agnostic myself, but I found this potrayal to be stereotyping)

Did not forsee this series going so down the hill
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