The entire Song of the Lioness quartet is about acceptance for me – acceptance of the differences (and similarities of others), acceptance that things are not always as they seem, and most importantly, acceptance of yourself. Although Alanna is forced to accept herself as both a woman and a warrior within the first two books, her ability to come to terms with both her magic and her recent past are seriously challenged, and eventually resolved in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.
Alanna’s final years as a knight-in-training are everything that her first years as a page were – they are filled with laughter, danger and intrigue. The revealing of her secret at the end of Alanna: The First Adventure just helps to further her tale as she continues to battle enemies, both inside and out. Yet, as she gets older, the stakes are also raised, and Alanna is constantly forced to face even greater challenges. Not to mention that In the Hand of the Goddess brings forth her patron – the Mother Goddess.
Tales of women masquerading as men occur again and again in both classical and modern literature. After all, in a society that is patriarchal in nature, the idea of dressing as a man to get the recognition and follow the path that a woman wants isn’t that ridiculous. Pierce’s adaptation of this classical story works beautifully in the Song of the Lioness Quartet. Alanna’s choice to pursue her chosen future, regardless of the consequences shows a level of gumption and courage that few truly have. Her ability to fight for what she believes is right is completely admirable and it makes this story impossible to put down.
I’ve loved the idea of Shang warriors since the first moment they were mentioned in Alanna: The First Adventure, so finally finding a story about one… indescribable! Kylaia is briefly mentioned in the Song of the Lionness series, and it was difficult to imagine how a woman would become a master of her own body, to the point that she is able to kill a man with her bare hands. It is easy to understand how the rest of the Tortall women choose to pursue their destinies – their parents were involved in wars, they fell into the situation, or they are stubborn nobles who decide to forge a slightly unique path. Yet, the idea of someone becoming so honed in their body that they are chosen for the Shang way of life… it finally makes sense!
It’s always nice to revisit a fantasy world that you have loved over the years. One that you have visited again and again and again over the years. To Hold the Bridge was a great way to do this. The Old Kingdom series has been a favourite for years, and, although this novella doesn’t fit into the overall storyline, it does serve as a fantastic reminder of the years of joy that these stories have given me.
The name of this story is brilliant – high stakes, stakes as in vampires. I had way too much of a giggle over this. The story title, combined with the great and engaging plot line has inspired me to buy the first book in the Chicagoland Vampires series, and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the cast and crew of this interesting vampire series (and I don’t normally like vampire books, Twilight kind of ruined that for me…).
I am madly in love with this novella. It combines Celtic and druidic knowledge, the dangers of the Fair Folk, an evil curse and a story of love. Honestly, it is impossible not to fall in love with this novella. After all, it is a tale of two brothers who support each other and understand the ties of family. The evil mother that bound them together just makes their love for one another all the more impressive and admirable. It is the sibling relationship that everyone dreams about – total acceptance and equality in everything they do.