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Reports From a Wild Country by Deborah Bird Rose

I loved, loved, loved this book! It is a great insight into not only the past of Indigenous Australians, but also the process of colonisation and how we can begin to right these wrongs. Rose doesn’t take a negative tone when writing this reflection, whilst making sure that it serves a great reminder that Australia has a long way to go before we can begin to heal some pretty horrible wounds.

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A Handful of Ashes by Garth Nix

Caste systems and the different tiers which we find ourselves in based on our socio-economic status have always been something that fascinate me. And, it obviously fascinates so many other people – after all, there are a lot of stories which use this as one of their themes. And, as always, Garth Nix takes this difference in people’s standing and writes an incredible story about it.

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Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume

This story is one that I would have loved when I was about twelve. It had action, fantasy, and a group of misfits that find their place in life. However, being just that little older, I did find it a little difficult to get through, after all, the writing was aimed at someone far younger than me, and it did feel a little less smooth. Honestly, that’s the only reason that I gave this story a lower score than I usually do, because while I enjoyed the storyline, I struggled a little bit with the language.

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June 2017

You just have to love finals time... for me it always means a lot of short story readings to reduce the stress. After all, there is nothing like momentarily losing yourself in a story to help you get away from the daily stresses.

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Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Lioness Rampant is a great conclusion to the Song of the Lioness quartet. Alanna’s years of travel, training and testing help to bring her powers to the fore. And luckily, because this is an epic battle and journey that helps to cement her fame as a hero in the Tortallan world. Yet, it is also where Alanna is able to come full circle – she finally accepts herself for everything that she is, she finds herself someone that she wants to spend the rest of her life with, and she is able to find her place in the world that makes her happy and fulfilled.

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The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

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.

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In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

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.

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Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

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.

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Student of Ostriches by Tamora Pierce

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!

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