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The Woman Who Rides Like A Man (2005)

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (2005)
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4.19 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0689878583 (ISBN13: 9780689878589)
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English
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publisher
simon pulse
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The Woman Who Rides Like A Man (2005)
The Woman Who Rides Like A Man (2005)

About book: Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I've never been a big fan of the these covers, because they have character impersonators on them. This may be my least favorite. Is the character impersonator supposed to have jaundice? She doesn't look well at all. The horse is pretty, at least.Characters: My opinion of Alanna is rather lukewarm; that is, I neither like her nor dislike her. She doesn't exactly have The Attitude, and at times she expresses a very strong and believable personality. But other times, she turns into a puddle of tears for no reason, which totally makes her look pathetic and immature. She wants to be a brave warrior woman and she's crying over a few hurtful words someone threw at her? Sorry, not buying it. Nevertheless, while she's trying to prove something to everyone, she never goes around with a "I have to prove women are equal" attitude, and for this I can at least be thankful. In some ways, Alanna is a believable knightess; in other ways, she seems very young. As soon as Alanna and Jonathan started sleeping together, I lost all respect for them both, but especially Jonathan because he also slept with other court ladies. Whatever sliver of liking I had for him was demolished in this installment entirely. He's rude and chauvinistic and temperamental and assuming and arrogant. It's like he had a complete personality change simply because the Author needed to create a bit of drama between them and give Alanna a reason to refuse his marriage proposal. George is still pretty awesome, though he, too, starts sleeping with Alanna. But I still rather like him. The other characters of this story I didn't care about either way.The Romance: Jonathan wants to marry Alanna, but Alanna doesn't want to live the life of a courtier, let alone a princess. George is utterly devoted to Alanna, but she's too busy sharing Jonathan's bed to notice, and so he quietly waits. You can tell which guy I'm supporting, can't you? In truth, I don't really care. George is an interesting character, but I mostly like him because I'm desperate to like someone. I can't like Alanna because she's two-dimensional, and Jonathan is a jerk. And once he makes an appearance in the story, the romance takes a pretty prominent place in the plot, which also means Alanna turns into a puddle of tears and storms around and makes stupid mistakes and pouts. At the same time, none of the relationships feel very developed. They're bland.Plot: Having earned her shield, Alanna has taken to the road to do some questing, to prove to herself and other people that she has every right to carry her rank as a knight of the realm. Her travels take her into the desert, where a nomadic clan takes her in as one of their own. One thing leads to another, and she's soon the clan's shaman as well as one of their warriors. While the plot of The Woman Who Rides Like a Man is a little less meandering than the other two, it still doesn't have much a purpose. Alanna's adoption into the clan, which should be a huge moment in the story, takes place right at the beginning. And her becoming shaman is very anticlimactic. The majority of the book is spent with her learning her shaman duties and training her replacements, as well as casting out the evil in a new magic sword she's found. Oh, and something about Jonathan becoming the next representative of all of the desert tribes. Which, of course, then leads to romantic drama. Alanna spends a lot of time feeling guilty for slaying Duke Roger, even though she totally did the right thing, and then she has hysterical moments when she's quite convinced that she'll never be rid of his memory simply because she sees symbols that are similar to the ones that had been on his staff. Seriously, this book makes the whole battle between Alanna and Duke Roger out to be this huge, epic event that spanned the last two books, which is a gross exaggeration. Duke Roger was hardly important. So yet again, Readers are left with a book that has no definite plot and meanders through one event to another.Believability: I shouldn't be addressing any form of believability, but there is one thing that kept bothering me: the nomadic peoples treat women totally as second-class citizens, and yet they welcome Alanna into their midst as a fellow warrior with hardly any dither, and they also welcome her endeavors to change the way of things for the women of the tribe. Deep-rooted tradition is not that easy to change; not even in a fantasy land.Writing Style: Third person, past tense. Once more, I am not impressed with this Author's writing style. People praise her world building and descriptions to high heaven, but I haven't seen anything special in it at all. It's not bad exactly, but it's mediocre and not at all what I would expect of someone who gets such high praise for style.Content: Alanna sleeps with Jonathan, and later George, but Readers are not treated to any details (thank goodness).Conclusion: Apparently Alanna's twin brother has taken a turn towards arrogance and messing around with dangerous magic. I had no idea he tended towards this. Is everyone getting a personality change? Apparently. There's nothing epic about the end, and therefore there was nothing epic about this book. A bit better than the last one, it was still pretty dull and could have had a lot more happen. More importantly, it could have had an actual plot.Recommended Audience: Girl-read, fourteen-and-up, fans of slow fantasy.

Based on what I've read on Goodreads, the general fan consensus seems to be that this book is the weakest of the quartet. I enjoyed it just as much as the previous two books, but can see why people tend to list it as their least favorite. The story takes place almost entirely in a single location, as Alanna goes to live in the desert after graduating as a knight (and killing Duke Roger) at the end of Book 2. The people she falls in with are the Bazhir, who we met briefly in Book One when she and Jonathon went to the Black City, but the people and their culture is explored in much greater depth here. I'm not objecting to the single setting here - honestly, it was kind of nice to have the narrative slow down a little, instead of racing from one place to another and covering two years in two hundred pages - but it gave this book a very different feel than the previous two. Compared to the previous books, the pace of this one feels practically glacial, with the timeline of the whole story covering just a few months. After seeing how quickly Pierce moved through plot points in the previous books (hey, anybody remember that time we went to war with Tusaine?) I found myself wondering just how long Alanna was planning to hang out with the Bazhir. The majority of the book, it turns out. But to be fair, she has a lot to do. In the beginning of the story, Alanna falls in with a Bazhir tribe and they eventually accept her as one of them and then she becomes their shaman, because this is a Tamora Pierce book and Alanna of Trebond is a fucking boss at everything she does. She spends most of her time training three Bazhir kids in magic, and two of them are girls, and all of the tribespeople are like, "But a GIRL can't do magic or be a shaman!" and Alanna is like "Prepare to have your minds blown, Noble Savages!" As you can guess, the Bazhir stuff wanders into uncomfortable territory more than once. At best, they're fulfilling the Noble Savage trope and giving Alanna guidance like this is some Eat Pray Love white woman on a vision quest bullshit, and at worst they're just flat-out Orientalist stereotypes. There's a whole ceremony to make her an honorary Bazhir, and even though the scene itself is perfectly fine, all I could think about was that super racist number from Annie Get Your Gun. The whole storyline is very much a White Savior cliche, right down to Alanna smashing her way into a culture she has almost no understanding of and insisting they change their ways immediately. The only thing that redeems this storyline is the two girls she trains as shamans - they ultimately change most of the Bazhir's views on women, so at least the people making strides to change the culture are actually from that culture. So that wasn't great. But everything else that happens here is awesome. Jonathan shows up halfway through the book and proposes to Alanna (Jonathan, honey, how many way will this not work?), and then proceeds to go full Joffrey, turning into an entitled little shit who seems to have forgotten the last eight years when Alanna was his best friend and fellow squire. They have an explosive fight where Jonathan yells at Alanna that she needs to start acting more feminine and she basically tells him to go fuck himself, and then she flounces off to go have sex with George Cooper for a while, because fuck you, Jonathan. It's glorious. My biggest wish for the previous book was for Alanna to make a female friend, and Tamora Pierce has answered my prayers. After two books of believing that she was the exception to the rule that girls are silly and weak, Alanna meets a goddamn plethora of women who defy that stereotype. In addition to the two Bazhir girls she trains in magic, Alanna also meets George's cousin Rispah, a female thief who was so awesome in her few scenes that I immediately started imagining her and Alanna going on a Thelma and Louise-style roadtrip together. She almost makes up for Delia, who you'll remember from the last book as that dumb slut who flirted with Alanna's friends and turned out to be working for Duke Roger, because girls who flirt with your boyfriends are always full of dark magic. Delia is still here, and I'm kind of hoping that she's going to be the main villain in the next book, just so she has something fun to do.It's not the best book in the series, but overall The Woman Who Rides Like a Man is another great Alanna adventure, full of excitement and magic and swordfights and sex with cute boys and fantastic conversations like this, which all little girls need to study and remember:"'You are a terrifying creature,' the Voice told [Alanna] solemnly. 'You do not take your place in your father's tent, letting men make your decisions. You ride as a man, you fight as a man, and you think as a man-''I think as a human being,' she retorted hotly. 'Men don't think any differently from women - they just make more noise about being able to.'As Coram chuckled, Mukhtab said, 'Have you not discovered that when people, men and women, find a woman who acts intelligently, they say she acts like a man?'"
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Reviews
Amelia
Originally posted on The Authoress: Book Reviews & More.*This is a mini review*In The Woman Who Rides Like A Man (a wordy title for today's standards), Alanna is eighteen-years-old and has been granted her knight's shield. In this third installment, we follow her adventures in the Great Southern Desert of Tortall.What strikes me most about The Woman Who Rides Like A Man is the masterful expansion of the world. Tamora Pierce doesn't keep Alanna cooped up in a castle in a city. Alanna, fitting for her character, travels. Of course, she finds trouble along the way, or it finds her, whichever.Just like in In the Hand of the Goddess, Pierce excellently crafts a new stage in Alanna's life. The struggles that Alanna faces in her romantic life continue in their natural progression and test Alanna's heart. Also, her aptitude for leadership is made more apparent in this one, which I particularly liked seeing because I feel it's something today's fantasy is lacking.I am also amazed at how much action is packed into so few pages. It keeps me pinned to the pages, captured in the story. I can't help but devour these books in one sitting.
Annisa
The third book of the Song of Lionness. The start of Alanna's adventure as Alanna of Trebond. It gives another rich view of the world of Tortall. The Bazhir and their names and culture remind me greatly of Middle Easterners, making me wonder of the fascination the fantasy writers seem to have with them. Unlike most fantasy books I've read, they or those whose traits drawn from Middle East were not made as one-sided or easy villains, but they were drawn fairly as people with their own values and cultures. This makes me happy and relieved.Just like most adventures in discovering oneself, being in a foreign environment helps to understand oneself better. This also happens to Alanna who starts to make peace with the parts of herself that is a woman and a sorceress. It is fascinating to watch.The only complaint I have is the way the relationship between Alanna and Jon is handled. I could see the matter of principles coming between them. I cannot imagine Alanna being satisfied as a consort to a royal, regardless of her feeling to Jon. She would be an interesting Queen, but I don't think it's the life what Alanna wants or suited for, though it'll be an interesting compromise if she choose that life, especially that Alanna seems to be a better knight to Jon and Jon as the future king needs his best knights by his side. Alanna being his consort will restrict her from serving her duty. I know this differences will come to a head. Alanna's reaction towards the idea of marriage and marriage to Jon is easy to understand, but it is Jon's that I have difficulty with. Through the early books, he gives the impression of a calm and level-headed person. He took everything in stride, through all the surprises Alanna thrown at him and treated Alanna in a good balance of a knight and a girl, but in this book, somehow he appears as though he lost that balance. He might be proud, but he is pretty clear-sighted. His attitude and actions throughout the book doesn't make sense at all.If the author wants to show how changed Jon is, she made a bad job of it if it is a mean to make Alanna realize that Jon is not for her. There are many ways, true, but turning Jon into such an arrogant ass to make Alanna to turn from him is the poorest way. It just doesn't sit fine by me, too much an one eighty. However, the possible explanation would be that neither Alanna or Jon has truly seen or understand each other, considering the wrong assumption Jon taken and the inability of Alanna to trust Jon to take care of himself. It can be blamed if the story is taken from Alanna's point of view that Alanna is too enamored of Jon to see him clearly, but this story took many points of view, enough to get a good sense of Jon's character. I'd like to this settled better in the last book.
Amy
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce ReviewThird book in the series and another 5/5 star rating…I’m starting to see a pattern here. I obviously loved this book; in fact I think it was my favorite so far in the series due to its overall development in character and world-building. There are a lot of new characters for me to love, and for the first time Roger isn’t the main villain. Not only did that open up a lot of new paths for the plot-line but it moved the story ahead wonderfully, especially as Alanna tries to come to terms with killing Roger in the last book. This book is more about Alanna learning about herself, Tortall and where she belongs in the world; it really is more of a book of acceptance, rather than the “butt-kicking super girl” of the previous two books. Not that there isn’t action, because it’s there, however it’s got a focus on the magical side this time around.To be honest there are only a few things about this book that somewhat piss me off, but at the same time those things are also what makes it great for me. Weird how that happens. So from now be warned for spoilers!!***********Spoiler Warning Ahead: You’ve Been Warned!!!***********Jonathan and Alanna:I’m going to put this out there and say right now that I much prefer George and Alanna together, Jonathan and Alanna have never been right for each other as far as I’m concerned. It has been that way since the first time I read the books. Jonathan can be a sweetheart, he’s got that charisma and charm that makes you fall for him and want to forgive just about everything he does when he gives you the puppy eyes. So I can see why Alanna fell in love with him, and I think it drives the story and development for the entire Tortall world since Jonathan is to be king and how he grows directly impacts the country in one way or another. That said in this book he comes off as a complete ass. Before this he’s never had that spoiled/bratty prince attitude, I guess because all of his real friends are away from the palace he gets used to no one challenging him, always getting his way and so on. He goes through this phase hard in this book, and as a result he clashes with Alanna because he often takes her consent for granted. Shortly after the two reunite in the Bazhir village Jonathan asks Alanna to marry him, obviously she is going to need time to think about this. There’s her knighthood to think about, she doesn’t know if she wants children, not to mention the expectations of others regarding Jonathans marriage. What does he do instead? He smirks like he’s won and once he’s ready to leave as the new Voice of the Tribe he PACKS HER STUFF UP TO LEAVE WITHOUT TELLING HER! Obviously this leads to a major fight and the two break-up with some harsh words between them and Jon goes home by himself only to use a foreign princess to get back at Alanna. Yeah, real mature there Jon. Anyway this whole thing was exciting to read, but at the same time it left a bitter taste in my mouth. Maybe because of how realistic it was. Relationships often dissolve rapidly; time apart can cause rifts you didn’t notice before. So it was irksome but still awesome, even though I kind of ranted a bit there.George and AlannaI love these two as a couple and one of the highlights of the book was finally getting to see these two get together as a couple, but I wish it had happened because Alanna finally realized her feelings, rather than using George as a rebound. Obviously I think it would have happened anyway, the two of them have always been attracted to each other. Still the way it happens, as it often happens in real life, is Alanna is heartbroken over Jon and kind of uses George’s feelings to her benefit here. Now before people start getting mad, here’s why I hated this part...because once Alanna realizes George needs to go back to the Capitol, incidentally where Jon is currently being lovey-dovey with another woman to get back at Alanna, she leaves George to go journeying with no promise of return. That makes me angry, George is one of the sweetest guys I have ever had the pleasure of reading about and sometimes, just sometimes mind you, Alanna can be really cruel to him without really meaning to. All because he never objects, he’s often said that he doesn’t mind and that he will wait for her and just as Jonathan took her answer to his marriage for granted, Alanna can sometimes take for granted that George will always be there for her. Even when she loves him and leaves him. So that makes me mad, but I also love the way they are together, George treats Alanna amazingly (kinda makes me jealous :p) and Alanna in turn is much more grounded when she is with him. She feels better about herself too, which I think is something she didn’t have with Jon since she was always worried about what others would think. So basically I got all riled up by the romance, which I’m sure was what was supposed to happen, and spent the better part of the book wish for more of George. I nearly threw the book across the room because Jon was acting so bratty at points…that’s just a small pet-peeve of mine, but Alanna certainly put him in his place for me. Anyway another great read and I’m excited to finish off the series.
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