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"There are times in every rider's life when it is necessary to apologize to a horse....” ―Lioness Rampant
Song of the Lioness #4
by Tamora Pierce
AR Test, Strong Female
Alanna is restless. She has already accomplished the impossible by becoming a female knight, but that is not enough. She craves the sort of adventure that can only be found in legends. Luckily for Alanna, her life is quickly making her story legendary. Lioness Rampant introduces enjoyable and richly developed characters. Along with the reappearance of an old evil, Alanna must decide where she fits in. Will she ever be welcomed back at court, or will she spend the rest of her life wandering along the edge of the world?
There is slightly less fighting in this book than the others, but still plenty of excitement to keep readers engaged. Alanna takes a lover, as she did in book three, but there are no graphic descriptions and her relationship is not the main plot. Alanna continues to be a likable heroine and a fun character to follow.
- Coram tries to warn Liam off, but Liam assures him that his interest in Alanna is because he likes her, not because she is famous. “I’m not a village lad wanting to boast of having the Lioness’s pelt in my hut, Master Smythesson. I like her.”
- When Alanna tells Coram that Liam didn’t touch her, Coram says, “maybe he’s plannin’ to.” Alanna responds, “Nothing wrong with that.”
- Alanna gets involved with Liam, who is a Shang Dragon, a great warrior. She sleeps with him, but nothing more than kissing is ever described. “He kissed her gently, then passionately, and Alanna surrendered. Any misgivings she had were put away for thought at another, less interesting time.” Another time, “His first kiss was gentle, the second passionate. Alanna let him pull her into his arms, thinking, We should talk some more about why he was angry. I don’t think lovemaking will settle anything. The Dragon was so determined, however, that once again she put her questions aside to be dealt with later.”
- Alanna kisses Liam a few times. “He jumped down and held his hands up to her. She slid into his grasp, and they kissed.”
- A background check is run on a man called Claw. It is discovered that “He was disinherited after the attempted rape of the second daughter of the bailiff… The girl’s maid threw acid in his face, thereby leaving the purple scars of which you spoke.”
- George kisses Alanna awhile after she breaks up with Liam. “He cupped Alanna’s face, his grave hazel eyes searching out her own. He nodded, liking what he saw, and kissed her gently.”
- A group of rogues tries to kill Alanna and her man-at-arms. “The thieves understood simultaneous attack. Alanna and Coram blocked automatically . . . One of the staffmen swung and missed–she ran him through. Coram shouted fiercely, and someone screamed. When a swordsman looked to see the screamer’s fate, Alanna slashed his leg.”
- Alanna finds a pile of dead bodies, the aftermath of a war. “Here the dead had been piled up and left, until only skeletons remained . . . Bone hands still clutched weapons. Kneeling, Alanna slid a lowland sword out of the pile.”
- Buri tells a story of a queen who killed herself in protest of how her people were being treated. “Lowlanders take us for slaves; they steal our horses . . . She and Thayet tried to make the Warlord stop . . . Kalasin stood at her window and sang her death chant, about her shame at jin Wilima’s laws. A crowd was there to witness: nobles, commonborn, and slaves. My mother and brother were killed, but they held the door until it was too late for the Warlord’s men to stop her from jumping.”
- An assassin shoots an arrow at a princess, then jumps off a roof to escape capture. “She lifted the assassin’s headcloth. The face, sickeningly misshapen after the fall, was male and coarse, the cheeks filled with a drunkard’s broken veins.”
- Alanna battles an elemental for the Dominion Jewel. When she decides she does not want to kill the beast, it gives her the jewel. “She ducked and dodged. When he gave her an opening, she executed one of the jump kicks Liam had taught her, slamming into the ape’s shoulder and making him roar. When he swung to chop her down, she was away and circling. She sought her chance and flew in again, hitting the same shoulder . . . “
- After the Queen dies, the King kills himself by jumping into a ravine. This act is not described, and the reader only learns about it when the Prince tells his friend.
- A man is attacked. We don’t see the fight, but Alanna finds him afterward. “The old man staggered in, clutching a bloody right arm. Alanna grabbed a towel and swiftly bandaged the priest before he lost more blood, fighting brief nausea. Si-cham’s right hand was gone.”
- Alanna is attacked by her once-friend, Alex. “He lurched once more, cross-cutting with a speed she could not dodge, slashing across her cheek and her bare right hand. In the split-second opening in the path of his sword she rammed forward, crushing his windpipe with one fist as she struck his nose with the other, thrusting bone splinters deep into his brain.”
- Alanna kills the evil sorcerer who tries to destroy Tortall. “The effect was like loosing a bolt from a crossbow. Released from her pull, the sword shrieked as it flew . . . He didn’t even seem to know what she’d done until Lightning buried itself in his chest. Roger grabbed the hilt. Amazingly, he laughed. He laughed until his dying lungs ran out of air.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- A man buys a glass of wine for Alanna, who is now an adult.
- Alanna’s man-at-arms, Coram, drinks regularly. His worst behavior while drinking, is singing raucous songs that are not described. “Coram awoke late, with a head he would not wish on his worst enemy. For a long time he waited for his knight-mistress to arrive with her hangover cure.”
- A jealous girl calls Alanna a slut.
- Many people in Alanna’s world have the magical Gift. Some use this Gift for fighting, while others use it for healing or to control the weather.
- Alanna searches for the Dominion Jewel, which “may be more directly used, in healing and war, for fertility and death. A knowledgeable ruler, knowing fully the creation of magical formulae, may create new land from ocean deeps, or return the breath of a dead child.”
- Alanna has a magical cat who can talk.
- Thom’s magic is stolen by an evil sorcerer.
- Tortall has many gods, such as the Crooked God, Mithros, and the Black God. Alanna was chosen by the Great Mother, also known as the Goddess. The Goddess visits Alanna occasionally, to bestow advice.
by Morgan Lynn