Monday, January 12, 2015

Purple Eyed Kitty Cat

Continuing my reread of the Song of the Lioness Quartet, I finished up In the Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce the other night.  Of course my extreme insomnia made so I actuallys started and finished the book in the same night, but that's ok.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Our cross-dressing heorine Alanna has made it to the rank of Squire and has also secured the position of squireing for the newly knighted Prince Jonathan.  Jon now know's Alan is actually Alanna and is totally cool with it (yay for semi-enlightened boys).  In the course of her duties as a squire Alanna is out camping when a curious kitten with purple eyes that match Alanna's appears.  Along with this kitten, Alanna if visited by the Goddess, the female head of the Tortall pantheon of gods.  She hangs out for a while and then gives Alanna an amulet which allows her to see when magic is being used.  When she get's back to Tortall, she continues to train for her Ordeal, which if she passes will allow her to become a knight and finally realize her dream.  In the meantime she is busy trying to balance becoming a woman and her love of the knighthood.  Jon and and the King of Thieves George, both make a move, George declaring his love for Alanna and promising to wait until she is ready.  Jon a bit more aggressive, though always circumpspect as to not give away her secret.  After some flirting and uncomfortable moments, Jon and Alanna become lovers.  Alanna continues to be looked after by Sir Myles, an old knight who takes Alanna under his wing.  Jon's cousin Roger the Duke of Conte
continues to teach the young men (and Alanna) how to use their gift and he still creeps Alanna out. Alanna finally gets through her Ordeal, becoming a knight as she has always dreamed.  Her borther Thom comes down to give her the gift of a shield with their family crest on it.  As a surpise he shows her that when she is ready to reveal herself as a female, she can say a spell to change the shield to show a glorious lioness rampant...very very cool. After her suspicions become aroused she uses her amulet to discover that Duke Roger has been keeping the Queen sick and other's ignorant of his true plans through the use of sorcery.  Showing proof of this to the King and Queen, Roger demands a trial by combat and he and Alanna battle.  During the course of the battle, the corset Alanna wears to hide her feminity is cut and she is revealed as a woman.  She wins the battle, killing Roger and chaos ensues.  She decides that she cannot deal with all the aftermath of her reveal and she and Corum decide to travel for a while, as she had originally planned on doing.  They pack up and set of to somewhere warm to await the nest book.
So this is another book where a lot happens, not as much as the last one, but still pretty packed.  I remeber liking this one when I was younger because it mirrored a lot of the conflict I felt and some of my fellow friends felt about being able to kick butt and be strong, and yet still want to wear sparklies and be girly.  This book showed not just the good parts of being both, but the struggle as well.  One of the things that struck me is that both Jon and George were attracted to Alanna for different reasons and showed it in different ways.  In some ways George bugged me, stealing kisses from Alanna, almost by force, which made me a bit uncomfortable, but it end he acknowledges that she is not ready and backs off.  Jon on the other hand, makes more of a game of it and in the end, the less serious
relationship is the one Alanna chooses.  This book shows us a lot of Alanna's fears how she has to face them mostley on her own, which to  me makes her a bit more human then the last book.  Mostly this book sets up the last two books and gives us a solid foundation of knowledge of the land and the primary players.  Ahhh I almost forgot to mention Faithful, the purple eyed kittycat.  Faithful is one of my favorite characters throughout the series.  He technically only meows, but anybody he wants to "talk" to can understand his meows as speech.  Their is obviously something supernatural about him, but for the most part he comes across as a snarky cat.  He is helpful, observant, and adds a touch of humor to the whole proceedings.  Overall, I enjoy this book as part of the series and give it a 7 out of 10 picture changing shields and recommend it to anybody who likes kick-ass conflicted heroine, or has already started the series :-)
Do you thing being a favored of a god/goddess is cheating?  How relieved would you be to finally have your long kept secret out?  What snarky supernatural animal companion do you want?

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