Friday, January 23, 2015

Woman And Warrior

I MADE IT!!!!!  Sorry it's my first real day off in a couple weeks and I am so so so deliriously happy...also I get the whole weekend off!  To celebrate let's ramble shall we?  I'm gonna go ahead and finish up the Song of the Lioness by talking about Lioness Rampant by Tamora  Pierce.  It is the final book in the quartet and wraps most things up quit nicely, but first as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
After her falling out with the Prince Jonathan, Alanna and her man Corum head to other lands to try and figure out what the map she received at the end of the last book means.  Along the way they meet up Liam Ironarm the Shang Dragon.  The Shang are legendary fighters, trained from a very very young age and the Shang Dragon is the best of them all.  He and Alanna start a relationship (you go girl).  They discover that their map leads them to the fabled Dominion Jewel, that when used by a just ruler can prosper any country that possess it.  Alanna decides that if she can bring this artifact back, she will be able to prove her worth as a knight.  As they are traveling through Sairan, a country torn apart by a very bloody civil war, they happen upon the dead warlords daughter, the Princess Thayet and her K'miri bodyguard Buri.  Both women belay any royal prissyness by being pretty bad ass (YAY!).  Alanna instantly realizes that Thayet, aside from being the most beautiful person she has ever seen, is also one of the only people who could match Jonathan and keep him in check.  She starts aking plans to introduce them, and if they like each other, get them to marry.  They add the girls to their group and head up to the roof of the world to get the jewel.  Alanna discovers that Liam is deathly afraid of all magic, and that includes her Gift.  The group stops at an inn and Alanna can feel the jewel calling her.  She uses her gift to keep everybody asleep and heads out into the blizzard.  Alanna battles the elemental protecting the Dominion Jewel and after some fighting and
conversation obtains the fabled treasure.  She wakes up days later, being rescued by her group to find she is pretty battered, but has secured her jewel.  Liam is upset about her using magic on him and the two end their romantic relationship, but remain friends.  They head home to find that both the Queen and King have died, leaving Prince Jonathan as the new king.  They also discover that Alanna's twin brother Thom has brought back Duke Roger from the grave.  George finally agrees to become a respectable spy master for Jonathan after the infamous Claw (who turns out to be the noble Ralon of Malvon from the first book) continues to kill innocents in his quest for...well who knows what.  Stuff happens and the group uncover a plot to kill Jonathan.  Duke Roger has been sapping magic from Thom and intends to pretty much destroy the who country.  With the help of the jewel Jonathan holds the earth together while the rest of the group battle the traitors.  Alanna kills the Duke and all is ended.  In the aftermath it is discovered that Thom, Liam and Alanna's cat Faithful have all been killed.  Alanna goes to the Bloody Hawk tribe to grieve and recoup.  Thayet comes to get her friends ok to marry Jonathan, which Alanna happily gives.  George comes down to make an honest woman out of her.  That ends the Song of the Lioness Quartet.
This last book is the fattest of all four of the books, and contains the most story of all the books as well.  There is a lot of things I like about this book.  Let's start with the adding of a couple of kick ass women shall we?  The addition of Thayet and Buri do a lot for this book and the story in general.  They show us that Alanna is not the only brave, physical, warrior woman.  They show us that there can be more then one kind of kick ass woman.  Thayet is beautiful, but it is not something she is ashamed of, nor does she use it as a crutch.  For Thayet she is what she is.  She is not afraid to be a woman, a ruler, a mother figure, or a warrior.  All that being said, she has her soft side, her fears and her flaws.  Buri on the other hand, along with reminding Alanna of what she used to be like and giving some great perspective, comes from a different background then the other two women.  She is a commoner, born and bred to serve.  She has no interest in anything other then fighting and protecting her charge.  She has a great outlook on life, giving us another many layered woman
character.  I love that Alanna almost instantly recognizes in Thayet a good partner for Jonathan.  She is able to get past her hurt, and history and help find her friend a good match that will not only make him happy, but be good for the kingdom as well.  I found Alanna and Liam's relationship to be interesting.  I like that she goes for a variety of guys, not always falling for the same type every time.  I also like that even as a warrior who doesn't want to be tied down, that she is not cold and closed off, but open and even eager to explore new relationships (which in my opinion can be even scarier then fighting a monster).  Liam was good for Alanna in some ways, being a bit older and more mature, he was able to allow her to be the "kitten" as he called her.  He taught her a lot of fighting and of the world.  I also liked how they both acknowledged that due to his inability to ever accept her Gift, that their relationship was probably doomed from the start, but both of them agreed to give it a shot anyways.  There was one part when Alanna dresses up for fun that Liam seemed to have an uncharacteristic about face on his ability to view Alanna as a real woman...but it was brief so I guess I can overlook it.  The second have of the book got a bit complicated as the author was trying to tie everything together.  The plot got a bit overly complicated with to many players trying for to many things and we never really got what Roger the Duke of Conte was trying to accomplish...other then mass destruction.  I did appreciate that the author killed of some key people, reminding us that even in stories, battles and violence have its cost.  I also appreciated that Alanna did not just get over the deaths of her loved ones, but needed to take time to grieve.  As far as George and Alanna are concerned...I'm pretty sure they are gonna be ok, but her acquiescence to his desire to have a true wife, mother and Lady as his partner seems to be kind of sudden and uncharacteristic.  I have read more books in this world that give me more insight into George and Alanna's life, but without that it seems a bit...I don't know...trite maybe.  Anyways, the country is saved, the survivors are happily paired off and the realm is on the way to recovery.  Alanna is the King's Champion, finally realizing her dream of knighthood, adventure and glory all while discovering who she really is.  A good ending to a good series and a great set up for further books set in this world.  I give this book 7 out of 10 black pearl earbobs and recommend it everybody who has been following the series.
How do you feel about characters that change their minds about fundamental things?    How many characters are to many?  How much do I love me a strong female character?

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