In the Hand of the Goddess (Tamora Pierce)

If you haven’t read my review for the first book in the series, you can find that here. This review won’t make as much sense if you don’t have some idea of where the story left off.

TitleIn the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2)

Author – Tamora Pierce

Year Published – 1984

Page Count – 264

Recommendation – I liked this one even more than the first. The story is a little more involved, not as simplistic.

**Spoilers ahead!!**

This second book in the series takes us through the second part of Alanna’s training to be a knight. There wasn’t much explanation in the first book about how the magic works, but this one explores that a bit more. It’s still not clear exactly why/how some people have the Gift and others don’t, but we get to see Alanna use her skills with more depth.

The main arc that carries through the book involves a new character: Prince Jonathan’s cousin, the Duke Roger who is a healer and a sorcerer. We find out that the Duke is somehow involved in the mysterious, dark magic that we saw play out in the first book, and Alanna becomes aware of how he is not as friendly to Jonathan’s family as he tries to appear to be.

What I really liked about this book – even more so than the first, which seemed to lean more toward being a children’s story – is that Alanna is starting to grow into her own as a skilled, competent warrior maiden. I was a little apprehensive that the love interest bits would take over the story, but they really seemed inconsequential. Alanna connects to her magical abilities through the Goddess, yet those elements of femininity don’t seem to negate (nor are they negated by) Alanna’s fierce skills as a knight.

This passage is after Alanna has dueled with a knight from a neighboring kingdom. She has bested him but refuses to kill him. Her sword’s name is Lightning:

Alanna was cleaning Lightning in her room when Myles found her. “You didn’t kill him,” the knight said bluntly. “He would have killed you, but you didn’t kill him.”

Alanna’s arm was hurting; she hadn’t yet gotten the chance to place healing magic on herself. The pain made her short with her friend. “So? He was stupid. If I killed everyone who was stupid, I wouldn’t have time to sleep.” (p. 43)

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