Lioness Rampant (Tamora Pierce) + Year-End Review

Well, friends, it’s that time of year. My 2017 Reading Challenge goal of 36 books in the year has been met! I’ll list a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post. I’m not going to dedicate a separate post to what next year’s Reading Challenge parameters will be. I anticipate moving around April/May, and I have a stack of books I want to read through rather than pack in a box to take with me so I can’t be quite as particular about reading certain subjects or authors. BUT I will nonetheless keep the reviews coming! We’ll end the year with this gem:

TitleLioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4)

Author – Tamora Pierce

Year Published – 1988

Page Count – 384

Recommendation – A great way to end my year! The difficulty/complexity of these books has grown with each installment of the series, as if Pierce was writing these books to match the growing age of her target audience.

(If you haven’t read my reviews for the first three books, you can find those here, here, and here.)

This is the final book in Alanna’s “Song of the Lioness” series. The first half of the story takes Alanna and several returning characters (as well as some new faces we meet along the way) on an adventure to another part of the kingdom. The purpose of this journey is to retrieve a magical gem that will help Prince Jonathan unite the kingdom upon his coronation as king. After Alanna and her party return to the palace city, she must confront the mysterious dark magic that’s been growing under the aid of Alanna’s brother Thom.

Magic is even more prominent in this book than in the previous ones. We never find out exactly how the magic and Alanna’s Gift work, but that doesn’t seem to matter. If we had ever gotten more involved in the “how” of the magic, I think it would have bogged down the story. What’s important is Alanna’s skills and determination as a knight, as well as her emotional development and relationships.

I mentioned in an earlier review that I was concerned romantic love would take over and take away from Alanna’s personal journey as a warrior. Thankfully, that didn’t happen in this book either, although she certainly explores that piece of herself, especially as it relates to one of our new characters and to George Cooper, a trusted friend and ally of Alanna and Jonathan.

The following passage comes following a skirmish in the marketplace between Prince Jonathan’s riding party and would-be assassins working for someone (no spoilers) who is trying to steal the throne. “Eleni” is George’s mother and a healer.

Eleni shook her head sadly. “I’m worried about those who got hurt in this madness. I’d best go see what I may do.” She stood, shaking out her skirts. “But isn’t that always the way when folk plot to steal power? The innocent get hurt.” (p. 213)

Here are some superlatives for a few of my favorite books from 2017:

Best book of poetry: Counting Descent (Clint Smith)

Most clever: Ella Minnow Pea (Mark Dunn)

Best books for young people (tie): Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred D. Taylor) and I’ll Give You the Sun (Jandy Nelson)

Books I needed to read as a single person in my 20s (tie): All the Single Ladies (Rebecca Traister) and Spinster (Kate Bolick)

Best books for social/political change based in liberation theology (pretty specific, I know, but it’s still a four-way tie b/c there were so. many. good ones.): The Cross and the Lynching Tree (James H. Cone), Stand Your Ground (Kelly Brown Douglas), Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson), Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins (Miguel A. de la Torre)

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