The Woman Who Rides Like A Man: My 100th Book Review!

This is my 100th book review! *confetti*

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man is written by Tamora Pierce. It is the third book in the Song of the Lioness quartet. It was published in 1986 by Simon Pulse. Pierce’s website can be found here.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult


“Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death—either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mythic fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe’s first female shaman—despite the desert dwellers’ grave fear of the foreign woman warrior. Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes—for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall.


The tomb was dark and still. Behind her the door was sealed shut by a slab of rock the palace servants had placed there. Before her, on a granite block, lay the body of Duke Roger of Conté. He looked as if he slept, well preserved by the arts of the Black God’s priests. His black velvet tunic hid the shoulder wound and the thrust through his chest that had ended her duel with him. There was no sound in the tomb. He was dead.

His eyes snapped open. She stepped back, her heart thudding with horror. He smiled.

~Pierce 89

Drawing the crystal sword, she focused her attention on the length of the blade, holding it directly before her. Now was the time to put its energy to use: it would extend her ability to command things to break and split far more than she could have done normally. She shouted the spell, sending her energy streaking down the smoky blade and into the earth just a few yards in front of the oncoming riders. The earth grumbled and cracked, forming a deep trench .Their own frontal vision ruined by the dust devils, the hillmen in the first rank rode into the trench.

~Pierce 126

Cover Art 1

Warnings: Alanna’s love affairs

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Rating: 2/5

What I Liked:

Lots of great character development for Alanna in this one, as she learns to accept her magic as part of herself and use it more frequently. She also struggles to figure out her feelings and what is important to her.

Cover Art 2

Lots of foreshadowing! Not just for events that happen later on, but for the next book, as well. I’m expecting Thom’s mysterious magic to be revealed, as well as the identity of Claw. It looks like the last book will have lots of things happening!

Alanna and George! Whoo!

What I Didn’t Like:

This felt more like a transitional book than anything else. Alanna did have some character development, but overall it didn’t feel very memorable. After reading it, I honestly felt like nothing much happened, even though I know that things did.

Cover Art 3

Again, the writing is just not my style at all. There were several sentences in the book that just made me roll my eyes or laugh (not in a good way). It’s like Pierce is trying to condense a paragraph into one sentence. In some cases that’s a good thing, but not when it feels abrupt and very start-stop, start-stop. Maybe I’m being too critical?

Why does Alanna feel the need to sleep with every guy to whom she’s attracted?

Overall Review:

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man sets up the plot for the final book with some foreshadowing and Alanna has some nice character development. However, the book as a whole was unmemorable and just sort of moseyed along to fill up 284 pages. Also, Pierce’s writing continues to bother me, but maybe I’m just being pretentious.

Coming Up Next: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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