Lioness Rampant: The Best Of The Quartet, But Not A Series I Would Read Again

Lioness Rampant is written by Tamora Pierce. It is the fourth and final book in the Song of the Lioness quartet. It was published in 1988 by Simon Pulse. Pierce’s website can be found here.

Spoilers for all four books.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult 


“Having achieved her dream of becoming the first female knight errant, Alanna of Trebond is not sure what to do next. Perhaps being a knight errant is not all that Alanna needs….But Alanna must push her uncertainty aside when a new challenge arises. She must recover the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem with enormous power for good—but only in the right hands. And she must work quickly. Tortall is in great danger, and Alanna’s archenemy, Duke Roger, is back—and more powerful than ever. In this final book of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alanna discovers that she indeed has a future worthy of her mythic past—both as a warrior and as a woman.”

~Back Cover


She supposed she was sleeping. Her twin brother, the sorcerer Thom, stood before a tomb with his hands upraised. His Gift, violet-colored like her own, glittered around him. Thom was pale, sick-looking. The door to the tomb began to open.

Thom looked at her. “I don’t have enough power to shut it. I need your Gift. And I need that.” He reached for the ember-stone at her throat. She clung to it. “No, Thom! The Goddess gave it to me. I’ll never take it off!”

~Pierce 47

You are a funny little thing. His voice hurt much less this time, which puzzled her. He seemed to have changed his mind about killing her.

He didn’t choose to explain. Instead his thought-voice went on. I suppose you have no idea why you are compelled to seek this Jewel.

Alanna cradled her palms against her chest, too tired to rise. “It’s for the glory of Tortall.” Her throat hurt from screaming. ‘There isn’t a nation existing that can’t profit from the Dominion Jewel. And bringing it home would be to the glory of the knight who brought it. If it’s yours, though, it’s yours. Now that I think of it, I don’t know how the famous heroes of the past were able to take things from the entities that guarded them—not if they were as noble as the stories claim. When you look at it right, it is stealing.”

~Pierce 162-163

Cover Art 1

Warnings: Violence, “love affairs”

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Rating: 4/5

What I Liked:

Dun-dun-dun! All the foreshadowing in the previous book is explained in this book…Roger is back and crazier than ever. I have to say, though, he’s a lot more creepy and menacing in this book. The scene with Delia, Alex, and that ax-wielding crazy princess, with Roger’s blood-red fire magic…that was pretty chilling. And then there was the whole Gate thing and the draining of people’s Gifts. Yay, villainy!

Cover Art 2

I totally knew that George would be The One. Called it in the first book. It was pretty obvious.

Alanna finally resolves her struggle between warrior/woman. I’m always a fan of character development.

The last third of the book was very action-filled. I like it when books do that; it makes for a very thrilling climax/denouement/resolution. I would say that this was the best book in the series.

What I Didn’t Like:

Roger’s Gate thing was explained as if the reader was already supposed to know what it did or what it was for. Maybe it was explained in an earlier book and I forgot?

Cover Art 3

Roger’s death was a little anticlimactic, but maybe the important part was the fight between Alanna and Alex that came right before, which was actually pretty awesome.

Oh, wow, a really good-looking guy. Let me sleep with him before I know anything about him. Yes, because that’s worked out so well before, Alanna.

For the fourth time: the writing. Lots of “saidisms and descriptors (i.e., “the woman knight” or “the king’s Champion” instead of “Alanna”) and other things that I just do not like reading. Ah, well. To each her own.

Overall Review:

Lioness Rampant is pretty action-packed, which makes for a good conclusion to the series. The antagonists are also pretty chilling (except for Crazy Ax-Wielding Princess, who’s just…crazy) and there are a few particularly striking scenes. I’m not sure if I would read this series again, mostly due to the writing style, but it’s been a fun read. I’m always willing to read fantasy.

Coming Up Next: Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe

One thought on “Lioness Rampant: The Best Of The Quartet, But Not A Series I Would Read Again

  1. Interesting fact about the Lioness quartet: It was originally composed as one stand-alone novel for the adult fantasy market (hence all of Alanna’s sexytimes?), but when no one would pick it up, Pierce retooled the adult novel into a young adult quartet. Could explain some of your issues with the text.

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