Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce: Book Review

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Cover of Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce

3 Stars

If I had read these books when I was the right age, they would probably have gotten 4 or 5 stars, but I’m a little too old for them now.

These are 4 novels about Alanna of Trebond, a girl who wants to be a knight. Unfortunately, the last female knight in her country lived 100 years ago and her preoccupied father has decreed that she will be fostered out to learn to be a lady. Alanna’s twin brother, Thom, forges a couple of letters and Alanna takes his place in the school for knights and Thom happily goes off to become a sorceror. Needless to say, Alanna has to disguise herself as a boy to be accepted into the school and she forces herself to work twice as hard as the other knights-in-training to prove to herself that she’s in the right place. She has lots of adventures and saves the kingdom numerous times. Along the way she learns to accept herself as both a knight and a woman and that there is still room in a knight’s life for love.

The writing in these books was a little simplistic, but they are young adult books. Alanna’s character struggles with the things that most girls her age stuggle with and she was a likeable character. The other characters were pretty one-dimensional, but they were described well enough that I either loved them or hated them. There weren’t many I was indifferent to.

I guess I’ve gotten used to reading big epic fantasies, because after every battle, I was like, “Is that it? This should have gone on a lot longer.” There wasn’t a lot of transition. Alanna just moved from major plot point to major plot point, which can be a good thing, but I felt in this case it made the books a little choppy.

As I started reading these I kept thinking that my 9-year-old tomboy cousin would love them and I would buy them for her upcoming birthday. But as I read on and Alanna entered puberty and then started falling in love, I decided that I will wait about 5 years. I still think she’ll like them, but they did get a little too adult for a 9-year-old.

Overall, these were pretty good books, and I would highly recommend them for tomboys older than about 13 or 14.

Highlight below to read my huge spoiler of a complaint:

And what was the deal with Duke Roger? He came back to life? I couldn’t help but feel like the author either didn’t want to bother coming up with a new arch-villain, or she felt like he was such a “good” bad guy she just had to bring him back. I got a little irritated when he came back into the story line.

Reviewed May 16, 2008

Read an excerpt.

Find author Tamora Pierce on her website.

Read more reviews at Mindful Musings, The Literary Omnivore, and Book Harbinger.

If you like Song of the Lioness, you might also like Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and Sabriel by Garth Nix.

Buy Alanna: The First Adventure at

Friday Flashback Reviews, a feature at The Introverted Reader

Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. I did read Tamora Pierce's books at a younger age and loved them. But Song of the Lioness is probably my least favorite. When I'm re-reading I skip huge chunks of this one.

  2. I read this book a couple of years ago and had the same thought. I wished that I had read it in my youth-I think I wold have enjoyed it much more. It's a great example of how some books stand the test of time-while others don't.

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