Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hear Her Roar • Lioness Rampant

Lioness Rampant  book cover
Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Series: Song of the Lioness #4
Previous Books: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess + The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 6, 2005
Source/Format: Borrowed from Macky || e-book

Alanna of Trebond has become the first female knight errant in Tortall. She sets out on an impossible quest to find the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem that, in the right hands, has limitless power for good. But while she searches for the one thing that can save her war-torn country, her nemesis returns from the dead and begins to wreak havoc. Only Alanna has the power to prevent Tortall's utter destruction... 

The fourth and final installment of the Song of the Lioness series, Lioness Rampant, was tantalizing, exciting and, as always, filled to the brim with adventure and magic, starring our beloved Alanna of Trebond. Though the third book is my favorite in the series, this one comes very, very close to surpassing it.

There are a few new characters introduced in this book. Liam Ironarm, the Dragon of Shang (which basically means he's the strongest, most powerful Shang fighter), is a welcome addition, both for his role as teacher and lover in Alanna's life and for his incredible skills (the way Tamora writes it, he's as fluid and graceful as any dancer). We also welcome two new female characters - Princess Thayet of Sarain and her personal bodyguard and friend Buriram Tourokum, both of whom are strong-willed, skilled and intellectual. I love the spice they add to the mix, as well as the eventual friendship that occurs between all of them (the others being Alanna and Coram).

The first part of the book covers Alanna's journey to retrieve the famed Dominion Jewel, which is basically the stuff of legends (and obviously, a challenge that she can't resist). There was enough magic and adventure to satisfy any magic-lover in this first part, including the final (and successful attempt) Alanna makes to obtain the Dominion Jewel.

The second part focuses more on the turmoil in Tortall - the King and Queen are dead, Jonathan is now king but has not been crowned, there's a famine and Thom (Alanna's twin) has been messing around with magic and brought Duke Roger back to life. In the midst of that Alanna is crowned the King's Champion (the first female ever, which is pretty cool!) and she starts uncovering a plot by Duke Roger, her old friend Alex of Tirragen, Lady Delia and a few others to take over the throne.

It is the day of Jonathan's coronation where everything tumbles into a mess. WIth a whole lot of twists and turns, a few deaths and some heart-pounding action, the conclusion we arrive at is satisfactory for me on all counts. (After all, good always triumphs over evil in the end!). There's a lot of action going on in the last few chapters, and I was eagerly poring through them and trying to figure out what would happen.

A few other key things that I enjoyed seeing happen - the love affair between Prince, excuse me, King Jonathan and Princess Thayet, which in turn leads to Alanna realizing that she's always loved George and wants to be with him. The happy ending to all these lovely love stories make me happy, especially since I had always guessed Alanna and George would end up together somehow.

Lioness Rampant is a fast-paced, energy-filled ride with lots of action, turns and twists. It's fun to try and navigate through it all, as Tamora Pierce leads us to do, and find ourselves safely on the other side, our appetites for adventure sated completely.

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