I FINALLY FINISHED THIS BOOK! I certainly didn’t think it would take this long, but meh, it happens. I am going to do my best to review this without giving anything away, but if you’re super anti-spoiler, then perhaps you shouldn’t read this. Skim it, maybe?
So, let’s start at the beginning. I’m a big fan of Alanna, though she can be rather obnoxious with her temper. I realize she has to have flaws in order to grow, but she’s become a bit of a heroine to me and she’s supposed to be perfect, not realistic! Damn you, Tamora Pierce for making great three-dimensional characters! Speaking of characters, I liked the introduction of Liam, and I thought he was a nice addition to the crew up until the very end. He challenged Alanna in the way George challenged her in the beginning of the books and Jon challenged her later on. It took all of my will power not to weep a little when the book finished and I read Liam’s letter.
As for Alanna, I was beyond pleased with where her character ended up. I couldn’t get through the part when she went to nab the Dominion Jewel–she was so immature, and the quest didn’t seem to fit the story (I think that whole part about the jewel could have been removed from the story). I found myself praying for the part to end quickly, though it stretched on and on. However, I realize that we need this final quest to prepare Alanna for being the kind of woman I sincerely want to hug and hang out with at the end of the novel. Thom summarizes her growth perfectly when she meets with him before the final battle. I like the new, grown-up Alanna very much.
Jon redeemed himself in this book–especially after what happened in the last book. This goes along with Alanna’s maturity. He is forced to grow up and come to terms with how silly he was in previous stories. I think this might be why I adore these books so much. I’m at a point in my life when I can look back at high school and college and see the way I’ve grown up, as well as how the people I love have changed. I feel very much like Alanna when she reflects on her younger days, realizing her vision of the future has morphed into something more realistic, something better.
And speaking of something better, let me just say: where’s my George? Holy cow he is one delicious fictional man. Jon grows up to redeem himself, Liam is impressive and manly, but George is introduced as an awesome boy, and he only gets awesomer from there. And the ending! Oh goodness me, if only I could reach into the book and steal him. And those eyes! And what a cool mom he has! Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yea, the book.
As a twenty-two (and a half) year old female, I am still proud to be a woman when I read tales of Alanna, and these books still make me want to slap on some pants and run around with a sword. They are wonderful stories about a woman who knows exactly where she wants to be, even though getting there makes her question who she is as opposed to who society wants her to be. She is strong, and smart, and have I mentioned George before? I recommend Tamora Pierce’s novels to everyone, especially young female readers. Ladies, you want to meet a cool chick who knows what’s what? Read about Alanna.
I was originally going to remove a point for the horribly boring middle, but the ending was so epic and I was so satisfied with where all the characters ended up (d’aww, dual weddings for the daddy-figures), that I will give it a 4.5/5