Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Epic Book List Updated: Lioness Rampant and Amy's Not so Epic Stance on Her Reviews

First, before I get to the list update I want to briefly mention something. I don't follow everyone's blogs as closely as I should. I've sensed some tension on Twitter but didn't know much about this apparent pseudo-feud between bloggers and authors until today. Admittedly, I still don't know much beyond a really sort of ridiculous article in the Guardian and Maggie Stiefvater's post (if anyone would like to direct me toward more information or just tell me, I'd appreciate it).

With all of that in mind I guess what I want to say is more in response to Maggie Stiefvater's post. I know this isn't the most popular of blogs and according to her post what I write isn't technically speaking a review. I'd like to clarify my opinion on this (not that I think it's going to come up in relation to my blog but it is my blog and I can write what I'd like). I do think what I do is a review of sorts. It may not be a full on academic style review but I've never been that sort of person. Even in school I fought against teachers who imposed writing reviews and papers based on any literary theory other than Reader Response. That is my theory and that's how I read and write.

I refer to them as 'reactionary reviews' for a reason. It's not an academic review in a well researched, well plotted, quotes included, cited, grammatically correct sort of way. But I very much so believe that a review will never be completely unbiased. The whole crux of a review is how the reader responds because a quote that someone uses to back up their point may support the total opposite in someone else's eyes.

So I just want to say that I don't consider these to be massively serious things but figuring out my stance on a book is made much easier by writing it out. But maybe someone who finds my silly Internet blog space and likes the same sort of books will find them at least entertaining.

Gravity over. Now The Epic Book list update.

List Update as of January 17th

1. 'The Hunger Games' -Suzanne Collins
2. 'Alanna the First Adventure' -Tamora Pierce
3. 'Anna Dressed in Blood' -Kendare Blake
4. 'In the Hand of the Goddess' -Tamora Pierce
5. 'Graceling' -Kristin Cashore
6. 'The Woman Who Rides Like a Man' -Tamora Pierce
7. 'The Name of the Star' -Maureen Johnson
8. 'Lioness Rampant' -Tamora Pierce

9. 'Tale of Two Cities' -Charles Dickens
10. 'Wild Magic' -Tamora Pierce
11. 'Catching Fire' -Suzanne Collins
12. 'Wolf Speaker' -Tamora Pierce
13. 'Matched' -Ally Condie
14. 'Emperor Mage' -Tamora Pierce
15. 'Divergent' -Veronica Roth
16. 'The Realm of the Gods' -Tamora Pierce

I think this is the shortest I've gone between updating the reading list. Go me. And I know, another gushy Tamora Pierce post. There are many yet to come.

Lioness Rampant.

It's such a lovely and fitting end to the quartet. It has a number of story lines that all built and climax in the book. The quest for the Dominion Jewel, Claw's rebellion, the coronation, Roger's return. They're all important to the book. Tamora Pierce does a good job of tying them together. Plus I got Raoul and Gary back. I do love them even though Gary has learned to think before he speaks so he's not as sarcastic.

One of my favorite scenes in this book, and potentially the whole series, is definitely the scene in which Jon asks (well, he kind of asks) Alanna to be his champion. Everyone gets a say and it shows just how close they all are and how well they know each other. I didn't even realize how much I loved it until this read. It's that oddly touching scene where you definitely get that 'the group's back together' sense.

The whole end of this book really is about Alanna coming home and I feel a little like I'm coming home too. Everyone makes an appearance. That community sense is heightened when everyone and their second cousin stays with Myles. Everyone is always around and coming and going. It foreshadows are close they are all connected and how close they'll stay.

Even with the arrival of Thayet (who I love) I love how there is still this tension between Alanna and Jon. It's subtle as in the way Alanna said a part of her still wanted to say 'yes' but it's still there. They know they would be awful together and I know that but there's still just a memory of love they feel for each other beyond king and champion there. That being said I still laugh when I read the scene where Jon meets Thayet. They balance each other beautifully.

As soon as the coronation starts and all Hell breaks loose and Tamora Pierce does something she hasn't really done since Alanna the First Adventure, she shows the real loss of war. Characters die. I don't count Roger because, let's be serious he brought it on himself and he comes back. I won't get into every death but I'll mention a couple. I can honestly (and maybe a little embarrassedly) say that I don't think I've ever made it through this book without tears. A certain action by Princess Josiane reduces me to silent tears every time. No matter how much you want to shake some sense into him, Thom's loss hurts Alanna and I think more than his actual loss his last words being, not a goodbye, but that he'll never understand how Roger did it is the sting I felt the most.

What I do wish we would have seen a little more of was Alanna interacting with Roger. He's haunted her through the last two books and the two before that he was her nemesis when Thom brings him back I expect fireworks. He played with her so much that in their one real conversation it was really nice to see her do it a little back but I wanted more of that. After that conversation she said she could tell he was crazy but I definitely didn't get that until their final confrontation. I was especially curious about how no one kept an eye on Roger during the coronation. They were all worried, why wasn't he watched? His death wasn't as grand as it could have been but I'm okay with that because he got such a send-off the first time around he didn't deserve it the second.

Also, I wanted Alanna to own Alex with Lightning. So bad. The bone-splinters-in-brain punch was unexpected certainly, and allowed her to show off some of the skill she learned from Liam but their fight was always with swords. Even if Alex started it by kicking her.

I think just the The Woman Who Rides Like A Man that I liked this one much better this time around. I'm not even sure In The Hand of the Goddess is my favorite anymore. I've learned to love them much better as a whole.

Even though there are more books set in Tortall, Lioness Rampant leaves no doubt that Alanna's turn in the spotlight is over.

Overall rating: Massively Epic

I think that's the longest I've gone on about any of the books so I'll call it.

Next up is the first classic on the list Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

I have some random posts planned that I hope to get to. Perhaps tomorrow the next list of Life Lessons will go up.

Later lovelies,


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