Monday, January 9, 2012

The Epic Reading List Updated: The Woman Who Rides Like A Man

List Updates as of January 10th

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 I was a little hesitant to start The Woman Who Rides Like a Man. I have always considered it my least favorite of the series. It's been a while since I've read it and I have to say that I like it much better this time around than I did before.

I think my initial dislike lay in the absence of her friends. I adore them as characters and Alanna isn't the same without them. Reading it now has made me realize that perhaps that is a strength of this particular book. We do get to see Alanna on her own, no secrets, no hiding. Just Alanna. There's a line in the book where Alanna says she's only just learning who Alanna is instead of Alan and I feel like that really applies to the whole book.

Additionally, I absolutely love the fight between Alanna and Jon. When I was younger, I was all for Alanna and Jon at this point even though I could never see Alanna as queen, let's be serious, but as someone who's tried to write screaming matches between two characters who feel passionately about each other I can say it's not easy. Tamora Pierce builds the tension between the two very well. They're harsh and ruthless with each other in a way that only people who are strongly connected can be.

That being said, my biggest complaint is the end. The whole last chapter of the Sorceress of Alois has always felt a little tacked on to me. It still does. It wraps several things up so nicely in a way that never really worked for me. The only way it ties in is with these two strange visions that happen in the middle of such action that they're hardly memorable even to the reader. I like that the swords are combined with the same ritual the Bazhir use but the execution felt contrived to me.

I am glad to have learned more this time around and to have been able to appreciate smaller things a little better. Also, to tie in a little with my cover post I like the cover better too, even if I think Alanna looks a little too old.

Overall Rating (on my handy new scale that will one day get a graphic): Massively Epic

Next up is Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star. 
Here's to hoping I get my reading habits back into shape soon. (At least I've been writing?)


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