Book Review: Tamora Pierce’s In the Hand of the Goddess

Posted August 30, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Tamora Pierce’s In the Hand of the Goddess

In the Hand of the Goddess


Tamora Pierce

It is part of the , series and is a fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by Simon Pulse on January 1, 2005 and has 264 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Alanna: The First Adventure, Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant, Wild Magic, Trickster's Choice, Trickster's Queen, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, Realms of the Gods, First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight, Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff, Daja's Book, Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Briar's Book, Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, Shatterglass, The Will of the Empress, Melting Stones, Battle Magic

Second in the Song of the Lioness fantasy series for children. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Tortall books on my website.

My Take

I am enjoying this series very much. I suspect partly due to its resemblance to Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series as it brims over with lessons for children and honor for adults as the great adventures in both. One of those lessons in In the Hand of the Goddess is very pertinent to Alanna as she learns how to use the amulet she’s given.

Of course, Alanna is getting older and hormones start their little dance and when George adds his romantic assault on Alanna’s heart along with Jonathan’s, Alanna realizes she wants more from life than this masquerade. That what she thought she wanted is no longer true while yet other truths will force her to act.

In the Hand of the Goddess appears to be more of a collection of mini adventures as we follow Alanna along through to the Chamber of Ordeal that is the last stumbling block in Alanna’s goal to become a Knight.

The Story

It’s a lucky dream that provides Alanna what she needs to discover the danger to Tortall and to her king and queen. But all dreams have a downside with this one revealing too much and putting “Alan” in danger as well.

The Characters

Alanna “Alan” Trebond, masquerading as a boy in order to become a Knight, is now a squire for Prince Jonathan. Faithful is Alan’s magical cat and provides her and her friends with early warnings of danger.

Thom Trebond is Alanna’s twin brother with a preference for magic, a choice that becomes eminently clear as the correct one when Alanna visits him with George.

Prince Jonathan has been Alan’s friend from the first and requested Alan as his squire in Alanna: The First Adventure, 1 (& 4). Her friends who have become knights include Gareth (son of Duke Gareth), Raoul, and Alex. Although. There is some doubt about Alex. Jonathan’s parents are King Roald and Queen Lianne.

One of Alanna’s best (and useful) friends, George, her contact outside of the palace. And useful as king of the thieves. Sir Myles of Olau, another of Alan’s friends, teaches the pages and squires history, making it come alive for them.

Duke Roger is in line for the throne after Jonathan and is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the kingdom and beyond. Tusaine is a country with which Tortall is on shaky ground.

The Cover and Title

The cover is lovely. It has a feel of medieval illuminated manuscripts, fairy, and Russian lacquerware with its pair of formalized cat heads in the upper corners of the cover with the diamond-tiled pillars topped by pointed flares of gradated oranges flanking the center grounded by a “block” of gray-blue with curlicues centering the author’s name. The central image is a combination of jewel tones dressing Alanna in her orange hooded cloak with her fanciful short vest and gauntlets, the peasant-style embroidered tunic, Lightning’s decorated scabbard and purse dangling from her twice-around belt. Faithful hissing on her shoulder and Lightning en garde while a ghostly gray-toned forest bending in the wind as hands frame Alanna’s head protectively forming a background behind her.

The title, In the Hand of the Goddess, is most obvious in the cover image yet reminds us of the goddess’ protection throughout the story via the amulet that provides Alan with so much insight.