Book Review: Tamora Pierce’s Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Posted December 5, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers, Young Adult 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 Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Woman Who Rides Like a Man


Tamora Pierce

It is part of the , series and is a fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by Simon Pulse on January 6, 2005 and has 284 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, 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

Third in the Song of the Lioness fantasy adventure for children and revolving around Alanna of Trebond who has been in disguise as a boy as she attends the school for knights. This particular story takes place in the desert amongst the Bazhir. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Tortall books on my website.

My Take

Excellent story of a young woman who faces down long odds with compassion and care even as she forces great change onto a tribe and how they see women. It’s a time of introspection and learning for Alanna in learning many things from the whys of starting small, her true feelings about love, and achieving a comfort level with her magic.

The Story

Alanna and Coram are surprised at an oasis and are fighting off an attack by the hillmen when another tribe show up, the Bloody Hawk. The Bazhir will kill them unless Alanna can prove she is one of the knights who freed the Bazhir from the Black City and the Ysandir, the Burning-Brightly One (see In the Hand of the Goddess, 2 (6)).

But it seems that the only proof the Bloody Hawk will accept is Alanna fighting one of their own.

The Characters

Alanna of Trebond has become a knight, killed Duke Roger in a duel, and escaped from Corus. The scandal of her unmasking has made her very uncomfortable, and she hasn’t come to terms yet with the result of her duel. Faithful is her magical cat; a guardian. Coram Smythesson is the man-at-arms who oversaw her and her brother Thom’s education as children while he ruled Trebond for their scholarly father. When Thom and Alanna went off to school, Coram followed Alanna and has watched over her ever since.

Halef Seif is the headman of the Bloody Hawk tribe of the Bazhir. Gammal was a guard on the gate through which Jon and Alanna rode six years ago to explore the Black City. Now he is a blacksmith with the Bloody Hawk. Kourren, Kara, and Ishak are orphans with the Gifts of magic the tribe’s shaman, Akhnan Ibn Nazzir, refuses to teach them how to use. Ali Mukhtab is the Voice of the Tribes and Alanna is crucial to his visions, the future of the Bazhir. Mari Fahrar teaches Alanna how to weave.

Prince Jonathan is quite anxious to see Alanna again. Almost as anxious as he is to become the Voice of the Tribes. Princess Josiane arrives at the Court in Corus; the second daughter of the king of the Copper Isles.

George Cooper, King of the Thieves, has been a friend to Alanna from the beginning. His particular cronies include Marek Swiftknife, his second-in-command; Rispah, George’s cousin and the queen of the Ladies of the Rogue; Lightfingers; Orem; Shem; Ercole; Claw; and, Harra. Joesh is the Falcon of Shang.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a black background with jewel tones setting off the rectangular block of Alanna in her chain mail and gold-washed armor wielding Lightning overhead and her shield in her other hand. Her bay, Moonlight, wears head armor and decorative harnessing.

The title denotes a time that Alanna spends with the Bazhir tribe into which she is adopted and the name by which she is known amongst them, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.