Genre: YA fantasy
Length: 308 pages
Setting: various locations in and around Tortall, soon after the events of The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.
Interest: It’s the fourth and final book in the Song of the Lioness series.
Summary: Alanna is trying to figure out what to do with her life. She decides to go on a quest to find the Dominion Jewel to help Tortall. Along the way, she meets the Dragon, a Shang warrior. He teachers her some Shang hand-to-hand combat techniques and finds his way into her bed as well. They also find Thayet, the dispossessed Princess of K’mir. Alanna is able to win the Dominion Jewel from Chitral, the mountain elemental currently guarding it. When she gets back to Tortall, she discovers the jewel is badly needed. Jonathan’s parents died, so he is to be crowned King. However, many feel his reign is already cursed because Duke Rogers was raised from the dead and is part of his court. (It seems that Thom, Alanna’s twin brother, was goaded into proving his magical powers by resurrecting Duke Rogers.) Rogers protests he is no longer plotting for the throne, but someone is trying to kill Jonathan and Alanna strongly suspects Rogers is at the heart of the plot. Everything comes to a head during Jonathan’s coronation.
Final thoughts: A satisfying conclusion to the series. Alanna seems to have gotten everythings she wanted. She’s a knight-errant of renown throughout Tortall and its surrounding kingdoms, after all, but she’s not satisfied. She needs something to do with her life. The quest for the Dominion Jewel gives her temporary purpose. Ultimately it is Jonathon who finds her a place in his court that utilizes her skills, as Champion. We also get a final confrontation between Roger and Alanna. It was slightly disappointing how Roger died, but still appropriate that Alanna won by doing the unexpected. She’d grown enough to think beyond the obvious solution of fighting. Alongside all the action, Alanna does question what man would accept all of her to take her as wife. The Dragon is intrigued by her fighting skills, but completely turned off by her magic. Jonathan needs a ruler, who he finds in Thayet. Ultimately, it is George, the King of the Rogues turned Spymaster for Jonathan who accepts all of Alanna.
Title comes from: Alanna’s nickname was the Lioness. The symbol on her shield was a rampant lion.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #27 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
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