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The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, #3)
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The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3)

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  51,784 Ratings  ·  940 Reviews

"Let her prove herself worthy as a man."

Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death -- either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mythic fate would have it, Alanna so

Mass Market Paperback, 284 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Simon Pulse (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Norah Una Sumner
I just want to burn this book and then make myself forget about it.


This book is a synonym for horror. The whole book is like one big unfinished draft ready for its editing. The concentration of whiny-ass characters reached its maximum in this book. Alanna is the ultimate Drama Queen that can't make up her mind - does she want to have passionate sex with George or Jon? Of course, everything turns out great for her and she's a freaking hero while her brother becomes a fanatic lunatic. One of the b
Jul 04, 2012 Margaret rated it it was ok
I was 12 when I discovered the Song of the Lioness quartet, and they made a massive impression on me. At that point in my life it was amazing to find a series of books with such tough, relatable heroine. Alana was everything I wanted to be: strong-willed, compassionate, driven, and dead set on living on her own terms.

It's been a decade since I first read these books, and they still stand up pretty well. Alana still strikes me as an excellent role model for teenage girls, and she's as endearing
Aug 27, 2015 Danae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The one major problem I'm having with this series is the romance. Big spoilers ahead (basically only for the romance portion) so don't open the tag unless you want to know what happens.

(view spoiler)
Jun 23, 2014 Madeline rated it liked it
Based on what I've read on Goodreads, the general fan consensus seems to be that this book is the weakest of the quartet. I enjoyed it just as much as the previous two books, but can see why people tend to list it as their least favorite. The story takes place almost entirely in a single location, as Alanna goes to live in the desert after graduating as a knight (and killing Duke Roger) at the end of Book 2. The people she falls in with are the Bazhir, who we met briefly in Book One when she and ...more
Jaime Arkin
Apr 23, 2016 Jaime Arkin rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I opened this book sailing along on a certain ship... a ship that I'd been on since book 1 ... I was convinced my feelings were never going to change!
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And these things weren't making me happy ... NOT AT ALL HAPPY JON!!

And Alanna reacted just exactly how I expected she would ...

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I thought I was fine...

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Because George...
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AND NOW ... I don't even care, I ship Alanna with anyone she wants to be with. As long as they respect her as a knight and allow her to go on her adve
Feb 08, 2016 Alissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
More adventures in store for Alanna after the conclusion of the second book in the series. A new phase of her education and a new phase of her growth as a human being, a woman and a knight. The desert setting is nice, but Alanna-turned-teacher was a bit boring after a while. On to the last book. Highly recommended for any pre-teen.
Aug 17, 2015 Sanaa rated it really liked it
[4 Stars] I really enjoyed this one! It may be my favorite in the series so far! I'm glad I'm finally getting a chance to dive back into this world. I also just loved learning about the Bazhir and their traditions and overall just seeing Alanna out of a court setting! Also, can I just say girl power! Go Alanna!
Jul 24, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit, fantasy
The entire Song of the Lioness quartet is absolutely brilliant. What a great, uplifting series for young girls - it's smart, funny, brave, and terrifically exciting. I read this when I was in middle school, but I still get pleasure from re-reading it even today.
Jul 05, 2007 Kim rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves fantasy
Shelves: strongwomen
I love this series because it features a strong female protagonist. In fact, all of this author's work is centered around young women, which I appreciate after reading so much Harry Potter (which I love, but which lacks balance between good male and female characters, at least in the early books). Some of the other collections get repetitive, but Alanna's story stays compelling through all four books.
Amy Umlah
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce Review

Third book in the series and another 5/5 star rating…I’m starting to see a pattern here. I obviously loved this book; in fact I think it was my favorite so far in the series due to its overall development in character and world-building. There are a lot of new characters for me to love, and for the first time Roger isn’t the main villain. Not only did that open up a lot of new paths for the plot-line but it moved the story ahead wonderfully
Jun 24, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy, 2009
In book three of the Song of the Lioness series, Alanna has just received her Knight's shield and is anxious to be off on an adventure of her own making. Accompanied by the steady Coram, who trained her as a young page, Alanna feels ready for any eventuality. Heading southward, Alanna and Coram are attacked by murderous desert dwellers and are eventually rescued by the equally enigmatic Bazhir people who offer her two options: fight one of their own warriors and join the tribe or be killed. Wise ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Beth rated it really liked it
As an aside, I read this on the plane, too, on my must-be-3+-years-old Nook Glowlight. If I'm tied into the B&N ecosystem, there's really no newer ereader option, is there? I heard that the black refresh doesn't appear on newer ereaders, but I've also read a few downer articles about the future of the Barnes and Noble ebook platform, and I'm a little worried.

Onto the book! I only have two highlighted notes, so I'll mention those and then talk about my general impressions of the book.

Oh, this series.

In this installment, Alanna has become a knight and goes off to the desert where she spends some time with the Bazhir culture, and a whole lot of whiteness happens to them. For those of us who were all "But these are all white characters!" during the first couple of books, rest assured because there are some not-as-white people here, and there called the Bazhir. Well, they show up a bit in the last book, but here we get to learn about their culture in more detail. Alanna is there
Shera (Book Whispers)
Jan 08, 2016 Shera (Book Whispers) rated it really liked it
It has come up a lot in discussions about Young Adult books: How unrealistic the romance is. How it's insta-love and the girl never thinks of how the relationship will affect her. If she really loves about the guy, and what she doesn't love about him. (Oh, my! The male love interested isn't REALLY perfect.) How being with that person will affect her life and goals. Most importantly, how she wants to be treated by and because of that person.

I always say I've read books where it is considered and
Oct 20, 2013 Mara rated it it was ok
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I've never been a big fan of the these covers, because they have character impersonators on them. This may be my least favorite. Is the character impersonator supposed to have jaundice? She doesn't look well at all. The horse is pretty, at least.

Characters: My opinion of Alanna is rather lukewarm; that is, I neither like her nor dislike her. She doesn't exactly have The Attitude, and at times she expresses a very strong and believable personality. But other times, she tur
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
Each book is better than the last, and that's saying a lot considering how much I've enjoyed each previous book. I like the decisions Alanna's made up to this point, but most especially as of the end of this book, though I think she should probably check in on that brother of hers…

Can't wait to start the final book, though I'm already wishing it didn't have to end. ;0)
Fantasy Literature
Feb 06, 2016 Fantasy Literature rated it liked it
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man is the third volume of the SONG OF THE LIONESS quartet and the weakest volume of the series. Tamora Pierce makes a good effort of exposing Alanna (and thus, the reader) to some of the varying peoples and customs within the Tortallan kingdom and its neighboring countries, but relies too much on the White Savior trope, and the entire book suffers as a result. As I’ve said before, readers should start with the first book, Alanna: The First Adventure and work forward, ...more
3.5 stars

Review can be found at
Feb 06, 2016 kris rated it really liked it
[first read: 3 January 2008]

Alanna, knighted and revealed, heads south to begin her stint as a wandering knight, eager to forget the unrest at court over her deception and also her slaying of the King's cousin in combat. In her first year as a knight, she joins and instills change upon the desert-dwelling Bazhir; witnesses Prince Jonathan become the Voice; swaps one Royal lover for another; and begins to understand herself as Alanna instead of Alan.

1. Still don't like Jonathan. NOT SORRY. (Alth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Julie by: I've read the previous two
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2010
I just love Alanna. She is a great character: feisty, cranky, spirited, and yet kind and brave and vulnerable. I'm really enjoying this series and look forward to the final book of the quartet.

Also, George Cooper = awesome.

Also-also, I was explaining the plot of the Alanna series to my brother, about how Alanna's brother took her place at the convent in order to learn sorcery.

"But he never pretended to be a girl."

"Well that's good... if he did, book three would be called The Man Who Rides Like a
Jan 24, 2016 Andree rated it liked it
Shelves: re-read, 2016
Unfortunately, I'm not sure this one holds up, even against my memories.

I remember not liking aspects of this when I first read it (cough... the romance... cough), but I feel like I like even less upon reread.

The good? Most of the Bazhir camp. Alanna finally finding a home of sorts, and a little bit more of her centre, and what she wanted. Sir Myles adopting Alanna. That's a delightful scene. I also really enjoyed the scenes in Corus towards the end, the ones from George's POV.

The less than good
Super-into my re-read now! I really like how the relationships with Jon and George are developed. I guess I said that before, but everything's unfolding in a way that makes sense, which (also repeating myself) feels rare in YA.

And I like Alanna growing to accept herself and who she is.

Re-read January 2016

Uh, I think I said everything in the comments of Kris's review.
Hannah Givens
Aug 22, 2015 Hannah Givens rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt, ya
It remains an annoying Mary Sue series, but this volume improves on the last one. There are still random series of events instead of a coherent narrative, but it covers a shorter span of time, and it's more one story broken up by semi-related episodes instead of pure choppiness. Jon is still a douchebag, but now he's more clearly labelled as such. Alanna makes adult choices and I like that, although she has a huge White Savior complex here.

What I really want to know is why no one else in this en
Nancy O'Toole
Sep 08, 2014 Nancy O'Toole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I've recently been rereading Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet. I just finished up book 3, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.

In all honesty, I ended up enjoying this book more than I remembered. Yes, its suffers from being unfocused, especially when compared to the rest of the series, but the novel does a good job of expanding our understanding of Tortall, bringing the love triangle involving Jonathan, Alanna and George to the next level, and showing the Lioness in a new role, that of a t
I think we've established that this series owns my heart, but let's do a recap.

Female warrior character! Feminist icon! Engages in safe and healthy romantic relationships while still leading her own life and not needing a man to tie her down! Respectful of other cultures while still advocating for the rights of women!

And George... George Cooper is the biggest sweetheart and the most compassionate thief and I absolutely adore him. His character arc is wonderful;
Mar 21, 2014 Alyssa rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2014 Annisa rated it liked it
The third book of the Song of Lionness. The start of Alanna's adventure as Alanna of Trebond. It gives another rich view of the world of Tortall. The Bazhir and their names and culture remind me greatly of Middle Easterners, making me wonder of the fascination the fantasy writers seem to have with them. Unlike most fantasy books I've read, they or those whose traits drawn from Middle East were not made as one-sided or easy villains, but they were drawn fairly as people with their own values and ...more
Feb 08, 2013 Jason rated it did not like it
It feels like the series increases in its juvenile sensibility. Maybe it’s because Alanna’s youthfulness made sense when she was a tween, and now that she’s an adult her relative lack of maturity (and the author’s lack of maturity in her writing) seems jarring and not as it should be.

(view spoiler)
ARGH, again with the incomplete stories! This book is so obviously the first half of a story that will be concluded in Lioness Rampant, and it's frustrating to see it ended abruptly as if it were a complete novel in itself. But maybe this was back when Pierce didn't have the clout she has now and couldn't get a fatter book published.

My main thought about this book boils down to (view spoiler)
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Goodreads Librari...: Please create an ACE 2 100 Nov 08, 2015 04:41AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3) - By Tamora Pierce - Starting August 3rd 2015 5 10 Aug 04, 2015 08:25AM  
Jon 16 131 Aug 13, 2013 01:59PM  
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Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join gro
More about Tamora Pierce...

Other Books in the Series

Song of the Lioness (4 books)
  • Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)
  • In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2)
  • Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4)

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“There's plenty more fish in the sea than Prince Jonathan," he told her softly. "And this particular fish loves you with all his crooked heart."
-George to Alanna”
“Men don't think and differently from women - they just make more noise about being able to.” 249 likes
More quotes…