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A Heroine of the World
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A Heroine of the World

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  355 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews

The fortune teller had spoken the words, shown her the cards that predicted she would become the focal point of great events. But now, a captive of those who had invaded her land, Ara could only wait, hoping to discover the true path of her destiny. But in a world ruled by the war, what chance did Ara have to attain her heart's desire? Carried far fr
Published 1995 by Headline Book Publishing (first published January 1st 1989)
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Feb 09, 2011 Mariel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: They shoot heroines, don't they?
Recommended to Mariel by: a light so dim
I am not a fan of Tanith Lee. Screw Tanith Lee! It isn't fair that I associate a period of my life (the summer between middle school and high school, one of my golden summers) with her. It's kinda embarrassing. I mean, this book is pretty awful. It's a Victoria Holt (I could do some telling reviews of those. Maybe I will! Later. I'm still writing this one) with fantasy thrown in. Maybe I never finished reading it because I only remember the first parts that well. A girl fancies some older guy sh ...more
else fine
Heroine of the world. An orphan, swept up by the winds of war, chosen by the goddess for great's a story we know from myths and from fantasy, right? She'll become a brilliant leader. She'll free her people, find the sword, defeat the evil.

But what if we can agree that that's all bullshit? What if war - squabbling over territory or custom or language - is all essentially meaningless? What if it's sometimes boring? What if the motivations of the gods remain forever inexplicable? What
Luna Raven
Jul 14, 2011 Luna Raven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading this book once every few years since I was 14 and every time I take something different away from it. The writing is clean and very focused; when the landscape changes you feel it as though you are a part of the story. The magic of rereading this is that I can see the love story from various angles depending on my own life.

Young Aradia is left behind while her father goes to war and her beautiful mother accompanies him to the battlefield. Forced to live with her cold maiden a
Aug 22, 2014 Adobe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After their home is conquered, two people repeatedly switch countries and allegiances as they separately search for an ideal worth their constancy. Instead, they find each other.

The novel's characters keep asserting that heroine Aradia is a passive spark for great events, but the key to A Heroine of the World is that Aradia isn't passive. She takes an active role in her survival, despite the distasteful and unromantic deeds required. She deliberately marries an enemy soldier; she murders her ra
Sep 20, 2012 Eleni rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book, which I first read in my teens. I did not care much to read about a somewhat passive heroine, even less so when her motivation seems to be - from a certain point onwards - love. I would dismiss it as naive chick lit and have done with it, but, interestingly enough, there is barely anything in the writer's voice that is naive. Even through a first person narrative, the story's perspective remains insightful and even somewhat cool. The last time I read AHotW ...more
Nov 12, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lee gets meta on us, writing a fantasy novel about how boring it would be if you were the heroine of a fantasy novel: The main character almost never gets to do anything, so her existence is made up of long stretches of indolence and brief moments of terror. In Lee's world, there are women who get to made decisions about their lives and even have fun occasionally, but they're witches, servants, or grand dames: to be a young, beautiful noblewoman is to be tossed about according to the whims of fa ...more
Oct 08, 2015 Karl rated it really liked it
Shelves: tanith_lee-own
Hardcover copy published by Headline book in the UK.

Ara embarks on a journey of self-discovery - a novel of a quest.
Ash H.
Aug 04, 2016 Ash H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I didn't read this book as a teenager... I read it as an adult. And I'll be honest with you, this is not for 'young adults', no matter the story is about a young woman. What she goes through is a parable of what girls in war torn countries, do go through, especially if they belonged to wealthy families or were associated with the elite of the conquered country. Merely getting raped and abused isn't your lot, you're made to live and the luxury of being killed or thrown away is not your fate ...more
Leila Anani
Fantasy/Romance – 13 year old Aradia lives in a city under siege. After her parents are killed and her aunt commits suicide she becomes the mistress of an enemy general and sets off with him back to his homeland in the north. He dies en route and she inherits his estate. This city comes under siege and an enemy general wants her for his mistress and covets the estate. She lets him have the estate but travels north after her true love. She becomes an artist before finally tracking down her belove ...more
Aug 17, 2010 Dina rated it it was amazing
Heroine of the World is one of my all time favorite books, or maybe even, the favorite one. Lee’s language is so beautiful! I know that the heroine is too helpless at times, but I love Lee’s heroines who are often quite passive. Aradia is charming in her own way, and I enjoyed every minute I spent with her.
Alison McBain
Mar 21, 2016 Alison McBain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing--it's a mixture of poetic prose and literary pacing, a slow descent into a world ruled by fate and fortune. The book follows Aradia, sometimes Dia, sometimes Ara or Aara--whose name is as permutable as she is. The story begins shortly before her family is killed and her country conquered. She becomes the central figure as kingdoms rise and fall, learning to play both sides of the conflict in order to survive the bitter ravages of war. Throughout all the changes she must endu ...more
Oct 14, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The harlequin romance of fantasy fiction with typical heroine who is both physically and mentally wispy and who occasionally manages to slap brutish men across the face.
mark monday
heroine to all; friend to none. succulent prose. forgettable epic. it's all about the journey, right? succulent journey.
Aug 10, 2012 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must have read this book five times, and I am overwhelmed by its poetry every time I read it.
Mar 30, 2011 Mely rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"The Most Passive Heroine in the World" would be a more accurate title.
This book is marketed as a fantasy but it doesn't strike me as particularly fantastical. While I don't recognize any of the names of countries or towns, it could just as easily have been set in the Balkans, with action taking place from Russia down to Greece. The religions don't match what there would have been in that historical period. There's no Christianity at all. There are goddesses and animal totems. It opens with the protagonist, the heroine, as a 13-year-old girl being deposited with he ...more
Emma Jean
Mar 03, 2012 Emma Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up all night finishing this book. I finished it around 9 am this morning. When I first started reading A Heroine of the World, it took awhile for me to get used to the plot, which was filled with battles, and who-might-attack-who, the later of which normally doesn't interest me, but I perservered, despite my dislike and last night a strange phenomena occurred- I realized I enjoyed the voice of the author, with its vividly poetic and yet sometimes confusing (hey it was late at night) des ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Macha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 and a half stars. something went wrong with this one near the end, and it fell apart. was she asked to change the ending to something she wasn't down with (thin adolescent fantasy)? or did she just get tired of the whole thing? ran out of time? what? at any rate, it went all perfunctory, and limp: in a different style altogether, and then ended abruptly. too bad, the worldbuilding and the characters were really interesting, until they suddenly weren't.
Nov 08, 2014 Janis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this book and absolutely despising the main character. That is all I remember though.
Jun 27, 2015 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keeper
My favorite Tanith Lee book! Can honestly say I've read it at least 25 times!
May 24, 2014 xenu01 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Tanith Lee. How can you create a lush and interesting fantasy world and then have these jarring "Oriental" stereotypes?
K. Axel
May 15, 2010 K. Axel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Tanith Lee fans
I like the writings of Tanith Lee, especially those from her Flat Earth setting. This is NOT a Flat Earth story, but it's still quite a good read, and one that I read surprisingly fast.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes the writings of Tanith Lee.
I wanted to like this, I did. The writing is gorgeous, and I never knew what was coming next. Eventually, the heroine's aimlessness kind of got to me, and I got impatient. I'll read more Tanith Lee, I expect.
Apr 04, 2008 Kath rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ... um, not sure I would.
Shelves: fantasy
(paperback version)

I kept waiting for the story to really start. I love Tanith Lee's writing, but sometimes I wonder where's she's going with it. This was one of the times.
Dec 09, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tanith-lee
A very feminine love adventure. As in The Silver Metal Lover, Lee is able to portray a protagonist that is strong, foolish & vulnerable at the same time.
Aug 30, 2008 Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book somehow brings poetry to my own writing. Simple, heart wrenching tale of how the world happens to someone...
Oct 02, 2012 Calista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I remember this book having a lot of sexually traumatic content, so read with care.
Remember that I thought it was OK, other than that - it's been a while.
Mar 28, 2009 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved the world this author created.
Sep 09, 2010 Velvetink marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
*note to self. (copy from Al).
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Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series "Blake's 7."
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai
More about Tanith Lee...

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