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

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  57,233 Ratings  ·  1,142 Reviews
Alanna, the only female knight, sets out across the desert of Tortall and is
captured by desert tribesmen. Forced to prove herself, Alanna triumps in a
magical duel to the death, becoming the tribe's first female shaman. But
another battle rages in Alanna's heart--she must decide whether to marry Prince
Jonathan, her first love, or stay with her longtime friend George, the
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Published April 21st 1990 by Turtleback Books (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
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 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)
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 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 07, 2016 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.
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-read
[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!
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sakina (aforestofbooks)
It's amazing how your opinions change as you get older. I still love this book (and this series) as much as I did the first time around. But it's definitely eye-opening. Jon really annoyed me in this book - he has gone a bit cocky and proud because of who he is. Just like Thom! I honestly didn't quite remember much about Thom's role in this book, and realizing who he's become makes me so sad. Jon also makes me so sad, because like Alanna said, he is a good person at heart, but he's just let all ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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)
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
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
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[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
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.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars

Review can be found at
These are books it is impossible for me not to view through a nostalgia lens. There's a lot here that might raise my eyebrows coming from a more recent release, including the depiction of the pseudo-Arabs and Alanna's white savior role. And the pacing is odd--as with all Alanna books, I find my memory filled in a lot of interstitial material that simply doesn't exist in the book's actual bare-bones narrative. But I love Alanna and her story too much too care.

Man that cover is awful, though. I al
Shera (Book Whispers)
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
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 24, 2009 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
★ℕłℂØℓҾ★ (Nix)
This is my least favorite of the series, probably because of the fact it focuses more on the development of Alanna's magic than being a knight. Alanna becomes shaman of a Bazhir tribe after killing the old, evil one. She then proceeds to turn the tribe on its ear about female conventions and trains 2 girls and a boy as her replacements. It's a fun and interesting adventure for Alanna's first as a knight, but it doesn't live up to the knighthood ideal for me. Alanna seems to be waiting for someth ...more
Fantasy Literature
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
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate to say that this was my least favorite book in the series. The thing that bugs me with this series overall is that it has a lot of action, but it all happens so quickly and without a lot of inner reflection or fleshing out of the world. It makes sense in the context that these are for kids, but it still bugs me. I want more!

This book had a bit of a white savior complex to it, and it made me feel uncomfortable. Alanna rips through this desert village and demands that they accept her. She
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Stephanie
Cover Story: Shamanic
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Um…
Bonus Factors: Feminism, Criminal Intrigue, Adoption
Anti-Bonus Factor: Jerky Boyfriends
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Read the full book report here.
Closer to a 3.75 out of 5 than a 4... And talk about what a change of scenery can do for a series. It was a joy to follow Alanna and her man-at-arms Coram into the Great Southern Desert and spend time with the Bazhir. Alanna's own struggles with her gender come to a head here, from the cultural and attitudinal differences between her and the Bazhir to the discoveries she makes about her changing feelings toward Prince Jonathan and George Cooper. She also learns to her accept - and even embrace - ...more
I ain't mad, but I don't like the way Thom's character is being written out.

Anyways. So, I tried to look at the 'fight' objectively, ya know, try to see from the other side and all that. But nope, that was a dick move. Don't be deciding on your own and expecting someone to take such a large step when they're not ready, especially since it goes against the nature of the relationship.

Stupid boys, I'm glad Alanna decided to go out adventuring again.
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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 11 Aug 04, 2015 08:25AM  
Jon 16 135 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)

Share This Book

“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.” 265 likes
More quotes…