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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)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  63,541 ratings  ·  1,422 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
Mass Market Paperback, 228 pages
Published April 11th 1992 by Random House Children's Books (first published 1986)
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  63,541 ratings  ·  1,422 reviews

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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
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
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 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.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya-lit
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.
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[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!
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.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book didn't have the adventure that the other two novels had, but it was still very enjoyable for me. Throughout this, Alanna continues to grow up. She's strong and fights for what she wants (or doesn't want) like she always has, but what got me throughout this one is that we see Alanna really learning to accept more of who she is. Since she ends up being a shaman, she has to focus on another part of herself that she had previous kinda tucked away and never wanted to deal with which forces ...more
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
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2009, fantasy
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
May 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical, 2018

This one was a bit of a letdown for me. The first half was great but after that point this was a mess.

There was absolutely no need for the romantic drama. And that thing with Thom came out of nowhere...😑
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.

April Sarah
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I love that the pacing of this book finally slowed down a bit. You got to see some depth to some of the characters and see how they process things. Alanna really starts to come into her own. But I won't lie, this one has always left me extremely frustrated with most of the male characters.

Video 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.
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)
Lesa Divine
Alanna becoming her own self as a woman. She don't want to marry just want to be adventurous. But with a marriage proposal she had to figure out what do she want. She's now also apart of a tribe that she likes.
Her brother Thom dealing with magic he is causing others to be scared.

Interesting take yet again just okay. I approve of my 13 year old to read.
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
3.5 stars

Review can be found at
Clephiro (The Book Coven)
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
This book is my least favorite of the Alanna quadrilogy. It's still a solid book, especially in the context that this book was so important for teenage girls when it came out.

This book is basically Alanna off to have adventures. The book starts strong, with a fight between her and some desert bandits. Eventually she ends up spending time with the tribe and joining them. The majority of the plot of this book is really set up for the next book, but it's interesting to see the changes that time ha
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-stars, fantasy
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
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
Feb 08, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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)
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
★ℕłℂØℓҾ★ (Nix)
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Please create an ACE 2 104 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 14 Aug 04, 2015 08:25AM  

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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

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)
“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.” 275 likes
More quotes…