Title: The woman Who Rides Like a Man
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 284
Why I read it: third in a series
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 soon becomes the tribe's first female shaman -- despite the desert dwellers' grave fear of the foreign woman warrior. Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes -- for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall.
This one started off a little slow, and I was afraid that the series was going to start going downhill or something. I think it's just that I really love court intrigue, and since she was out in the desert in this one, it was a little different.
It picked up, though, and I got sucked in once again in Alanna's adventures. She's such a strong character, and I really love the feminism in this book. Not just because it says that a woman can be what she wants to be, but also because here, in book three, Alanna learns how to do some traditional women's tasks (like weaving) from the desert women that she didn't previously know how to do. And she's learning because she wants to. I love that feminism here doesn't mean "try to do everything just like a man", but that the message is more to do what you want to do, and what feels right to you.
I'm really looking forward to book number four, but I'll be sad to leave Alanna when it's all over. It's a great series.