Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Song of the Lioness audiobook series by Tamora Pierce

After years of prodding from my best friend and a long time of seeing bloggers (ahem, Gillian) squeal about Tamora Pierce, I decided to give the author and her series a try. Since I'm now allowed to listen to audiobooks at work, because all the other ladies get to listen to their old lady radio and I don't even answer phones, I'm just sitting in a corner scanning papers ALL day. Not that I dislike my job or anything. I took the risk of listening to something I hadn't read before. The result?

Why, oh why, did I not read listen to this series sooner? I will not even claim that this will be a review. It is more like me trying to convey my emotions in certain parts. GIFs will probably be the best route so be prepared for an overload of them. 

There MAY be spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution. Please do not get mad at me.

Alanna of Trebond switches places with her twin brother Thom so that she can go be a knight and he can be a sorcerer. If you want to know more about that plot, go to Goodreads because I don't want to waste time recapping the whole series. So let's just say right now that she was awesome and I was surprised all over again when I was reminded on how young she was. She kicked butt, ya'll. When she had a run in with a bully, she worked even harder. Actually, she did that in every book with every challenge or challenger she faced. 

The secondary characters were amazing. All the boys she became friends with, including the lovable Gary, made me want to join their bromance instantly. The unrealistic side to this is that she was accepted a bit too readily since she was younger than they were. The disappointing side was that we didn't see much of them in the later books. However, we did get to see quite a bit of Miles, who was absolutely huggable. One of my favorite quotes, because it's so wise and what I always think when I have to make a decision to something, was provided by him.

"No can always be changed to yes, but it's very hard to change yes to no."

However, there was some romance to keep me happy. In the span of four books, she falls in love with three guys. With all the relationships, Alanna had a hard time admitting her feelings, but the first one was probably the hardest with her because of her femininity. 

  • Prince Jonathan. She became his squire even after he found out she was a girl. After a bit, there was some ooh-la-la-ing going on between them. They quarreled and had their differences, but they were quite cute together. Okay, he was cute. 
  • The thief named George. Alanna technically met him first and he was the first one to find out about her true gender, after his mother did. Unfortunately for him, Alanna wanted to keep things semi-platonic between them for most of the time. Oh, he flirted though and they had their heartwarming scenes. 
I am a Georgian.
  • Liam, the Shang Dragon. Bleh. GET AWAY FROM ALANNA AND FROM ME. Sure, he seemed like the perfect guy at first. They both had the same desires, same goals, same mindset, same toughness. Whatever. He just seemed so old to me. I was thrilled when he was scared of her magic wuss
There was only one true villain and that would be Duke Roger, related to Prince Jonathan and the royal  CLUELESS family. Everyone except Alanna were blind to Duke Roger's schemes and at first, that seemed very unrealistic. Don't fear though! We obtain a reason in the end.

Action, mystery, quests, magic....I loved it all and was wrapped up in the story without fail. The first book was absolutely amazing for me. I loved the plot, the characters, the narration, everything. I remember liking the second book because of the added romance and other plot points. However, I don't remember much about the last two, but do think that some of the parts were dragged out too long. I just wanted my familiar characters back. 

I so wanted to like Thom, considering that he's Alanna's twin...but I couldn't. We weren't supposed to anyways, except for maybe a little bit at the end. He was arrogant, pompous, selfish, and standoffish. Everyone who met him were unanimously hating him because of his...attitude? Air around him? Aroma? Behavior? Whatever you want to call it, he had no friends. And deservedly so.

Although he was intelligent and wise with magic, he was stupid too, at least in the last book. Because in the last book, he wonders how a certain person feels towards "the woman who killed him." Say what now? Let's see. If someone killed me, I would have a range of negative emotions. Anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge come instantly to mind. What, do you think that this person will just forget and be all, "Well, I deserved it. I don't blame her. La, la, la, la, la..." Idiot. 

Thom also said that Alanna was basically the only person he loved, but he sure didn't act like he loved her in the end. But that goes back to the above point on how stupid he was. 

What I loved about having Alanna as a main character was that she was always growing. I didn't realize starting the series that it was technically middle grade. She grew up from being about a pre-teen to around my age. She naturally changed mind on things and matured. You can never say that she didn't work hard because she always tried to be her best. Whether it was to defeat a bully or get a diamond or to do something else that demanded her magic or strength, she trained hard. 

How everyone felt about her from day one.
She certainly had her difficulties growing up though. Since she spent a large portion of her life as a boy, the transition of becoming a woman was tough too. Her time of the month? More awkward than others. Alanna gradually piqued more interest at dresses and while I wanted her to stay tough, I wanted her to be feminine as well. She deserved to feel beautiful. Unfortunately, because of her mixed emotions about how to conduct herself, and because there was one stick in the mud who made her feel like crap about wearing a dress for him, I might add she was confused as to who she was. She always dreamed about being a roaming knight, but she longed for home. She refused the thought of marriage, but started to crave love.

I would bet on it that Alanna said this at one point.
Because I feel like I have a million things to say and no words to say them, here is a gif collection of my feelings throughout the books at different points or throughout the whole thing because this brought on the feels.

Narrator review: 
I also have to mention the narrator since it was an audiobook series. The pick for the narrator could not have been better! Wow, wow, wow. Trini Alvarado, who played Meg March in Little Women, narrated all four books and was fantastic. You could clearly tell apart all the voices and her variation of all the men wasn't silly either coming from her. Sometimes she even sounded like Megan Fallows, who played Anne in Anne of Green Gables, which I really liked. I looked her up and she narrates another Tamora Pierce series so I will be listening to that asap. I think a narrator has the power to make or break an audiobook and she definitely didn't let Tamora Pierce or me down. 

And to sum up how I felt afterwards when I received major book hangover...

Thank you for being patient with me as I babble and squeal. Such a relief to get it all off my mind.

Have you read this series? Have you listened to anything narrated by Trini Alvarado? What Tamora Pierce series should I read/listen to next?


  1. HEEHEE Sunny. I love the GIFs you chose to express your feelings and opinions. Man, but EVERYONE (Gillian, Alexa, etc) adores this author's books. I know I added the first one of this series to my TBR because fantasy is my jam.

    Now, on to your review. First of all, it is so cool that Meg from my favorite version of LW narrates. I am normally not a big audio-book person, but if the narrator is good, then that's different.

    It's so awesome to see this established series still drawing in new readers. I love how you squee'ed over George! And Alanna sounds like an AMAZING heroine, and your admiration of her is warranted, I'm sure. It's really cool to see your enthusiasm for the boys and other side characters, and for the books in general. :)

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. I love choosing gifs! Hey, if fantasy is your jam, READ THEM. You won't regret it. If anything, you'll regret not reading it soon enough!

      She was absolutely good. I think I wouldn't have liked it as much if I had read it instead of listened to it.

      Thank you :)

  2. Because of your spoiler warning, I scrolled down BUT I want to say that I'm pretty embarrassed that I've never read any Tamora Pierce! I bet they were INCREDIBLE by audiobook. I may have to check into that. I like to listen to audiobook and follow along with a print copy and I have three Pierce books - so perhaps I should check into those. Hmmm, something to think about!

    1. Hey, I was a Tamora Pierce virgin until recently so no judgement here! YES YOU SHOULD!

  3. Is it absolutely terrible to admit that I've never even heard of this series before?! :-/ Now I'm thinking I really need to remedy that. And I'm always looking for a great audio!! :)

    1. It seems like you're not the only one! You should!

  4. I haven't even heard of these books! I'm so glad you are having such a great experience with audiobooks and that you loved these! Your GIFs were perfect. :)


    Haha, I'm with you on the boys. Team George 4evah, but oh, do I love me some Jonathan. Liam, however, can just... go over there.

    Yeah, the last two books drag a bit, ESPECIALLY the fourth, when they're up in the mountains and blahh, Liam Liam Liam. WITHER MY GEORGE, I kept saying. But the last half more than makes up for it! I'm so glad you loved this series. Warms the cockles of my Alanna-loving heart.

    1. YOU HAVE *awards you with a blogger/reader/friend honor* Why thank you, gif Queen.

      Yes, I'm glad how she played the whole relationship thing though because I was always rooting for George, but I was whining that Jonathan was so great. Haha!

      Exactly. I hated Liam parts. HA, I like it. Cockles? Sounds dirty, Gil ;)

  6. I am embarrassed to admit that I haven't read anything by this author. I actually have no idea where to begin, though perhaps with this series? I love finding audio book reads so I will make note of that. I did skim your spoiler review and saw that there are several love interests, so I'm not sure what to think about that? But I like that this girl dresses up like a boy and that we see character growth and confusion for her as she has to figure out who she is. But overall, I'm happy that this was a big hit for you!

    1. Yes, begin with Alanna! It's...better than most multiple love interests. A hint at a love triangle, but not really. It's hard to explain, but it's superb!

  7. I haven't read this series, nor am I familiar with this narrator, but your excitement over both is palpable, Sunny! I haven't been feeling the middle grades so much lately, but maybe this will be the series to bust that slump. I've heard time and again that this is a good one, and though I've never read any Tamora Pierce before, I think you've convinced me to give Alanna a try. :) Fabulous GIFs, btw. :D

    1. I just had no idea it was MG, I usually hate that genre! You should! Thank you :)

  8. Your use of GIFs in this review is perfect! I especially like the Mulan ones because you review made my mind automatically link this series with the Disney movie. As much as I hate referencing "Strong Female Characters" or any variation of the phrase (because where are the Strong Male Characters? Are they just inherently strong? Why is this distinction only necessary with girls??), Alanna sounds like such a kick-butt character. That, combined with everything else you said, makes me want to go out and read these books right away.

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