Vibrant and Brilliant Conclusion Oct 14, 2008
It's amazing; sixteen years after my first reading of "Lioness Rampant," I still find it thrilling and adrenaline-pumping. Alanna the Lioness grows up in this book, for while she already has her shield, she has struggled to find her place in her realm, and in the lives of the people she loves.
The arc of the quartet comes to fruition tightly and brilliantly in this book. Alanna follows the pull of her destiny to cement her reputation as a true knight-errant, silencing those who doubted the validity of her shield. The quest on which she explicably finds herself proves to be more important than she could have ever known, as the threat to the kingdom thought long dead and buried rears back to the surface just as her prince must assume the throne. The characters introduced in "Lioness Rampant" are just as fully developed as the old familiar faces from Alanna's younger years. Thayet, in particular, is very well drawn as a refugee noble from a land torn by civil war. Pierce's characterizations pull the story together almost tangibly as the people whose lives are at stake fight to make things turn out right.
As always, however, Alanna is the living, breathing, pulsing heart of the story. She is still vividly realized and just as fiery and stubborn as ever, even if maturity has come to her at last.