In The Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

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Alanna’s story continues in the next Song of the Lioness book. This time, she’s a full fledged Squire to Prince Johnathon. She meets the Goddess who has chosen her to serve and protect the realm from evil! The Goddess gives her a token and she acquires a black cat she names Faithful. Alanna continues to deal with the troubles of disguising herself as a boy, but gains allies as more of her friends find out. War also comes to Tortall and it becomes clear someone wants her dead. Alanna must protect the Prince and survive until her Trial of Knighthood, then she has the Trial to survive.

This one had more action in it since Alanna sees her first battle. She also experiences first love as first George professes his love for her and then she and John begin a sexual relationship. I like that Pierce decided to show Alanna experience this type of experience at a young age since it would have been totally normal for a girl that age to engage in such behavior given the time period inspiration. I also like that she showed them being responsible. Too many sex scenes in books, no matter who they are aimed at, seem to glaze over the characters being responsible about it.

However, I still think it wasn’t as good as some of her later books. I have to remind myself of the time period this was written in and what the YA books at the time (Lois Duncan, Seet Valley High) were like. I also have to remember that around three years are covered in only 240 or so pages. I give it Three and a Half Lightsabers.

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