This review has two purposes; One would be reviewing this book, and the second would be to review the whole series. As for this book- it is fast paced and well written. We see Alanna growing into a woman- learning to accept her feminne side. Alanna meets a shang worrior called Liam, and i must admit he was charming. The adventure was good, the fighting scences spectacular (really, there are few who writes fighting scences this well). And the plot tied lose ends- connecting well with all the hints that were given in the first three books. And yes, Alanna cried a lot. Thayet, the Sarain princess was also great- kind with an attitude, not helpless. Jonathan, has proven himself ruler. And George was as amazing as always (I have a lot to say about George, but the bottom line without sounding like a fangirl is that I adore him). While reading this book i felt all kinds of feelings- sad, worried, happy. Though none was overwhelming. IT IS A GREAT CONCLUSION TO A WONDERFUL SERIES. Now, for the whole series, it is going to be a long and bumpy ride, bear with me. There are many praises as well as many complaints regarding the quartert, and while reading them i had the urgue to share my opinion as well. This part of the review will discuss the writing style, world-building, plot, characters, relationships, complaints and praises. Ending with my bottom line. There will be spoilers, it is unavoidable, but i'll try to make it as spoilers free as possible. Tamora Pierce has a wonderful writing style. It is fast paced, sometimes matter of factly, and i almost feel like she could tell about routine life in the desert and it would still be interesting. Oh, wait, She Did That. She writes great fighting scences, that are easily imagained as well as realistic most of the time. As far as politics goes, at least in the song of the lioness quartert it is quite simple to follow, understand and you probably won't be suprised. But politics aren't what it is about- it is about a noble girl who wants to be a knight and breaks on a journey to acheive her goal as well as prove every doubtful one that girls can be knights. It is a coming of age story. And as such it is well written and serves it's purpose. As for the world building- the world is very ineresting, it is very much like the western ancient world. The magic system- "the gift" is not explained. Not how it started, why, how does it work, what's it limits. And in the third book we suddenly hear of weather, and fire magic, and it wasn't clear to me where they came from, and why it wasn't mentioned before. I guess Mrs.pierce could do better here. The myths that were told were great- just like ancient tales. Also, there were times that hings happened and i was like-"but how can it be? I simply don't get it".The characters and relationships- Tamora Pierce portrays her characters well, showing and explaining who they are in a few sentences. But in a way, Alanna, George and Faithful are the most complex characters. While the relationships come through well, when thinking deeply you realise that even though you can imagine the characters and relationships quite well, in a way it still lacks a bit of depth, a bit of realisim. I figure it's like that because of it is an adventure book, and because of the age of the targeted audience (12-16). Also, Alanna is growing up well, from a child who wanted to be a boy and was afraid of her Gift she grew into a knight that accepts her woman nature, her gift, and learn to balance all her sides. Her tedency to seek adventures when things get complicated with the people around her is quite annoying. Yet, i loved Alanna. Jon comes through as a great responsible king as well as a bit of a spoiled and stubborn little brat, but as the series progress he somewhat drops into the background. George is wonderful, considerate, smart, cruel, loyal, he is a good king to his people. A good friend to Jon, Alanna, Myles, Thom, Raoul, Gary and the rest. I love him. As for alanna bedrolling. I know it disturbes some people, but it's not as though she hooks up with a bunch of random boys. I mean she knows her first two partners well. And as for Liam- it is natural that two legends will be attracted to each other. As well as the fact the opposites attracts, but the likes attracts even more. And with all do respect- i do not think that if a girl has more then one sex partner, or one boyfriend, over the period of 3 years (and while she is with one she's completely loyal to him) it can be counted as problamatic. I mean, sex IS a part of a healthy reationship between lovers. And we can't have double standarts! Most girls in the western world have more then one sex partner before they marry, and we consider that normal in the western world, we talk about women freedom- also sexual- yet when a girl falls in love with one guy and sleep with him, then their relationship fade until they break up in a fight (because one refuses to let go, and love is still there). After a while she starts a relationship with another man that loves her dearly and she loves him (both as a friend and as lover) and they sleep together, but circumstances has it that they part ways, and so it's over. Later on she meets a guy that is very well known as a legendary fighter. He is charming, smooth, courting, and she IS curious about his way of fighting. They have a lot in common- hard working, stubborn, good fighters, hot tempered. And they do break on a journey together, and while being on the road, it is pretty much only them- so getting closer IS only NATURAL, and they also have a relationship and sleep together. But, what they have in common also makes them quarrel most of the time. Until breaking up is unavoidable. What is so problmatic in that? IT IS NORMAL, HEALTHY, IT IS WHAT WE KEEP SAY WE WANT. FREEDOM TO CHOOSE OUR PARTNERS WITHOUT SOCIETY RAISING IT'S BROW TO OUR CHOICES. SO THAT WOMEN THAT HAD MORE THAN ONE OR TWO SEXUAL PARTNERS WON'T BE COUNTED AS S-L-U-T-S. YET, WHAT DO WE DO WHILE READING THESE BOOKS? we raise our brows, we wrinkle our nose in dismay, and say it's problematic. We complain. If that ain't d-o-u-b-l-e s-t-a-n-d-a-r-t i don't know what is.Some people said that if you liked- HP, christopher paolini's the inheritnace cycle, and Philip pullman's his dark material trilogy,and you like high fantasy that is engaging and well written then you'd probaby should run away from these books. I liked HP though i gave it low rating (as i grew up it wasn't that engaging anymore), i couldn't bring myself to finish Paolini's first book as it was badly written (and that in a period i liked most writing styles), i have yet to read Pullman. And I am a fan of fantasy, i also read many books that aren't in that genre but that is for other reasons. And if i might say so myself, growing up with a father who read many Fantasy and sci-fi books and is quite knowledgeable, i was exposed to many good books in the genre. And i loved this series. It was recommended to me by one of my best friends, she reads many fantasy books and unfortunatly she is not a member in GR. She has wonderful taste- she loved pullman, HP, and said Paolini was ok. And this series is one of her favourites. In conclusion, What i'm trying to say is- if you want some well written high fantasy, with adventures, a wonderful cast of characters, and a coming if age story then you'd probably like this one. I know, the Alanna is ten at the begining, but she grows up- so give it a chance.