In the Hand of the Goddess is the second book in the Song of the Lioness series. You can read my review of the first book, Alanna: The First Adventure, here.
Still disguised as a boy, Alanna becomes a squire to none other than the prince of the realm. Prince Jonathan is not only Alanna’s liege lord, he is also her best friend—and one of the few who knows the secret of her true identity. But when a mysterious sorcerer threatens the prince’s life, it will take all of Alanna’s skill, strength, and magical power to protect him—even at the risk of revealing who she really is…
What I Liked
As the second book in the Song of the Lionness series, In the Hand of the Goddess does a great job of moving the story and the character of Alanna forward. On her way to becoming a knight, she continues her growth into a capable young woman. From going into battle alongside Prince Jonathan to the final confrontation with the antagonist, Alanna is constantly challenged to push herself to face new threats. One area where I think this book is better than the first is that the overall antagonist is clear from the beginning and is an ever-present force in the book. This helps make the climax of the central conflict of the book more satisfying than in the first novel.
Tamora Pierce also continues to touch on themes that I think young people will find relatable. Alanna is faced with stirring romantic feelings that complicate her relationships with two of her male friends. While both of them are aware that she is a woman, she struggles with how to manage her private feelings while maintaining the public image of a young man. Alanna sees romantic attachment as a barrier to her dream of being a knight, yet she finds it difficult to repress her feelings. She also does not want to push her friends away. This inner character conflict provides a good parallel arc to the central conflict against the antagonist
As before, the writing is fast and light. It was the perfect book to settle into after a long day.
What I Didn’t Like
I don’t really have any complaints about this entry in the series. In the previous entry, I found the writing to be a bit simplistic, but it has matured in this second entry. I appreciate that the writing ages along with Alanna.
If you’ve read and enjoyed Alanna: The First Adventure, I highly recommend picking up In the Hand of the Goddess. This second book improves upon the first and carries both the story and Alanna forward in interesting directions.
You can find In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce here on Amazon.