Mark Reads ‘The Woman Who Rides Like a Man’: Chapter 9

In the ninth chapter of The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Pierce surprisingly switches POV to George for the entire chapter, and we learn that Corus is in a state of disarray. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.

Chapter Nine: At the Sign of the Dancing Dove

Alanna is probably my favorite character in this series (with Myles in a close second), so it’s surprising to me that this chapter, which centers solely around George, is easily the most enjoyable one in the entire book. I’ve come to enjoy and respect George Cooper a lot over the three books he’s appeared in, and this chapter certainly cements him as one of the best-written characters in the Song of the Lioness quartet. It’s nice to know that he’s got a good heart, that he craves danger because it’s exciting, and that he genuinely cares about Alanna and her friends.

This insight into his life and the troubles he’s having is fantastic, especially since it all relates to the general weirdness surround both Alanna’s and his own life. What’s Thom up to? Why is Claw trying to usurp George’s throne? How has Alanna’s absence from Corus affected the city?

This is what Pierce addresses over the course of “At the Sign of the Dancing Dove.” The chapter opens with a brutal attack on George and his friends Marek and Ercole. I’m guessing that Claw sent them to try and get George out of the picture, especially since it’s later clear that Claw is desperately trying to seize control. But at the same time, Claw appeared to be genuinely surprised that George was back early, so is it possible that someone else wants George dead? Whatever’s going on, I still haven’t figured it out yet.

From the point of attack, they head to George’s mother’s place, and shit continues to get weirder. Again, I really enjoy that all of this is from the point of view of George. It’s unexpected, yes, but it gives me the feeling that George is a lot more important to this story than I thought he was. This is confirmed for me when he discovers that his mother is just getting over being sick. Mistress Cooper had tried to probe someone’s magic, and the guards sickened her in response. George quickly figures out that Thom must have done this. Yeah, I’m done with Thom. I honestly expected him to team up with Alanna and be this positive force in the series, but now it’s clear that he’s let his arrogance get to his head. What’s he up to? Why is his magic so secretive? WHAT IS HE DOING? WHY IS HE SUCH A BUTTFACE?

I don’t find out in this chapter, even when George confronts him, and I’m sure the final chapter of this book is going to break me. For now, though, it’s clear that George has a lot to deal with. From his mother’s, George takes Ercole to the Dancing Dove to find Claw sitting at his table. Good lord, this Claw character isn’t all that subtle, is he? See, initially, that’s what I thought. I expected George to confront him with proof that he sent that maidservant to kill him, and then there’d be a fight. Then George would win, all would be well, and puppies. But Claw has a much tighter grip on the city than even George expected. While he provides a convenient alibi for the maidservant, Claw also has half of George’s people frightened through bribes and blackmail. Oh shit, so this is going to be a challenge, no?

When George finally speaks of the matter with Sir Myles, I realize that I didn’t pick up on the fact that Claw is probably someone I know. GREAT. See, because I’m splitting up this series with Feed, it feels like I first read Alanna like A YEAR AGO. So now I’m pretty sure I cannot remember who I might have met and might have a facial disfiguration? Great. GREAT! And I am going to be totally surprised, and y’all are probably going to fill the comments of this review with rot13, and I’ll have to be tormented by my own community once more. This is a never ending cycle. I must get used to this.

He stopped for a moment, as if unsure of what to say, then went on. “I have reason to believe Thom may have been trying his hand at – raising the dead.”

YOU ARE FUCKING KIDDING ME. Who would he want to raise from the dead? His own father? MAYBE??? I don’t get it, and this scares me. It’s even more frightening when Myles admits that he thinks Thom is playing some sort of game to impress the Lady Delia. AWESOME. Because fucking with death is totally a hilarious game. Thom, what the fuck are you doing?

I honestly don’t know, but I’m positive that I don’t like Thom any more. I like George’s assessment of him: “He’s all brain and cynicism now, with no heart left to him.” In that sense, he really is the opposite of Alanna. He’s let his talent go to his head, and I’m frightened by what he might do. Bless, George, then, for being so direct with Thom. He doesn’t fear Alanna’s brother at all, openly asking the mage who he’s trying to raise from the dead. BLESS YOU, GEORGE. I mean, yeah, he kind of ruined any chance of getting Thom to open up, but George doesn’t care. He knows that Thom’s gotten into trouble. And that’s something I didn’t even guess. So, Thom’s done something that’s gotten him in over his head. Well, shit. Is George going to eventually need to help Thom, too?

Fuck, there’s only one chapter left. HOW IS THIS ALL GOING TO BE RESOLVED?

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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