Mark Reads ‘Lioness Rampant’: Chapter 8

In the eighth chapter of Lioness Rampant, THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST CHAOTIC THINGS I HAVE EVER READ. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Lioness Rampant.

Chapter Eight: Crossroad In Time

I CAN’T. OH MY GOD, I WAS TRULY UNPREPARED FOR HOW THIS WAS GOING TO END.

  • There’s an Ordeal of Kings? WELL, ALL RIGHT. Alanna doesn’t have to go through that, does she???
  • HER GODDAMN VISION THAT THE DOMINION JEWEL GIVES HER. It confused me so much when I first read it. Why would Roger call her “loved one”? Why was he in that chamber? It ultimately is foreshadowing for her final confrontation with him in the catacombs and how he believed he could have outlasted her and Jonathan. Wow. Wow.
  • And then the whole POV section with Alex was even more bewildering. Pierce does a great thing with the first half of this chapter: She throws so much information at you, and none of it makes sense. It builds tension and anticipation to an unbearable level. What’s the appointment that he refers to? Why is Josiane going to try and “stop” Alanna? There are like 10 different plots to steal the throne and get revenge, and I don’t get how they’re all connected. H E L P.
  • So, armed with the information that something will happen just as Jonathan is crowned, the entire coronation scene hurts. I was disgustingly nervous. Why wait until Jon had access to the powerful magic that came with being King? I should have just asked myself that out loud because the answer was painfully obvious: Because then you could steal it.
  • And yet, how could I have predicted that Roger would use the magic he’d stolen from Si-Cham, Thom, Alanna, and Jon to cause the earth to shake, building up pressure in the process as a way to threaten Alanna?
  • I was even 100% right about Roger using Thom’s magic and I STILL WASN’T PREPARED. UGH. MY GOD.
  • To Tamora Pierce’s credit, this last chapter is the best written thing in the entirety of Song of the Lioness. All her strengths come together to compose a frantic, chaotic, and masterfully plotted endgame that was just terrifying to read. It’s so smart of her to give us these brief scenes from multiple characters because it heightens the tension. We have to worry about the fate of all these characters we’ve come to love all at once.
  • In his final moments, Thom does his best to communicate Roger’s ultimate plan, though he only really conveys the fact that Roger can only drain one person at a time through his leeching spells. And then he’s telling Alanna he loves that, that he always has, and then he’s gone. Like that. Thom dies. It is so sudden, so shocking, and it sets the tone for what will be a bloodbath. Yeah, as I say in one of the videos below, I take it back. Tamora Pierce can be brutal, and this chapter is evidence.
  • Ugh, George and Coram fighting together for Rispah and Alanna. I love those two so much. That means I immediately started worrying that they were going to die. If Pierce could kill off Thom, no one else was safe.
  • That also applied to Buri and Thayet, who decide that they should help out instead of keeping to themselves.
  • NOPE, CLAW IS HERE AS WELL. I FORGOT ABOUT HIM. I was so caught up in Roger’s plan, and Alex’s plain, and Delia’s plan, and Josiane’s plan, and there are so many plans, that I didn’t remember that Claw had an interest in this, too.
  • “For a moment they locked knives, pressed together body-to-body. Then Claw dropped, George’s blade hilt-deep in his chest.” OH MY FUCKING GOD, HOW AM I GOING TO SURVIVE THIS CHAPTER.
  • No, I can’t, Alanna can’t even move because she’s so heartbroken by Thom’s death. Done. Done.
  • WHAT THE FUCK, WHY IS SI-CHAM HERE?
  • “I made a mistake. Because I didn’t make two we are alive. You cannot make even one.” ARE THE PEOPLE IN THIS BOOK SPEAKING SOME DISTANT ALIEN LANGUAGE BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THAT IS GOING ON.
  • And then Si-Cham just drops knowledge into Alanna’s brain, and I lose it. It’s so exciting, and I don’t get it. Like, I knew I was getting the answer to Roger’s endgame, but at the time, it just seemed like nonsense. What is the Gate of Idramm? Binding the earth? The secret way? WHAT IS THE GATE-TRAP? Why do I feel like I’m walking into a trap?
  • No, George just got injured, FUCK. CAN HE PLEASE NOT DIE.
  • LIAM JUST SHOWED UP, OH FUCK. FUCK. THIS RULES
  • “A double-headed ax chopped down, biting deep into Si-cham’s collarbone. He dropped. Josiane stood in the doorway, spattered with his blood, trying to work her ax free.” ONE MILLION PERCENT DONE WITH THIS BOOK. WHAT THE HELL AM I READING.
  • Oh, Faithful, you are the best. I am so happy you were hiding and –
  • “The princess hurled him down and stepped with all her might. With Faithful’s agonized cry, strength poured into his mistress. She crouched and lunged, drawing Lightning as she moved. With a single, brutal slash she cut Josiane down. Her new strength pounded in her ears as she shoved the dying woman aside to pick up Faithful. Time to go home, he cried, and was gone.” Done. Done, done, done. Fuck this, I am so done. No moment in this entire series has hit me harder than this. I loved that sassy cat, and I know he was just some spirit/being inside a cat’s body, but I miss him. I’m so heartbroken.
  • God, I’m still in awe of the narration of Jon using the Dominion Jewel to hold his kingdom together, literally.
  • No, Alex, go away. Alanna, just kill him and run. Don’t fight him. Don’t do it. Oh god, you have to, don’t you? This has been a long time coming, and I don’t like it. It’s written brilliantly, as usual, since Pierce has a fantastic grasp on writing action scenes like this. I didn’t expect that Alanna would lose, so I just wondered how this would end. It’s kind of beautiful that Alanna used what she learned from Liam to defeat Alex. I mean, seriously:
  • “In the split-second opening in the path of his sword she rammed forward, crushing his windpipe with one fist as she struck his nose with the other, thrusting bone splinters deep into his brain. They were pressed together so tightly she felt the life flee his body. She backed away hastily, letting him drop. “Is this what it means to be the best, Alex?” He would never answer.
  • This goddamn book, I swear. I never expected any of this. I am still in shock and reeling from the events of this chapter.
  • And then it’s here: the confrontation with Duke Roger of Conté. It is more than just satisfying. It’s an incredible scene that exhibits Alanna’s growth as a person. As I came to understand what it was that Roger had actually orchestrated, a positive outcome seemed impossible. Alanna couldn’t step into the gate. She couldn’t use her magic. And it’s not like Roger would willingly leave his own safe zone, right? So how could Alanna ever fight him? Even worse, the Earth couldn’t withstand Roger’s spell for long, and everything would erupt in a massive earthquake if something wasn’t done soon.
  • Oh, also, Roger was never dead in the first place. Done. DONE.
  • Things got worse. This didn’t surprise me. It couldn’t only get worse at this point, right? But I’d forgot that the hilt of Lightning still had a jewel that belonged to Roger, and that tiny hint ages ago was actually part of the endgame. Roger’s Gift is attached to the jewel, and he uses it to pull Lightning toward him. Thankfully, Lightning is no longer fully his, so Alanna is able to hold on.
  • However, it’s not enough, and this is important. When we first met Alanna, she was impatient, quick to act, and even thoughtless at times. In terms of fighting, she’s learned a lot over the course of these four novels, and now, she exhibits a patience she never used to have. She knows the only way to gain an advantage is get one step ahead of Roger, but what hasn’t he anticipated? Her patience. He expects her to resist, and so she does the exact opposite. She released Lightning, and it shoots across the space and impales Roger.
  • She did it. She did it by letting go.
  • That little interaction between the Provost and Alanna is adorable.
  • Oh god, they’re all alive! Rispah and Raoul and Coram and George and Myles and Thayet and Buri and –
  • “The altar itself had been cleared to make room for the body of Liam Ironarm.”
  • NO. NO!!!!1 OH GOD, NO, PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE TRUE. But it is. Liam sacrificed his life to save Jonathan. My heart, my poor heart.

What an incredible experience. I’ve got the Epilogue and my final thoughts on Thursday, and then I start the Immortals quartet on Monday. Oh god, I’M ALMOST THERE.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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