Wow! First I must say, what an incredible story! I actually rather enjoyed the audio book after a while. The reader was excellent and really brought the story to life, so I could put myself into Alanna's shoes while the other characters were speaking to her. I was able to imagine what she could be thinking or feeling in those moments. It will never replace a physical book, but I may look into audio books again when I don't have as much time to read without multitasking. And to chapter 7!
The Black City sounded like such a scary place with the demon immortals! When Alanna was finally revealed as a girl to Jon, I was so nervous about what would happen, but something told me it would be okay. She was able to see that she had already proved herself, and that Jon didn't care she was a girl. She was better at what she did than most boys he knew. It also made me so mad when the Ysandir asked what she would be able to do because she was only a girl and weak. I was so happy when she showed them that even as a girl, she was not weak but very strong and powerful and great at swordsmanship. And together, both Jon and Alanna defeated the last Ysandir.
When they were at the oasis talking, I was proud of Alanna for speaking up about herself and saying she should be Jon's squire and the reasons behind it. She had been thinking she wasn't even in the running, but after the Black City, she knew she could and she knew she was the right choice and said it. I think now that Jon knows she's a girl, the story will get even more interesting in later books since they will both have to keep the secret now. I can't wait for when Alanna finally reveals herself. I have a feeling that most of them will be like Jon and accept her, maybe even Duke Gareth.
There is one thing that still concerns me about Jon though. I worry about Duke Roger. I know Jon trusts him and all, but there's something about him that makes me think that all is not what it seems. I'm leaning toward Alanna on this one and her feelings about him. While there may be nothing up his sleeves at all, and maybe he did dare Jon to the Black City to earn respect, there was no way he could have known for a fact that Alanna would go with him or that she or they together would have the power to defeat the Ysandir.
In completion of this book, I think it was a marvelous adventure of Alanna discovering herself, both as a woman and with her abilities/gifts. She's learned that there are people she can trust. She's learned that a woman is not weak. She's also learned that if she sets her mind to something, she can accomplish anything. She was shown that her magic is not a bad thing, and it is her choices that determine whether it's being used for good or evil. She realized there are some things you have to fight for. She's even gained a ton of self-confidence. She's also discovered that having friends is one of the best gifts one could ask for because having your friends allows you to defeat powerful enemies when you work together. I look forward to seeing what adventures she takes on next.
Shiloh Adlar, Sixth Year, Prefect, RQT Co-Captain"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world." -Voltaire