Alanna: The First Adventure (Tamora Pierce)

Well, friends, I might actually make my goal of reading 36 books this year! This review’s book is the first in a series of four, and I am absolutely devouring them. I finished this one early yesterday and jumped right into the second, reading the entire day and finishing it before I could even get this review written. It’s been awhile since I had a book that I just could not. put. down.

Title Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1)

Author – Tamora Pierce

Year Published – 1983

Page Count – 274

Recommendation – I really enjoyed this book! It reminds me a lot of The Queen of the Tearling trilogy I read last year but geared toward a slightly younger audience.

Alanna starts this book as an eleven-year old girl preparing to be sent away from home to a school where she will learn to be a noble lady. Her twin brother Thom will go to the castle and learn to be a knight. Neither are very happy with this situation so Alanna decides they will switch roles. Thom will go to the school to develop his skills in sorcery (Both twins have the Gift of magic). Alanna will disguise herself as “Alan” and train to be a knight. Alanna plans to keep her identity hidden as she trains first as a page and a squire until she is knighted at age eighteen.

This book covers Alanna’s first few years of training. She quickly proves her worth and fighting skills, making friends with the other pages and squires and learning from the older knights. She learns more about her own magical Gift and puts it to use several times while defending her friend, the Prince Jonathan, from mysterious dark forces.

This book started off a little slow, but I was soon captivated. I’ve never really gotten into adult fantasy novels because they are usually too complicated to hold my interest. It’s like the authors are more interested in coming up with as many characters with strange names as they can, rather than developing an engaging story. Because this one is written to be accessible to a younger preteen/teenage audience, it was a quick and easy read but still a refreshing and spirited story.

The passage I picked is from a scene where Alanna is preparing to use her magic to heal Prince Jonathan. She’s in his room with three of the knights.

“Alanna looked around. Three sweat-soaked men – and outside this room, the entire palace – watched her, waiting for what she would say next. It was frightening. Was it possible that adults weren’t as assured and as powerful as she had always believed?” (p. 119)

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