Alanna: The First Adventure
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on December 7th 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Alanna of Trebond is no ordinary girl: her dream is to become a knight. So she disguises herself as a boy and begins training at the palace of King Roald. Alanna quickly finds out that the road to knighthood is not an easy one, but her skills and stubbornness help her become friends with Prince Jonathan and his followers. At the same time, Alanna makes an enemy of the prince's uncle, the overly charming Duke Roger.
Here begins Alanna's first adventure, one that will lead not only to fulfillment of her dreams but to a magical destiny that will make her a legend.
What I Expected [Prior to the Summary Read]
- An epic saga of some sort
- An amazingly adventurous girl protagonist
- An introduction to the legendary Tortall I keep hearing about
What I Got
- The definite beginning of an epic saga
- The coolest adventurous girl protagonist – ever
- One of the most intriguing bookish settings I’ve encountered – Tortall
What I Thought
I am almost ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Alanna’s saga, let alone Tamora Pierce, until earlier this year; I just saw on Goodreads that this first installment in The Song of the Lioness quartet was published in freaking 1983! How in the world have I gone this far through life without discovering Pierce’s work and her incredibly well-built world of Tortall?!
Needless to say, this book is amazing and I cannot wait to get around to reading the other two Alanna books as well as EVERY other book Pierce has written! I remember randomly spotting Pierce’s name on Twitter and, as I’d never heard of her, looked her up on Goodreads and the rest is history! Someone had tweeted an absolute rave of her work and I’m so glad my curiosity got the best of me!
Alanna is a badass, to put it simply. She wants to be a knight; her brother wants to be magical, so, when it comes time for them to enter training, Alanna and her brother switch places, thus, Alanna becomes Alan of Trebond and her brother heads off to study magic. Sometimes gender bending books are a bit cliche for me, but Pierce does such an amazing job in describing Alan(na) hiding her sex in order to become a knight.
Not only does Alanna kick boy butt all over the place in training, she has mysterious powers that she is only beginning to understand. Let’s just say that her magical gifts come very much in handy! I must say that my favorite part of the book is when Alanna puts a bully exactly in his place!
Alanna, quite naturally, makes a creepy enemy, one who seemingly slips under everyone’s radar – except our heroine’s. Duke Roger seriously reminds me of a Snape-like character, smarmy and up-to-no-good. Unlike Snape, however, Duke Roger is apparently charming – it’s a good thing Alanna follows her instincts and steels herself as much as possible when in his presence. Pierce’s writing puts Duke Roger into the room with the reader, causing goosebumps galore due to his creepiness.
Alanna also makes a handful of unlikely friends, who keep Alan of Trebond’s ultimate secret, support, and protect her – not that she really NEEDS protecting, as she is a badass, but, everybody needs true blue buddies by their sides. The personalities of the others vying for the title of knight mesh together so well and they’re all so unique, yet real.
In summary, run and read this book right this minute – don’t be like me and wait to hear of Tamora Pierce when you’re in your thirties! 😀 But, as I always say – better late than never!
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