Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Posted February 25, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora PierceAlanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Series: Song of the Lioness #1
Also in this series: In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2002
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
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four-stars

"From now on I'm Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I'll be a knight." In a time when girls are forbidden to be warriors, Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be knight of the realm of Tortall. So she finds a way to switch places with her brother, Thom. Disguised as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page at the palace of King Roald. The road to knighthood, as she discovers, is not an easy one. Alanna must master weapons, combat, magic -- and also polite behavior, her temper, and even her own heart. With stubbornness, skill, and daring, she wins the admiration of all around her, and the friendship of Prince Jonathan of Tortall himself. But she also makes an enemy of the prince's uncle, the powerful and charming Duke Roger....

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna's first adventure begins -- one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land.

Main Points
Writing Style:
Simple but still perceptive.
Plot:
This felt more like a middle grade than a young adult but that hasn’t stopped me before. I loved all the plot going on and I loved Alanna. She was very clever even as she masqueraded as a boy. Most girls would probably avoid attention because they wouldn’t want to be found out but Alanna didn’t seem to mind it- she was just extra careful about concealing her identity. And she was so young so it was even more amazing that she did it for so long.
The plot shifted as time passed and a lot of things were introduced. The magic bit felt a bit hazy at times- it seemed to come up out of nowhere and develop behind the scenes- where we couldn’t see it. So suddenly she would be able to do something that hadn’t been elaborated on and it saved her. I mean this wasn’t really annoying but I wish it had been explained a little better.
I liked how strong Alanna was and how easily she made friends. She stood up for herself and had a sense of honor that I don’t think many children would, boy or girl. She was unusually perceptive and intelligent and not-so-unusually curious. And of course there’s no denying her fighting ability. She is a force to be reckoned with. She is also very clever. I like her very much.
Although the gamer side of me may consider her to be too OP (over-powered). She is way too proficient at too many things and plus she has magic on her side- the gift of extreme healing and the power to call on the gods. Not to mention a special weapon. And she also has connections to some people who may be young but are very powerful. At the end of this book, she is 13? 14? And she fights immortal ‘gods,’ as they call themselves (not sure whether they are to be believed). Now I’m not saying that she didn’t work hard for her skill, and I’m not saying that she’ll be able to defeat anything that challenges her. But she seems too powerful to overlook, certainly, and that’s what many people seem to be doing. No one knows exactly how powerful she is, just as they don’t know she is a girl. She keeps too many secrets. I’m not sure that can end well.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • plot
  • characters
  • setting
  • ending
  • writing
Less than perfect:
  • Alanna’s abilities
Bottom Line

All in all, I really liked this book, even if it felt more middle grade than YA. The major pluses are the plot and Alanna herself. She is amazing- clever and a very skilled fighter, perhaps a bit too powerful, though. And some things in the plot- mainly, the magic- were not explained thoroughly or at the right time, but they didn’t get in the way of the plot too much. Would I read more by this author? Definitely. Would I recommend this to others? Yes.

Signature

About Tamora Pierce

Tim Liebe, who became my Spouse-Creature, and I lived in New York City with assorted cats and two parakeets from 1982 – 2006. In 2006 we moved to Syracuse, New York, where we live now with assorted cats, a number of squirrels, birds, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and woodchucks visiting our very small yard. As of 2011, I have 27 novels in print, one short story collection, one comic book arc (“White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion”) co-written with Tim, and a short story anthology co-editing credit.

Rating
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Setting
four-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

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