Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Alanna: The First Adventure

Alanna: The First Adventure
By: Tamora Pierce
Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)
"From now on I'm Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I'll be a knight." And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Disguised as a girl, Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page. But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.

My resounding reaction to this book is 'DUDE. Why, oh, why didn't I read this as kid?' It's fantastic! I sped through this in a day and it was perfect. It had me dying to read the next one (which I am actually currently in the middle of). My friends, THIS is fantasy.

The Characters:
Alanna: What can I even say about her other than her obvious awesomeness? Okay, well, she's sarcastic and smart and brave and TOTALLY KICK-BUTT. I'm pretty sure every ten year old girl would want to be her (at least, my ten year old self would have wanted to). She's a bit naïve, but that's perfect for the character because she's so young. She takes sometimes unwise risks, but again, it just makes her believably flawed. I love her determination, her persistence. I also loved how it was showcased more than once in the book (through Ralon and Swordsmanship and various other things). I also loved how her transformation and subsequent deceit about her being a boy was done. You always remember that she's both a girl and kick-butt and that those two things aren't mutually exclusive.
Jon, Gary, Raoul: They are so great! They weren't given an excessive amount of page-time (except Jon), but I loved their friendship with Alanna. They're honest and teasing, but ultimately protective and caring. And they knew how to let her fight her own battles, too.
Myles: LOVE him. Smart, sort of cynical, and also a bit of a loner. But he takes Alanna under her wing and I loved their relationship. He makes a great father figure for Alanna when she really needed one.
George: Oh George. At first I wasn't so sure about him, but gahhhh. I love him so much. He's charming, witty, and complex. Sure, he's a rogue and a thief, but he has morals and understands friendship. I'm so excited to see more of him because I have a feeling he's going to be very important to Alanna.

The World:
Yeah, this is a pretty basic fantasy world (at least what I've seen of it so far), but that doesn't matter. The important part is what the story and the author does with it. And this handles it PERFECTLY. It isn't bland or uninteresting or played out. It's fantasy plain and simple and that's fantasy how I like it. It doesn't need frills. It is compelling in its own right just by its characters and plot alone.

So expect reviews of the other three books soon because I AM JUST SO EXCITED TO READ THEM.


"Was it possible adults weren't as sassured and powerful as she had always believed?"

"Am I a silly child? she thought angrily. "Or am I a warrior?"

"Oh, you'll be a great knight and rescue ladies and slay dragons and the like, but not all the monsters you meet are dragon shaped."

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