Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Review by Sara, 18 years old, from Canada

11 year old Alanna has never wanted to go to the convent and become a lady. Her twin brother, Thom, has never wanted to go to the palace and become a knight. As members of the noble class, however, they must – until Alanna hatches a plot to help them both achieve their dreams. They switch places, allowing Thom to become a sorcerer, and Alanna, now Alan, to become a knight. But training to be a knight is not as easy as Alanna thought, especially when she must hide her gender from the entire palace. Short, scrappy and strange looking, with red hair and purple eyes, Alanna manages to attract the interest of powerful people, becoming friends with royalty and making enemies. With both Prince Jonathan, heir to the throne, and George Cooper, King of Thieves, as staunch allies, Alanna maintains her independence and proves her worth. But in denying her gender and remaining frightened of her powerful, magical Gift for healing, will Alanna ever be able to accept herself and recognize her own worth? In Alanna: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce establishes the realm of Tortall, filled with swords, sorcery and secrets aplenty. The first book of the Song of the Lioness quartet features a strong, independent and modest heroine, but readers will recognize Alanna’s key character flaws in her inability to accept her femininity, magic and value. This medieval fantasy novel rates a 3, and is most appropriate for girls, age 12+.

Posted on 2011-06-25