One of my friends adores Tamora Pierce’s books, so I decided to pick the first book of the ‘Song of the Lioness’ series. The summary drew me in instantly and i enjoyed every second of this book. An oldie, but a goodie.
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: 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.
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.
Alanna: The First Adventure is the perfect YA Fantasy book for me. Every girl (and maybe even boy) can relate and imagine themselves as Alana-a young girl wanting to desperately to be a Knight, but held back by societies expectations and conventions. The only option is to switch with her brother and pretend to be a boy. She works hard not only keep up her disguise and ensure that she is not found out, but also to be the best out of the other Pages. She feels she needs to prove herself, not only to the others but to herself, that she is worthy, even though she is a girl, to be a Knight and have a place in the training course to become a Knight.
The writing is simple, yet entrancing. Pierce makes the passing of time realistic, years go by in this book but we still feel as if we know what has occurred and that all of the character growth and plot developments are realistic. The world she creates is simple, but so well thought out and fleshed out.
Alanna, or Alan as she is known as in the book, os so likeable. her friendships with the other Pages and Squires are the highlights of the book. Prince Jonathon becomes one of her closest friends, someone she can confide in regarding her penchant for magic and someone who has supported her in her training and in her conflicts with the other boys. At the end of the book their friendship really comes into it’s own, and i loved the final scenes as they work together to battle some dark forces. In the absence of her father, who is an academic often lost in his reading and research, her companion Coram becomes something of a father figure to her. Initially concerned that she was not in fact her brother and that he would be responsible in guiding her through the rigorous training regime, he is a constant pillar of support for her throughout the years. Another father figure for Alanna is Sir Myles of Olau, one of her mentors that she develops a bond with.
This book is also a story of growing up. Alanna grows up from a child into a young lady during the book, and has to deal with puberty-getting her period and growing breasts very much alone. She had to hide everything otherwise she will be found out as a girl, something that may jeopardise her place at the palace and her friendship with the other boys. I imagine in the future books of the series, this may become more of a problem for Alanna.
I wish I had read this books, and the other books in the series, in my childhood as opposed to when I am in my early twenties. None the less i loved every moment and it is definitley in my top YA fantasy books i have read this year, if not ever. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to become available at my library, and will look into buying the collection when i have money to spare.