on June 8, 2004
I would know that there are many good books out there. But there is one that rules above them all. When Alanna first hatches a plan to switch places with her twin brother, she has no idea what's coming her way. They decide that she, a girl, will go to be a knight, while her brother learns to be a sorcerer. The plan is put into action secretly, and all seems to go according to plan. But when Alanna arrives at the castle training school, she realizes that it's no piece of cake. Her muscles ache, her head throbbs, and she has piles of homework, but she toughs through it, her ambition to be the first woman knight never stifled. Some try to squash her, while others cheer her on. With the help of her friends, who, along with the rest of the world, still have no idea she's a girl, she keeps trying her best.As she slowly morphs into a knight, visions of dark towers begin to haunt her dreams. What does this mean? Why is this happening? Alanna doesn't know, but she means to find out.
This amazing action, adventure, fantasy and romance will draw you in for the time of your life. Struggle along with Alanna as she juggles friends, knighthood, love, school, and her crazy visions. One of the main reasons I loved this book was because it captures you, and you can't stop reading. The time it takes to turn the page is to long, and SSR is to short. So if you want super action, suspense, and adventure, read this rockin' book! :)
on June 26, 2004
The Lioness Quartet is one of the best series of books I have ever read. It goes on my "special bookshelf" with Harry Potter, Gone With the Wind, and Pride and Prejudice. When I first got these books, I bought them in a series from Amazon, I was about eight or nine and I did not put them down until I was done. Since then I have read and re-read them what seems like a hundred times, and they have the marks to show for it (the second in the series is swollen from being dumped in the tub). For any young girl who loves fantasy this is simply a must-have.
The story follows Alanna of Trebond, a twin, and very much opposed to the sort of life a young noblewoman should have. When the story opens, she and her brother, Thom, are eleven and are being sent off to school by their indifferent father so that they may become a lady and a knight respectively. After a few moments of disgruntled reluctance, the two decide that they will switch places, allowing Alanna to disguise herself as a boy and become a knight in her brother's place, while Thom will head to the convent and train to be a sorcerer.
Thus, Alanna becomes Alan, and aided by an old family friend, the manservant Coram, she embarks upon a completely new journey at the palace in Tortall. At first bullied, or hazed, she soon becomes fast friends with the crown prince, Jonathan, and his close friends. While struggling to maintain her classes, which are made more for pushing the pages and squires to their breaking point, she also has to hide her secret from anyone. Fairly soon on in the book, she makes friends with the King of Thieves, George. As she grows up little by little she also meets the Duke Roger, Jonathan's older cousin and second in line for the throne, after Jon, for whom she has no pleasant feelings and distrusts heartily.
The books is filled with magic and intrigue, romance and history. It has good friends and bad ones, it develops every character beautifully and leaves noq uestions unanswered. And the best of it is that there are three more to read after this one, all as beautiful and clever as the first.
This book was so beautiful and good that simply writing about it makes me want to re-read it. Alanna's friends were so well portrayed they came to be my friends. I can see and smell the castle and fell her pain and understand her struggles. This book should be mandatory for any young girl reader.
on May 20, 2002
It was an alright book, for a bit of light reading. I'm twelve and I like fantasy novels, but this one didn't really do what it could have done. It had a lot of potential, but hasn't done anything about it. Hopefully the 2nd, 3rd and if I could be bothered by then 4th book will have more of a storyline. I would DEFINATELY reccomend this book if you are prepared to read the other books in the series before you get a storyline. So, really, it was a great introductory book.
on January 20, 2004
The book Alanna The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce is an astoundingly well written book. In this book, you feel everything that Alanna does as you step into Alanna's shoes and experience the thrilling adventures that she goes through. You can see through her eyes as she disguises herself as her twin brother so that she can go and become a knight. You can feel her strength as she learns the many things a man must learn in order to become a knight. You can feel her sorrow and happiness as she cries and when she laughs. I loved this book and immediately read every one in the series. I loved the feelings that Tamora Pierce makes you feel as Alanna does; the sorrow, the pain, the happiness, and the pure bliss. Along with the feelings that Pierce does such a good job making you feel, Alanna is the most exiting, adventurous, charming character that I have ever read about!!! As Alanna slashes with her sword and leaps onto her horse, she takes your imagination with her. She guides you through fight after fight, guiding you to the end. After I read this book, Alanna was kind of like my role model!!! Along with loving Alanna, I also really liked the setting of this book. This book takes place in the medieval time period. Not only that, but in this book, magic is real!!! So, for all of those people out there who love magic, adventure and a slight taste of mystery, this is the book for you!!!!
on January 5, 2004
This is a pretty good start to building up an interesting series, however, I have to add that the other reviewers who rave about this book and give it 5 stars, mustn't read very much.
I like that the story is focused on the development of a female warrior, however, even in a fantasy novel, I want my character to be believable. I'm sorry, but there could have been more character development for the heroine Alanna. My sympathy for her only remained lukewarm.
It was a nice step to mention menarche. That part makes it more 'real' and appealing to preteen girls. But ultimately, that was also a letdown. What I don't like is that the woman who explains menstruation to her simply gives her a "charm" to ward off pregnancy (never mind that the heroine is 12!).... Using a charm to 'ward it off' is a bit simplistic, and even bland, plot-wise. While I believe in being straightforward with kids about sex, sex ed is too complicated of a subject to be included in a fantasy novel by a mediocre writer... Sure, pregnancy is spirited away by some magical charm, but what about our fair heroine contracting nasty STD? What about the virtue of chastity? Someone training to be a knight should, above all, learn some form of self-control. Clearly, the author had an "agenda" in the series that did not include the kind of self-discipline that extends beyond swordsmanship. What about some form of commitment? If you're gonna go into details on the sex ed thing, cover the whole nine yards..... or leave it out. Just don't be half-assed.
The writing is simple enough for a 12 or 13 year old, and it's fun tale that many in that age range can sympathize with. This is what earns it 3 stars. However, this is reading/entertainment.... not "fantasy literature." To me, only superior writing, and depth and complexity of plot and chracter can earn a book 5 stars. The characters are not complex at all; they are either good or bad as they are labelled from the onset, with the exception of maybe George, and his character is not developed much. You will find no background, and nothing will be impressed upon you.
This is a far better book than the first installment of the "Protector of the Small" series, "First Test," which is even more shallow and uninteresting.
on December 7, 2003
I HATE THIS BOOK!!! I couldn't stand it when I first picked it up, I couldn't get into it, and Alanna whined too much, the characters where so unreal. But then again I accidentally picked it up, when I dropped my library books, and never intended on reading it. I was also in a fowl mood when I started it because of having a broken leg and a million other things that where going threw my mind when I was 13. Yet I kept on finding myself taking it out again and again from the library, trying to read it until one day I did. I have never been so happy with a series or an Author. I found that at the age I was, I could relate to Alanna, I found that situations she faced could be learnt from in situations I faced. And as corny as that sounds its true, a teenage girl going threw puberty and a tomboy is no different then a medieval teenage girl being a knight. The story is enchanting and strong willed. At the end of the 4 books I found I didn't want to read any more of her work. That I would loose what I liked about Alanna and these books and they wouldn't be special to me that easily changed. Now that I'm older I admit I don't read all 12 of her books that I have a month. But for people or teen age girls that are looking for a great story, and a great set of character this is not only the book for you, it is the writer for you.
on August 18, 2003
I just loved this book, I knew I would before I read it because Tamora Pierce is such a good author. This is the first book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet. In this book, Alanna of Trebond is determined to become a knight...so she disguises as a boy to train at the palace. It wasn't easy. She soon learned that she needed to work hard every moment of the day. She quickly made friends with Prince Jonathan, Raoul of Goldenlake, and Duke Gareth's son(also named Gareth). It was hard to keep her secret because she had to deal with "becoming a woman" and everything. After saving Jon from the fatal disease, Sweating Fever, Jon's cousin comes to the palace. Upon meeting him, Alanna feels extremely ditrustful, without knowing why. She feels that Duke Rodger is plotting to take the throne...by killing Jon! He dares Jon to go to the evil Black City to defeat the Nameless People. Alanna goes with him & uses her mysterious magical sword to prevent the People from killing them. Great book, I know my summary's bad so don't say so.
on May 13, 2003
ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE is a must-read for teens as it is very involving and entertaining; audiences will undoubtedly fall in love with Alanna as she is skillful, stubborn and spunky. Using a limited-omnicient point-of-view, Pierce allows readers to not only enter the mind of Alanna, but to also sympathize and relate her character as well. Alanna becomes even realer as readers see her struggle in perspiration, as to eventually attain the title of "Knight". However, it is best recomended that girls read this book, as boys will hardly relate or understand a story about the problems and struggles of a female aspiring to be a knight.
Having read THE PROTECTOR OF THE SMALL SERIES prior to reading THE SONG OF THE LIONESS QUARTET, I have noticed too many similarities in the the personalities and book plots of the two quartets. We see that Keladry's perils are all too familiar when compared to Alanna's. In each, there is the classical "school bully", and the immediate attainment of a close friend. Here, Ralon parallels Joren, as Prince Jonathan parallels Neil. As in LADY KNIGHT, in ALANNA there is a prophetic vision that leads to the final battle in the book. Although these similarities make the book slightly dull, Alanna's first adventure is definately more enthralling than Kel's battle with the spidrens, as readers are itching to know about the secret of the Black City. Readers will be slightly dissapointed when the books are read sequentially and become somewhat predictable. Although ALANNA suffers the minor flaws, the book is overall, exaclty what Booklist says it is: "A lively, facinating tale."
on May 4, 2003
I read this series about five years ago, then I re-read it out loud recently to my college roommates. It was just as good then as it is now.
I reveled in Alanna's adventures, and Pierce's frank hands-on writing style made me feel like I was right there along with her. Everything happened so sensibly that it made it real. The hard work that it took her to learn to use her weapons, the way she dealt with bullies, the fun times with her friends, and her self doubts and troubles with growing up, all made this book very enjoyable.
The next three books in the series are also good, and definitely live up to the promise of this one, carrying Alanna--and changing her--throughout her life.
I don't really understand the reviews that talk about this book having "inappropriate scenes," as there was nothing like this that I can pin point at all. There were maybe four kisses in the WHOLE series, all of them quite tame. A few reviews make it sound like this is a bodice-ripper or something of the sort, which I can assure you is not the case.
And really, children know about that kind of stuff. Wouldn't you rather them learn about it subtly and responsibly with a great writer like Tamora Pierce, than in some other less savory way? It's part of growing up and Alanna has to deal with it the same as the rest of it. I thought both Alanna and Pierce handled it with great sensitivity and skill.
on March 18, 2003
Knights, honor, magic, friendship, and lots of excitment!
I read Alanna for the first time when I was in middle school and still find this entire series (excluding the last, because, well, I don't want to ruin it for you, let's just say I disagree with how it should end!) an enormous comfort.
Many fantasy books start with characters either already doing what they want to do or destined by some other-wordly force to become great even if they don't want to. Few show the struggle a character has to go through to become what they want to be. As such, Alanna is pretty unique. She decides she wants to become a knight, yet in her world only boys become knights and she is doomed to being a "lady." So one day she hatches a plan to switch places with her twin brother and thus her story begins.
The series follows her as she fights her way up the ranks, befriends not only the prince of the country, but also a king of thieves. She makes enemies. And has to learn the hard way how to survive. All the while pretending to be someone she isn't, yet trying her darndest to be remain true to herself.
For all her trials and tribulations, you know Alanna works and pays for her triumphs. You can't help but fall in love with her and root her on through the end!