Recently, my English teacher and I had a conversation about books. She had mentioned a book series she loved and wanted me to borrow. She couldn’t remember what it was called, or the name of the author, but once she found it she was going to bring it in for me. She found it a few weeks later and approached me at lunch with it in hand. It was called Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. It was a tiny thing, only about 275 pages. But although it was short, that book quickly became one of my favorites.
Alanna: the First Adventure, the first book in the Song of the Lioness series, follows Alanna: a girl pretending to be a boy in order to become a knight. The book starts off with one-year-old Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, complaining about the paths they were meant to take. Both siblings have the Gift, which gives them magical abilities. Since Alanna was the girl, she was to go to the Convent to learn to be a lady. Her brother was meant to go to the Castle to become a knight. But, there was a problem. Alanna wanted nothing to do with being a lady, and Thom wanted to become a sorcerer instead of a knight. The two decided to switch places. Thom would forge letters from his father, saying that instead of the twins being male and female, that they were two young boys. Alanna, now called Alan, would cut her hair and train to become a knight, hiding her true identity.
The book follows Alanna keeping her secret over the course of about five years. As a reader, you watch Alanna grow up as a woman. Alanna is a highly relatable and lovable character. She has a fiery personality and a short temper, which stays true to her red hair. During her journey, she learns to control her magic. She becomes such a good knight that she is made the Prince’s squire. But at the end, her powers are put to the test and she must battle some powerful beings, and her secret is revealed to a certain someone, but I’ll let you read the book to find out who.
Although I love this book, I was taken aback by how it goes by so fast. At some places, I was slightly confused. I would have enjoyed the book more if I had gotten a little more communication between Alanna and Prince Jonathan. I also felt as though people would have guessed that Alanna was a girl, but she could have just been good at hiding it. A connection I made to the next book was that Alanna suddenly falls in love with two of the characters in the second book, and there was no warning in the first one. I feel as though there would be some kind of clue that she would fall in love in the first book. But all in all, the book is structured and well written. I rate it four and a half out of five stars.