Reviews of Alanna: The First Adventure (1983)
Review by blueworld (2005-12-01)
The Alanna series is a classic coming of age story. I'm nearly a complete opposite of Alanna in personality, yet I always found her sympathetic and easy to relate to. This first book introduces Alanna as a character and begins the story of her struggles to become the first female knight in many years. In the modern young adult fantasy world, it seems very short, and there certainly could have been much more description of Alanna's life at school and its inevitable dramas. But at the time the series was written, a long young adult book couldn't be published nearly as easily as it can post-Pottermania. "Alanna" is compact rather than overly short, and probably at the right level for the average 11 year old reader.
This book was one of my favorite when I was about 14, and I still love it.
Review by fastfinge (2005-10-28)
This is an interesting read if you're looking for something to divert you for a little while. It's not the sort of thing I normally read, but I seem to be on a fantasy kick at the moment. However, it does have some things that I seriously dislike. First off, the ending. I despise most authors who don't write books that stand alone. If you are writing your serieses, your books should have endings that bring closure and stand for themselves. This book doesn't. The last page, instead of reading "the end" as in most books, reads "the beginning". This just served to draw my attention to a practice that I already hate, and colored the rest of my perceptions of the book. Second, the culture. This is a girl-pretends-to-be-boy book (hey, at least the plot has the advantage of being steeped in tradition), but it doesn't seem to want to go through with all the required cultural baggage of a plot like this. The people who discover Alanna's real gender do not react with a nearly appropriate level of prejudice, at least not in the first book. Any culture that is so male driven that it requires a girl to act as a man should be much more prejudiced than this one seems to be. If you feel the need for a girl-as-boy plot, there are better reasons for the required change, and other books that have done a better job: see Piers Anthony's _Refugee_, and Terry Pratchett's _monstrous regiment_.
Review by africa (2005-08-02)
Pleasa someone can tell me if this sumery is good:
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Alanna: The First Adventure concerns Alanna of Trebond. Alanna's father has brought up she and her twin brother Thom alone, yet he seems to care nothing for them so much as he cares for his books. Therefore, Alanna and Thom are taken care of, more often than not, by their father's man, Coram and by the local healing woman, Maude. It is she who discovers Alanna has a calling and affinity for magic and the Goddess. It is she who encourages Alanna to use her powers of healing, rather than to neglect them. Yet Alanna has other ideas. She wishes to be a knight.
So she, Thom, and Maude hatch a ruse to make it so, and as they leave their father to begin their education, Coram takes a disguised Alanna off to the capital, while a costumed Thom heads off with Maude to the City of the Gods. Alanna settles into her new life as Alan of Trebond, student, very well and under the close eye of Coram, but by no means does she have an easy time. Her years here will be hard ones, indeed: bullies and trials abound--even her body seems determined to betray her.
She makes friends quickly, however, among them, a crafty thief named George--King of Thieves--who comes to her aid more than once and finally convinces her that, yes, friends do go out of their way for each other without expectation of returns on their investment. She also becomes fast friends with Prince John, and comes to his aid when he falls victim to a killing fever that sweeps across the capital (sent by his cousin Duke Roger? Alanna suspects). It is to John that Alanna must finally pledge her undying fealty, with him that she faces her most unexpected challenge; it is he who learns the secret of Alan of Trebond, in that final, unbelievable battle, and promises not to betray her; and it is from him that she receives her highest honor yet.
Alanna: The First Adventure is a wonderful little story, a mix of all the things that make the Fantasy genre. It was a little slow, in parts, and some of the chapters were rather long, considering it is a Young Adult novel, but I enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading Alanna's further adventures. Check it out. I think this is one everyone can enjoy.
Pleasa tell me youre amswer, remember my e-mail isÁ:
Review by rayinte (2003-03-17)
Okay, you look at the synopsis and think, "Oh lovely. Yet *another* 'Girl pretends to be boy' story. Ho hum." Then you wander off to find something else to read. See? I was the first to admit that the premise has gotten a bit "old" in recent years.
However, I've never seen another story that deals as realistically with the problems that face a young girl trying to convince everyone around her that she is something else. All too often, stories that use this premise just go after the obvious comedic issues. Alanna, as she attempts to become a knight, has to keep up the masquerade day in and day out.
I highly reccomend this series to anyone over 13, especially girls. It's listed as "young adult" in most bookstores and libraries, but it is a story that can be enjoyed by adults and grandparents as well.