Monday, June 2, 2014

Review: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Series: Song of the Lioness, #1
First Published: September 1, 1983
Published: January 1, 2005
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 274

"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: Disguised as a girl, 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.
 Calling all fantasy lovers. Though chances are, if you're a fantasy lover, you know exactly who Tamora Pierce is. She is quite amazing and well known. What she's done for fantasy female writers...well, she rocks. And this book here is the first of her epic series that takes place in Tortall.
At the time of writing, I've read all the books in Pierce's Tortall universe, and the stories of Alanna are definitely my favorite. The characters, world, and plot are most strong in this series, the first book especially. In classic Twelfth Night style, one sibling takes the place of the other, the girl of the boy because the girl as aspirations not adequate for a female in current society, and the boy has aspirations different that society requires of him. And so, a story is born.

There is so much potential and watching a girl grow up with boys with boys thinking she's also a boy. And Pierce understands this and embraces all the potential awkward or amusing situations. I love reading about those moments of public bath, or when the girl starts to turn into a women, and simply how how the girl works to become a soldier amongst all these men. Plus, Pierce definitely tantalized in the romance department. Though not developed in this book, the seeds are definitely planted...

I think one of the greatest accomplishments that this book nails is the pacing. Everything happens just when it needs to, which makes for an incredibly enjoyable read - and when I say incredibly enjoyable...well, it's that feeling of happiness you get because you know what you have is good. I was reading this series constantly. In fact, I finished each book in about a day. And during that period, a number of people looked at the series I was reading and engaged me in conversation over the wonderfulness that is Tamora Pierce.

To any fantasy fans out there who have yet to read Pierce - go and enjoy. It's a great journey. To everyone else who just loves a good book. I say, have fun.