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Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce {4 Stars}

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce {4 Stars}

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (The Song of the Lioness, #1)
Published by Simon Pulse on January 1, 2005
Genres: Fantasy, MG, YA
Page Length: 274 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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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.

4 Stars


  • This is a book for all of the girls out there who wanted to grow up to be knights.  When it comes time for Alanna and her twin brother to be sent off to (different) schools, Alanna cuts off her hair to take her brother’s place, leaving him to go learn magic in her stead.  With help of servants, some careful forgeries, and a self-absorbed father, they pull off the switch and get to pursue their dreams.
  • Although there are a few tight moments, the plot flows along agreeably, if a bit predictably.  Alanna (now posing as “Alan”) makes friends and enemies, as does any protagonist sent away to school, mastering her lessons and outshining the competition.  She does have some serious challenges and almost gives up at one point, but the lecture that her servant gives her about not being a quitter is a good one for any young person to read.
  • While Alanna doesn’t have the backdrop tension of a war to win, it has many of the same plot devices of Mulan with just enough of its own unique story to remain fresh for girls (and boys) who loved the movie.


  • I did enjoy the book but, the plot and the writing style are more appropriate for middle grade readers than I had expected.  Yet, the complications a girl will face as she matures seemed a bit out of place for this age group, and I have read comments that suggest that the content and writing style of this series does drift upward in reader age as it progresses.  If you’re an adult picking a book for a late grade-school child, you might consider waiting a couple of years before introducing this series.

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Barbara


 Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

© 2017, Barbara. All rights reserved.


  1. I haven’t read this since I was in high school, but I definitely remember it fondly :)
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  2. I found both this and the second book to be a little too predicable. I liked them, but they felt ‘by the numbers’. The last two books were better. Still not great, but well worth a read, and I continue occasionally picking up Tamora Pierce books. (I’d say my favorites so far are the Immortals series.)
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