Alanna: The First Adventure
Review copy purchased at local bookstore (Alas, I forget which one, I’ve had it so long)
(***Warning. Please excuse me while I gush like a fangirl in this/these next few reviews. Because, well, I am. :))
If you’ve never heard of her before, award winning fantasy author Tamora Pierce is a find. Her first novel, Alanna: The First Adventure, is a light fantasy, of a girl who wishes to become a knight plot, that it felt no different than any other fantasy novel I’d read before the publishing industry came up with the “YA” category.
Alanna: the First Adventure concerns Alanna of Trebond. Alanna’s father has brought up her and her twin brother Thom alone, yet he seems to care for nothing so much as for his books. Therefore, Alanna and Thom are taken care of, more often than not, by their father’s man, Corum* and by the local healing woman Maude. It is she who discovers Alanna has a calling and affinity to magic and the Goddess. It is she who encourages Alanna to learn 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, Corum take 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 Corum, 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—the 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 him that she 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 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. Some of the chapters (I thought) were rather long, considering it is a Young Adult novel, but that didn’t do anything to diminish my enjoyment. In fact, I’ve since gone on to read several more of her books (six, to date) and put Ms. Pierce on my auto-buy list and I’ve collected even more of her books onto my TBR list. All that to say, I think this Ms. Pierce is a writer everyone can enjoy. If you’d like to check Alanna: The First Adventure out, it’s available at Amazon (with a new cover sporting a horse’s head ((???)), and Barnes and Noble.com (with, yet, still a different cover!) or Itunes. If you have a Barnes and Noble store nearby you, I don’t doubt you can pick a copy up there too. anyway, if you’re a fantasy reader, check Tamora Pierce’s work out. I don’t think you’ll be sorry. 🙂
*Who, if I have to be honest is probably the one that sparked my love of this book. For those who don’t know, my absolute favorite writer in the entire world Michael Moorcock, has a hero named Corum. 😉 But, after that I was just in love with Alanna’s spirit and that really is what kept me reading Ms. Pierce’s work.