'I believe in deeds, not words.'

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Release Date: December 2010 (originally 1983)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Atheneum BFYR
Pages: 260 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Paperback
Series: Song of the Lioness #1

Summary (from Goodreads)
Alanna of Trebond is no ordinary girl: her dream is to become a knight. So she disguises herself as a boy and begins training at the palace of King Roald. Alanna quickly finds out that the road to knighthood is not an easy one, but her skills and stubbornness help her become friends with Prince Jonathan and his followers. At the same time, Alanna makes an enemy of the prince's uncle, the overly charming Duke Roger. 

Here begins Alanna's first adventure, one that will lead not only to fulfillment of her dreams but to a magical destiny that will make her a legend. 

Brief Thoughts on Alanna
I bought a set of all four books in the Song of the Lioness series after seeing so many readers rave about them. I felt like I saw so many readers point them as one of the ways they were introduced to the fantasy genre as a child. Then, Gillian's Literary PSA: So You Want to Read Tamora Pierce sold me on them. I'm probably going to break a few hearts, but I wasn't a huge fan of this book. There are probably a few factors at play, but here are the top four:
  1. What I'd heard about it. So many readers have called this series an all-time favorite, which means I had really high expectations. While I will keep reading to see if my feelings grow as the story progresses and the characters mature, I probably wouldn't continue the series if I didn't know how much people love it.

  2. When I read it. You can't turn back time, obviously, but I think I might have liked this book more if I read it when I was the target audience. It just seemed so young to me! The writing didn't stand out, and the book was over right as the story was getting interesting. But I did like the characters!

  3. What I read before it. I've seen a lot of people talk about how this series contributed to their love of the fantasy genre. It seems like this book paved the way for a lot of today's YA fantasy. But I couldn't help comparing it to what I've already read and loved, and it just didn't measure up!

  4. How I read it. I ended up checking out the audiobook from the library, and I thought the narrator was just okay. I listened to most of the book on 2x speed, and I probably missed some details because of it. Or, at the very least, didn't connect to the characters like I might have if I'd read it myself.
I wish I'd lowered my expectations a little before going into this book, but I'll be curious to see how my feelings change (or stay the same?) as I continue the series.

So Quotable
“Alan, you seem to think we won't like you unless you do things just like everyone else. Have you ever thought we might like you because you're different?”


  1. I'm a HUGE fan of Tamora Pierce, but I actually really hate the Alanna series. The Protector of the Small quartet is my favourite, and I also love Beka Cooper and the Wild Magic series, but I have never enjoyed Alanna's series.

  2. We've already discussed your feelings about this book, and I told you my theory about the way it really reads more like one long book if you binge all four books! I really enjoy this series, but Daine's books (The Immortals quartet) are actually my favorite :)


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