Kat Kennedy's Reviews > Alanna: The First Adventure

Alanna by Tamora Pierce
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Jul 07, 10

bookshelves: kat-s-book-reviews
Recommended for: People who enjoy action, adventure and fantasy
Read from July 04 to 07, 2010, read count: 1

After reading three paranormal/urban fantasy romances in a row, you can only imagine how happy I was to read, not only something different, but something GOOD!

Good is the best description I can give of Alanna. I wouldn't say it was great. It gets pretty close to it, though. Some parts of it seem unrealistic to me. Alanna being so readily accepted by the boys etc. But the story is short, fun, action-packed with magic and mystery and high-adventure.

Alanna it a great character. Stubborn, cheeky, doubtful of herself. The supporting characters, ranging from Prince Jonathan, Sir Myles and King George are all great. Gary, Raoul and Alex are never fully realized but that's only to be expected with such a short book.

It is the rather typical girl-in-boy's clothing story but the writing is rather good and the sense of fun more than makes up for some of the predictability. The end isn't quite the blazing glory that I'd hope for but it wasn't too bad and there's many more books to follow so I can't wait.

Over all a thoroughly enjoyable read and I can't wait to devour the sequels!

Edited to Add:

I just had to mention something, possibly the one thing that really annoyed me! There's this evil character in the book, The king's nephew. He's clearly evil and it's made very obvious to the reader, but despite all of the evidence, the Prince refuses to believe that this person could possibly betray him.

Say what? This isn't the first time I've read something like this in a book and I have to wonder if the author ever imagined what it would be like growing up in court - a system usually known for its lies and betrayal and petty squabbling over power.

Now, I'm sorry, but if I were Queen of the world (think about it - it really wouldn't be such a bad idea. I'm not asking you to vote or anything - just to ponder the possibility) then I'd kind of be cautious if I'd almost died twice and the only person that could possibly have tried to kill me twice was the first person to inherit the throne upon my death. I'd at least take a moment to think about it.

And why trust anyone implicitly? If I were Queen of the World (don't you think that title just SUITS me?) then I'd have categories of people:

Those absolutely trusted without question.
Those I trust mostly but keep an eye on.
Those I'm friendly with but am wary of.
Those I don't trust (people in this category would either be about to die or already dead.)

The titles of Those Absolutely Trusted Without Question will be awarded posthumously after they've completed an act to save my life - losing theirs in the process.

I just find this kind of trusting royal a ridiculous characterization. If you have a significant ruling power, say a kingdom, then despite receiving it by right of birth/might/money, someone is going to try and take it from you. They may be smarter, better looking and more capable then you but it's still your job to ensure they never wrest power from your cold, dead fingers. To do that, you kind of have to use a little more brain power and a little less blind loyalty!

*Breaths a sigh of relief* And I promised myself I'd have a break from ranting! Oh well, maybe the next review will be rant free!
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Reading Progress

07/05/2010 page 20
7.0% "Interesting albeit atypical start to this novel."

Comments (showing 1-24 of 24) (24 new)

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Tatiana Are you sure I rec'd this book, 'cause I've never even laid my eyes on it. Unless you know another Tatiana:)


Kat Kennedy How odd! I could have sworn you were the one who'd read it and enjoyed it! Oh well, will have to change my review then! Was thinking of adding to it anyway.


message 3: by Miriam (last edited Jul 01, 2011 07:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miriam wonder if the author ever imagined what it would be like growing up in court - a system usually known for its lies and betrayal and petty squabbling over power.

I agree the court seemed way too simple. I had similar complaints just now when reading A Stranger to Command. Everyone at the Good King's court was totally trustworthy. And although the Evil King's court was more realistic most of the courtiers refused to believe the king was killing people: "Oh, everyone who offends or threatens him mysteriously dies? Must be coincidence!"

If you want more realistic intrigue, try The Queen of Attolia. You have to read The Thief first in the series, but it is great, too, albeit in a different way.


Tatiana I LOVE The Queen of Attolia and the entire series.


message 5: by Wealhtheow (last edited Jul 08, 2010 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wealhtheow In Jon's defense, I think he's only in his early teens (isn't he like 13?) here, and his uncle has spent all his life cultivating his friendship. Additionally, I think it's revealed (possibly in a later book) that Roger was using magic to make people trust him. A bit like Cashore's Graceling, actually (another ya female protagonist book I loved).


Miriam Yeah, I didn't blame Jon so much as his parents -- but I think you're right, that it comes up more explicitly in a later book that Roger uses magic to make everyone trust him, and Alanna is exempt because of her magical abilities.


Kat Kennedy Aw guys, you have to know not to take my rants seriously! Like I said, I've read other books where it's a similar thing but they don't have the compulsion thing going! Little, stupid things get to me. I'm loving this series though! Halfway through the second book!

Wealhtheow - he was 18 but I accept the compulsion/magic theory and officially retract my rant :D

I will have to read this Queen of Atolia series now! What are you people doing to me? You make me love you too much!


Kat Kennedy Just realized I already have The Thief on my too-read list!


message 9: by Emma (new)

Emma Jon (and the king, queen, myles, etc) have a very good reason for being "clueless," which is revealed in the next book! ;)


message 10: by Azeza (new) - added it

Azeza I think I'll ponder the possibility of you being Queen of the World...


Elley Murray Keep in mind that this was written in 1983 and there weren't many girls kicking butt books back then.


Miriam Yeah, it definitely felt more new and exciting to me back when it first came out than it would today.


queermusicdude SPOILERS: You find out in the latter books that everyone i so trusting of Roger because he out a spell on the so no one could see his evilness. You should the rest if the books.


Arielle Walker I absolutely adored Alanna when I was younger (still do) this review is perfect!


Hime-sama If you like Alanna you will LOVE Diane and Kel. Diane is in the Immortals series and she is more of a shyish person unlike Alanna Diane's first book is called "wild magic". Kel story is a bit like Alanna's but it gives you a closer look at her page years and it also is awesome because she is younger the Jon's kids but older then Alanna's of course you still get Alanna moments (gasp she takes on a squire!!! Not Kel of course because of stupid king jonathan and his stupid rules she gets rather angry at him in the beginning actually) And Kel sucks at swords she uses a glaive which is actually japanese but what ever all shall be explained (Kel is the second lady knight and Alanna gives her the title "the griffen


Hime-sama Kel is in the series "the protecter of the small" and the first book is "First test"


message 17: by Kassi (new)

Kassi Stanwood Both "the protector of the small" series and the "immortals" quartet are great too. If you like the "Alanna" series they weave those characters into the other books. My personal favorite of the tortall set however is the 2 book set called "tricksters choice" and "tricksters queen" it's about Alanna's daughter. Just a suggestion :)


Fiona You wont be disappointed in any of Tamora Pierces books. All strong female characters and all easy to devour. Read all that my library had one summer! My three daughters gobbled them up right behind me.


Cindy YESS!! When I finished this book I was really confused and had all these thoughts mixed up in my head -especially after that rather abrupt ending- and you were able to properly put them all in a well-written paragraph. I did love this book, but having read the "Daughter of the Lioness" series first I found it a bit short and that characters just trusted and accepted each other too quickly, but oh well! Guess it was still a fairly good book :)


Bipasha{is eviscerated by fiction} any romance in this one????


message 22: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate Copeseeley This is a good starter series, but Pierce really got better and better as she went along. You made a lot of good points about the villain, and also the boys acceptance of her as a boy.

That being said, I think writers like Pierce are so important for teen girls to read. Her MCs are strong, loyal, smart and self reliant. (They aren't the typical willowy pretty girls, either) They are truly girls trying to make good in a man's world. These books really shaped my viewpoint on what I could accomplish as a woman when I read them as a young teen. If I had a daughter these would be a must read on my list for her.


Wealhtheow Agreed on all points, Kate! I've really enjoyed reading Pierce's work over the years, because I can watch her try various permutations of portraying strength, honor and success--Kel takes a completely different approach than Alanna, for instance, while trying to become a knight.


message 24: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary You should read the rest of the series that's where it goes from Good to Great


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