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Alanna: The First Adventure

(Song of the Lioness #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  116,074 ratings  ·  4,985 reviews

"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. 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; Alanna, preten

Mass Market Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 17th 1989 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 1983)
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Lily yes It there is a bit of romance, but in the first book only lil' bit, the second a bit more! in all of these books I personally fell in love with the…moreyes It there is a bit of romance, but in the first book only lil' bit, the second a bit more! in all of these books I personally fell in love with the romances, and sometimes I said to my sister (who read them to me) "oh she has to marry this guy, he's just so great!!" you will find this book series is vary entrancing in that way!(less)
Patricia Burson Although the writing style seems to be for younger readers (~10-12), the series was written in the 70s during the sexual revolution, and the main char…moreAlthough the writing style seems to be for younger readers (~10-12), the series was written in the 70s during the sexual revolution, and the main character does have sexual relations starting in book 2. However the description is no more than kissing and "sleeping together", and the relationships are very loving, consensual, and healthy.(less)

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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  116,074 ratings  ·  4,985 reviews

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Caz (littlebookowl)
As one of my childhood favourites, how could I not rate this 5 stars!?
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In retrospect, this is not a perfect novel, or series of novels, but when I think of who I wanted to be when I was ten years old, my answer was always Alanna. (And I still have a crush on George.)
Kat Kennedy
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy action, adventure and fantasy
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, do
Wendy Darling
3.5 stars

Finally read this (*gasp*!) for our classics discussion Friday, 11/27! Our special guest will be the wonderful author Andrea K. Höst, and I'll post a link when it's live.

I enjoyed this very much, but it felt like a first book, with rough transitions and rather unnuanced characterization. But I do like Alanna (and I love George!), so I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Spencer Orey
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg-fantasy
A great classic that mostly holds up today.

Alanna's journey is a lot of fun. She's brave, thoughtful, and eager to learn. She works really hard, studies, and earns her way into the knighthood, all of which I found really refreshing.

There were some uneven parts that all felt to me like the book had to be cut down from a longer version. The beginning felt rushed, with a lack of description, as though trying to get the reader to the good part (Alanna learning to be a knight, which WAS good!). Then
Hey, at least I tried.

Shorted version of the full review (The full one felt like an academic paper on why I dont like this book and series so I had to cut some parts. Oh, how easy it is talking about books I dont like. Also fun! ^_^ Be warned, this review contains my thoughts for this book and some minor/big spoilers for rest of the series -I’ve done some reading and research- which are tagged as spoilers and hidden from virgin eyes.)

For myself, and I suspect many people, books we read and love
Gail Carriger
Not really a review, more a memory:

I can pinpoint the origin of these books with the most clarity. I remember being handed the first one by a librarian, and begging my parents to buy it for me when I had to turn it back in. I remember then begging the librarian to tell me the date the next one was expected to release (that was the only way to find out, in those days). I remember the look and location of each new book, in the bookstore, when I went to pick it up. I still have all my first edition
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rose by: Sharon

I'm so mad I didn't start this series earlier!!! It's so similar to Harry Potter in the way that it's just a feel good book with interesting characters and the best friendships + MAGIC.

...anyway, on to book two!


my longest and most terrible reading slump is FINALLY OVER.

[of course, right when school's starting -.- but oh well]


Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
This is the first book in a series written for the younger end of the young adult readership, but which is still of interest to readers of any age.

Alanna: The First Adventure is a fantasy set in a place where magic is common and knights are trained in the ways of chivalry. Alanna is fighting against the constraints of being female in such a society and having dressed herself as a boy she sets off to be trained as a page with the hope of a knighthood in the future.

I enjoyed the story and the cha
Mayim de Vries
“Think on who you are fighting, if only because one day you must meet your match.”

We are so used to feisty, kick-ass heroines that we often forget that there must have been this first one (yes, I know that’s Eowyn, thank you). And among the crowds of Arya Starks prowling the pages of virtually every contemporary fantasy novel, Alanna stands out as the pioneer(ess) and a pathbreaker.

If Alanna was a real woman, today she would have been 37 years old. The book was first published in 1983, when it
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*** 4.44 ***

I wish I had read this book when I was in my preteens and early teens, because if I had, it would have definitely been a favorite! Getting up there in age, as I am, I still found this Fantasy fairy tale very pleasant and engaging. The tale of tweens who switch places is a well worn trope, as well as the one about the girl who wants to be respected as the boys are, but the author does a great job keeping the themes fresh and by creating likable characters, keeps the reader invested in
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
I probably would have liked this better if I'd read it for the first time when I was younger. The heroine is a fairly typical spunky fantasy female, she's a little too perfect and good at everything.

The story is okay but not especially memorable. It takes place over several years, though the passage of time seems a little muddy and the only real sense of it is that sometimes Alanna will mention her age. It's written in third person, and for the most part we're only in Alanna's head. But there a
Okay, deep breaths all around. Are you ready for another one of those retro reviews in which I regale you with nostalgic views of my childhood reading and rhapsodize on another heroine who contributed to making me who I am today? If you're not (and I totally would not blame you in the slightest--I know how I can go on about these things), you should probably just swish on by, cause Alanna is sort of the mother of them all when it comes to characters who own a little piece of my soul. She's right ...more
Dannii Elle
This the first instalment in the Song of the Lioness quartet.

There are few fantasy adventures I embark on that can be classified as fun and light-hearted yet sometimes that is exactly what I need. Pierce delivers the most charming of story-lines and all of her books, that I have so far read, are all formulated with solely the reader's enjoyment in mind. This book did feel suited to a younger audience, with the straight-forward narrative and the hasty instalment of the reader into the world, but
Norah Una Sumner
“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?”

Really enjoyed reading this.The writing is not really my cup of tea but the story was interesting enough for me to continue reading about Alanna and her adventures.As someone who's reading the last one right now,I can definitely say that this is the best one in the series.The characters are funny and normal, there's a lot of health
Oct 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young women and girls
This is one of those books that will stick with me, literally and metaphorically. I have it with me at college... The whole series and all the ones I have of the spin off series are dear to me. They are wonderful for girls who are growing up. It is one story after another of strong young girls turning into strong young women.
Nov 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Megan
This series appears to be a childhood favorite of many readers and I think if I were 10 years old I'd be a bigger fan of it as well.

Alanna: The First Adventure is a good book that you would want your small daughter to read and learn from. It is both an entertaining mix of adventure and magic and it teaches all the right lessons of perseverance, patience, hard work, and standing up to adversity. Extra points for writing about periods.

However, to me, an adult reader, this short novel had very lit
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still can't believe that I made it through my entire adolescence without ever reading a single Tamora Pierce book. I was aware of the books, obviously, but I never bothered to pick them up. This was mostly due to my childhood belief that once I found a book I really liked, there was no reason to read anything else - this is why I read Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series multiple times in elementary school, but never bothered to seek out similar series or even any other books by the ...more
Feb 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
Being constantly told how some heroine was a "great role model for girls" or "sets a good example" or is "such a strong female character" as a 10-year old was worse than eating Brussels sprouts. I would have rather eaten glue than read this book.

So the normal thing everyone says here, "I'd have liked this more as a kid," really does not apply. But at 27, after hearing my twenties-something friends wax nostalgic, I figured I was being grossly unfair, and that I'd finally get around to reading it
Rose Be
Jul 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from a friend, and really have nothing good to say about it. I thought that the plot line was overused, and the writing style left a lot to be desired. The story of a girl dressing up as a a boy to prove herself is something we're all familiar with, and sometimes it's done very well and it's a pleasure to read. However, there was nothing fresh or new about this book, or this series. The characters weren't fleshed out and their difficulties-- hiding identity, physical exhaust ...more
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tomboys
Shelves: gender, ya, fantasy, younger
Alanna wants to be a warrior, not a lady, so when her father sends her twin brother to court to become a page, she takes his place and changes her name to Alan. Her brother Thom disguises himself her clothes and sneaks off to learn magic (unfortunately we don't get much of his story). This was a favorite when I was 9 or 10; I suspect it wouldn't seem very original to me at this point.
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
Review also @Scaredy Engines End of Line Library

What a pleasant surprise! This book isn’t very long and is obviously aimed at a younger audience but it didn’t disappoint at all as we are introduced to a feisty heroine and an ending that promises greater things to come.

Alanna the MC has to be one of my favourite heroines in children’s literature. But what I like most about her is the fact that she’s flawed as well as strong because that just makes her character all the more realistic and believab
A great introduction to the series and a real page turner. Of course you can't expect a complex plot or very imaginative world building, but therefore you get likeable characters and some very great themes for younger readers to pick up on like gender equality or the meaning of friendship. A really enjoyable read that works well as a refresher between bigger books.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
Lovely coming-of-age tale, clearly written for a younger audience, but I'm young at heart :)

I enjoyed it. Well, plot, characters, structure, prose and situations are very simple, easy to follow; there are no surprises, but I expected that and so this book gave me the light entertainment I was looking for and also some reminiscing, I am sure I would have loved this story as a child, when I wouldn't have been able to notice the improbability of Alanna's luck.

The only so and so note was the narrati
Monthly buddyread with my good friend Melissa. This was my companion for a "Holy Crap! Its friggin cold!" day (Anyone else want to hibernate till Spring?)

I liked it alright, but didn't "LOVE it." The ideas were nice and the characters were interesting but it just didn't capture my attention fully.

Yes, this is a ya/middle grade book but it felt like some things happened too quickly. A couple times I had to go back and check a passage because the passage of time wasn't very well marked.

Won't b
Ashley Marie
Add to the list of gotta-catch-em-all books-- the Song of the Lioness box set. LOOK AT THESE COVERS (the right ones, the left are the old ones). I NEED THEM LIKE AIR THEY'RE SO GORGEOUS.

Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
I read this when my children were still small. After all, it was my responsibility to introduce them to fantasy, ah, well as other literature that is...huh, huh,huh.

Anyway, this is an enjoyable story, you'll of course run into the character types and plot points elsewhere, but that's okay. Character types, become character "types" for a reason. Alan...Alanna is a good character, though a little, trying or even annoying at times. Still, she knows her mind!

This book has a few
Nov 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Regan by: Mrs. Sexton
This book was so good I can't believe it took me this long to read it Once I got into it I couldn't put it down. I can't wait till Monday so I can start the second book. Alanna proves that girls can do anything.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
Wow. For such a short book, so much ends up happening throughout this! Alanna's journey is a wild, fun adventure that made me wish all over again that I had found this book as a young child. I really hope the young children now find this book. It'd be perfect and wonderful for them.

Alanna disguises herself as her twin brother so that she can train for what she really wants to become, a knight. She quickly learns that it's not as easy as she thought it would be and has to dig down deep to really
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very simply written, but powerful. This is exactly the kind of book I want to have around for my daughters when they hit the pre-teen years. There is a wonderful progression of Alanna as slightly scared (but brave) and unsure of her abilities, to an Alanna that's self assured and assertive that I found really inspiring. She deals with a bully, a magical plague, sinister adults, and her grueling classes all while masquerading as a boy so that she can realize her dream of becoming a k ...more
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Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join gro

Other books in the series

Song of the Lioness (4 books)
  • In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2)
  • The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, #3)
  • Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4)

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We asked fantasy author Tamora Pierce your questions!
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“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?” 158 likes
“Alanna: All I know is that I'm to jump when I'm told and I have no free time.” 140 likes
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