Donna's Reviews > Alanna: The First Adventure

Alanna by Tamora Pierce
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's review
Dec 17, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, library, young-adult

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 are occasionally parts where we're reading about what another character is thinking, those moments are jarring and don't always seem to serve much purpose.
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Riley That's not techniacally true. The author explained on how hard Alanna had to work to beat Ralon. She wasn't perfect and it explained that. She just never gave in and worked hard.

Donna In my opinion, things do come a little to easily to Alanna. Not to say that she doesn't put in any effort, but she comes across as successful at whatever she tries and there are definitely times when some really convenient things happen for her.

Like I said, I'd have loved it back when I was in the age group it was intended for. But as an adult who's read a lot of the darker style YA books that are popular now, it makes this book feel a little simplistic in comparison. I've heard that the later ones get better, but I unfortunately don't have the time to continue with series books that don't grab me from the start.

message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma I agree. Alanna is kind of a Mary Sue, but in the later Tortall novels, Pierce really tried to stay w\away from the Mary Sue "type." I don't think any of the later protagonists even have a full-fledged Gift.

Meishuu This books was written in the 80's, when female character like Alanna weren't really common o even heard of. You could say she was a "pioneer".

I actually take Alanna over any Nora or Bella or other "heroine" from paranormal/supernatural YA stories.

Donna I was a kid in the 80s and my main access to books came from a tiny, rural library. So trust me, I know exactly how difficult it was to find decent heroines in those days.

Alanna is probably a good pick for young girls who are heavy readers, but considering that I came to it for the first time as an adult, I didn't care for it much.

Meishuu I get you.

Reading it as an adult, I found it boring, and Pierce's worldbuilding to be lacking (she has improved over time), I still appreciate it for what it is.

Donna Yeah, I have plenty of books that I feel similarly about, books that maybe could have been better but I still love because they were groundbreaking or influential or really, really fun. For some reason mine are all either very old novels or things I latched on to young, though.

Elley Murray Glad

Donna Were there supposed to be other words there? It looks like the system ate your comment.

Robert What exactly come easy to her? I found that she basically fought tooth and nail for anything except in the first few pages in convincing Throm, Maude and Coram. I think there may be some issue with the brevity of the books(months go by in a few pages) but to say she's a Mary Sue. Mary Sues don't work for months on fighting techniques the only thing she was good at from the beginning was sorcery, archery, reading and tracking.

I think she's believable. I certainly know enough of people that weren't initially good at what they do to see the plausibility.

Donna I read this over four years ago. It didn't make enough of an impression for me to continue the series, and I've read hundreds of other books since then. I'm not too interested in dredging up the barely-remembered plot details of a book I didn't like just so I can defend my opinion to its fans.

Everyone's welcome to their own take on any story and characters, but your statement that "the only thing she was good at from the beginning was sorcery, archery, reading and tracking" (and she was what, ten or eleven?) makes me pretty confident that a reread would leave me with the same conclusion that I had back when I wrote this review.

message 12: by Robert (last edited Dec 21, 2012 10:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robert It was just a question, sorry. Didn't even look at the date. I wouldn't call myself a fan either I just read one book. I was just curious. Oh well. If you think that being eleven and being good at those things(not spectacularly so) then you're maybe not being realistic. I mean when I was ten or eleven I was god at art and sports and computers for my age compared to the others around me. Not exactly beyond the realm of possibilities. I just don't see the Mary Sue justification. I won't bother you anymore.

message 13: by Oceana (new) - added it

Oceana they get better though, I love those books, and she really had to work at being good at the things she was. Don't give up on Tamora Pierce she is an AMAZING author.

Donna A lot of my friends are really into her stuff, so I'm sure I'll try a different series at some point. There are just times when it feels like my to-read list grows faster than I can keep on top of it.

message 15: by Donna (last edited Jul 02, 2014 10:10AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Donna Hi, all.

I read this book back in 2008.

I'm not too interested in further discussion of a story that I didn't even enjoy. But I'm also not going to abandon this comment thread to a chorus of folks putting me down because of differences in opinion.

From now on, I'll be deleting any future comments from people who are only posting here to tell me how wrong or misguided I am for not liking a thing.

Nothing constructive can come of it by this point, and going over it again after all these years is frankly boring. If you'd like to post recommendations for non-Alanna Tamora Pierce books or other "girl adventure" style stuff below, feel free. I'm also happy to discuss general YA subjects or other fantasy stories that folks get nostaglic about, either here or through GR mail.

(This is not intended to be critical of anyone whose comments I've left in place. I'm just over it. If I sound a little exasperated, it's because the posts left here are not the only responses I've recieved to this review. I've deleted some seriously rude comments from folks who apparently never learned to disagree without being disagreeable.)

Mindy Ohmygosh, yes yes, I believe in you and I believe in your review, I did not like this book!! I'm gonna write my review on it soon, but I just wanted to say that I agree totally. Perhaps if I would have read this when i was younger, middle school perhaps- I would have loved it, no doubt- the whole adventure style, and her being a girl and going for her dreams and being a heroine type book. But this book just didnt do it for me. I didn't like any part of it. Just her name. I like the name Alanna. I think it's pretty.

Mindy Uch, 'She's the Man' makes a better "girl pretends she's a boy" story, even!

Katya Sokolova Alanna being really good at things makes sense when you learn that's she's the chosen of the Goddess. At some points she becomes an actual avatars of the Goddess, especially when she does very strong magic. That said, I loved the books as a teen but now I can't read them the same way. Alanna, especially, of all the main characters irritates me because of her "I'm always right and no one gets me" attitude. I would suggest trying the circle of magic, even though the first four books are more aimed at preteens. Those kids have a lot more character development and I like the magic in that universe more also.

Donna Thanks for the recommendation! I'll try to check those out sometime.

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