ALANNA: FIRST ADVENTURE is the first installment in the Song of the Lioness quartet. It is about a young girl, Alanna, and her brother, Thom. Their father is sending Alana off to learn how to be a lady and Thom off to be a knight. However, Thom wants to learn to be a sorcerer, and Alanna wants to be a Knight of the Realm. So, being identical twins, Thom forges his fathers handwriting and writes different letters, saying Alanna is a young lad off to be a knight, and another that says Thom is off to learn sorcery. And off they go, Alanna disguised as a boy and off to the palace, and Thom off to be a sorcerer,
And so Alanna begins becoming a page (the first step towards your knight's shield). Along the way she befriends Prince Jonathan, heir to the throne of Tortall, Raal of Goldenlake, Gareth of Naxan, Alexander of Tirragen, and Francis of Nond, in which all rank to squires (the second step of becoming a knight). She also meets people outside the palace, such as George Cooper of the lower city, King of Thieves, and his friends.
However, with friends also come enemies. Enter Ralon of Malven and Duke Roger of Cante. However, with the help of George Cooper, Alanna learns to fight only with her hands and can easily defend herself against Ralon. But Duke Roger is different. Hidden beneath the world's most powerful sorcerer's face and handsome features is something terribly evil. And then the sweating sickness comes. When Jon gets it, Alanna is forced to reach inside herself for the Gift, which she so abhorrs. Using so much that she is struggling for life herself, she manages to save Jonathan. But who sent the sweating sickness?? It is something nobody knows, but Alanna finds out. It happens when the squires go on an annual field trip. This year, they are going to the Black City, cursed and haunted by the Nameless Ones. With special permission, Duke Roger organizes and takes the squires on the field trip. With special permission from Jon, who had special permission from Duke Roger, Alanna is allowed to come with the squires. However Duke Roger had a chilling plan that only he knows about...
I thought that this book was excellent in many ways. It was fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, sci-fi, suspense, and mystery all in one. However, I thought that Alanna got upset by the littlest things. I also thought that the book was easy to predict, but other than that, it was good. Tamora Pierce got to the point of the story at the very beginning. Alanna: First Adventure was an excellent book. -Ashlyn T.