Tamora Pierce,
Song of the Lioness #1:
Alanna, the First Adventure

(Random House, 1983; Atheneum, 2002)

More than anything in the world, Alanna of Trebond wants to be a knight. Her twin brother Thom, meanwhile, would prefer to be a sorcerer. Both have the talent and ambition necessary to pursue their dreams. The only problem is that because Alanna is a girl and Thom is a boy, she is being sent for sorceress training and he is being sent to become a knight. Each knows their talents lie in different directions than the paths laid before them, but their father will not listen to reason. So the twins change places. Alanna cuts her hair and, now known as Alan, makes her way to the palace where she successfully becomes a page, the first step on the way to becoming a knight.

Alanna discovers that the life she has chosen is not an easy one. Her way is strewn with both friends and enemies; she quickly becomes friends not only with the king's son and heir, but also with the city's King of Thieves. But there are some that Alanna simply cannot like and among them is Duke Roger, the prince's cousin, a sorcerer.

The story spans about four years in Alanna's life, from age 10 to 14, and deals with the trials of a girl who wishes she were a boy, especially when she begins to exhibit the outward characteristics of her sex.

The story is told in a clear, straightforward style, making it very accessible to its intended age group. This short book is aimed at 9- to 12-year-old readers and should be well received by those who enjoy fantasy and adventure.

- Rambles
written by Laurie Thayer
published 31 July 2004

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