Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Book Review: Alanna: The First Adventure

A wonderful book set in a medievalesque world where magic is gifted to a select few. It is the book that introduced me to the world of fantasy and female protagonists: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce.

This book starts out with Alanna and her twin brother Thom about to be sent away to complete their education. For Alanna, this means the convent: she will learn etiquette and dancing and everything else needed to be a proper lady. For Thom, this means heading to the palace to begin training for knighthood. Neither sibling wants that to happen: Alanna is the one who dreams to be a knight and Thom only wants to study magic. In order to escape this fate, they concoct a scheme to have Alanna pose as both a boy and the elder brother in order for the two to switch places.

The book follows Alanna through four years of being a page, where she makes both powerful friends and enemies. Throughout the book, a dark presence begins to emerge that threatens the lives of the royal family and she seems to be the only one to realize this; all the while she closely guards the secret of her true identity.

This was my first introduction to Tamora Pierce and to female centered fantasy , and there was no turning back. This was a book (and a series) that got me through some of the hardest times in my life. The world that Tamora Pierce created when writing these books, is a world into which I can fall into and be completely immersed. It is the perfect escape for me.

The characters are wonderfully thought out and written, with flaws and strengths just as any other person.These characters grow over time and the reader gets to witness this development if they read the whole series, and beyond.

For the most part, Tamora Pierce’s books, especially the books that take place in Tortal, have female protagonists. And I absolutely adore this fact. It isn’t easy (though it is possible) to find a female centric book in fantasy that I actually enjoy.

As the series continues these books also have plenty of healthy female relationships, and the women in those relationships are different and diverse. Although I admit, that in this first book there are not enough of those relationships. I enjoy reading about characters who face different challenges and who aren’t punished or villainized for either following or not following societal expectations.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, and magic, and awesome, butt-kicking ladies.