Friday, March 5, 2010

Alanna: the First Adventure, re-visited, reviewed!

As promised I'm delving back into my Tamora Pierce library starting with my old-school copies of the Song of the Lioness Quartet. Boy, it's not going to take long. Yesterday, a work day, I both started and finished the 231 pages of Alanna: The First Adventure.
Wow, paperbacks in the late eighties, early nineties were small! It's almost cute in a teacup Chihuahua wearing a sweater kinda way.

I flopped my copy down on top of Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, just for comparison, and you can see Tamora Pierce has a point when she says JK Rowling changed the way childrens publishers viewed what and how kids read. Probably three times the thickness and a good inch taller and another inch wider, Fablehaven's paperbacks are published in a pretty standard size format, proving that Brandon Mull is allowed a lot more freedom to tell his story then Tamora was in 1983 when she was finally able to sell the Alanna series.

Originally intended as a single book, adult fantasy, Tamora Pierce ended up having to divide her manuscript into four parts for it to be sold as a YA series. Oh, how times have changed!

If you checked out my guest blog thursday, on Tempting Persephone, then you know I first picked up this series when I was twelve. Nineteen years have gone by (i'm not going to come right out and say it! you do the math) and I still love the story she has to tell in these four books. One girl twin, one boy twin, and neither wants the life set out for them. So for eight years they live with the secret they aren't who they said they were, Alanna becomes Alan the page, Thom becomes the sorcerer he's always yearned to be.

Alanna: The First Adventure covers the first four years of her training for her shield, possibly the hardest part, as she works endlessly to be as good as the boys while going through probably the worst few years of any girls development. Imagine getting your first period while far far from home, pretending to be a boy, unsure of what it was, and surrounded by men? Yah, and that's not the half of it, makes running away to become a knight a lot less appealing hey? Besides, I hear that workopolis has like NO jobs in that field anymore.

Although Tamora has come a long way as a writer since these books (so has childrens and YA publishing), they have a charm that makes them not only worth reading, but doing so repeatedly. Don't worry, if you missed out on them when you were twelve, they've been recently republished and are easy to come by.
And Yes, the new covers are way less dorky then mine!

Alanna: The First Adventure, By Tamora Pierce
Published by Simon Pulse, Jan 2005


  1. I loved your guest post and this wonderful retrospective. I own the very same older editions and they are so beloved. But I agree on the new covers. Awesome. Particularly the cover of LIONESS RAMPANT. That's how I pictured her!

  2. mmm me too! I almost bought them when they were first released, but it seemed silly when my books are fine! hahah, like i need More books!

  3. I loved the scene when she went to get George when she needed a healer - sweet and funny all at the same time!

  4. hahahahahhaha, yes. I especially like her insisting she's just going to make her period stop, because she refuses to submit to it. hahahahaha, i'm pretty sure I would have considered that if i had had the gift at 13.