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Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 779 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Song of the Lioness Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Call it fate, call it intuition, or just call it common sense, but somehow young Alanna knows she isn't meant to become some proper lady cloistered in a convent. Instead, she wants to be a great warrior maiden--a female knight. But in the land of Tortall, women aren't allowed to train as warriors. So Alanna finds a way to switch places with her twin, Thom, and take his place as a knight in training at the palace of King Roald. Disguising herself as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page in the royal court. Soon, she is garnering the admiration of all around her, including the crown prince, with her strong work ethic and her thirst for knowledge. But all the while, she is haunted by the recurring vision of a black stone city that emanates evil... somehow she knows it is her fate to purge that place of its wickedness. But how will she find it? And can she fulfill her destiny while keeping her gender a secret?

With Alanna: The First Adventure, veteran fantasy author Tamora Pierce has created a lively, engaging heroine who will charm middle-school readers with her tomboyish bravado and have them eagerly searching for the next book in the Song of the Lioness series. Like Brian Jacques's tales of Redwall, this popular quartet is an entertaining fantasy series for younger teens. (Ages 10 to 13) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"A lively, fascinating tale."--Booklist


From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690 (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689878559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689878558
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (779 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hi so my name's Michaela and I'm 15. I read the first two books in 6th grade when I picked them up at my school library, and the other two shorty after at borders. I loved them, and I'm tired of reading all the reviews about the mothers who think these books are inappropriate for their daughters because they "do it". Children have "the talk" in 5th grade. They know how babies are made. These book aren't explicit at all and just sort of mention it in passing and in all honesty if I didn't understand what was going on than it probably would have gone right over my head. My mother was not upset by me reading these books because she trusts my reading choices. I reread this series all the time and as I get older I find more to love about it. Please, don't keep your daughters (or sons) from reading this amazing series because you're worried about nothing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must have read these four novels by Tamora Pierce at least eight times. I loved them growing up and I love them still, although I am not nearly so pleased with her more recent work. I'm glad that she is successful but the quality seems to have sharply fallen off.

Anyway, this series is about a ten yr old girl named Alanna and her twin brother Thom who are being sent away to be educated. Thom is meant to become a knight and Alanna to go to a convent school. Neither twin is happy with the situation so they forge new letters of introduction from their father and Thom goes off to the convent/monastery to learn to become a Mage and Alanna is disguised as "Alan" and goes to the castle to become a knight.

The books follow her adventures while at school then after she is ordained and they are so engaging and wonderful with many memorable characters not to mention a strong female role model. I reccommend this series to anyone, but most especially anyone with a ten yr old daughter who might fall in love with these books the way I did.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was first introduced to this book in third grade by someone who was babysitting me. By fourth grade I had read the whole series a number of times. I don't know if I would say this one or the last one was my favorite, but both were great. You can imagine the characters are real, and the same goes to the world they live in. I still love these books, but now I'm in eighth grade. I see all these adults who have read these books, and I think it is great! I can read these over and over and over and not get bored, even though I know exactly what is going to happen and when. I doubt they will ever get boring, thank God. I'll always have a good book to read! I recommend reading the whole series, along with the Wild Magic series, after you read this book, to find out all that happens to Alanna. I havn't read her new series yet, I think I'll wait for it to come out in paper back. I don't know if I'm ready to read something by her that isn't somehow related to the magical world of Tortall and Alanna! Well anyway, this is an excellent book, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes reading even a little bit, and especially to girls. I don't think this is really a guy book...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Review: These books are my comfort books. In fact, all of the Tamora Pierce books from the Tortall series' are in that category. This is the first of Pierce's quartets ever published, starting with Alanna: The First Adventure. They all have a very strong female protagonist, who takes her destiny head-on and finds a way to train as a knight, even though such a thing is only for boys and men. She is a lovable, and tough character, who is very full of honor, pride, and hard work/determination. She goes through her moments of confusion, especially in times where she is out of control, but it never stops her for long. It's just enough to add a dynamic and believable honesty to her character. In addition to the typical high fantasy (medieval-style) world created for Alanna to fight in, the book also includes her struggle to learn, control, and use magic - the Gift - a talent that is somewhat common, though it manifests itself in different ways with each person. It is a story of adventure and magic that I just keep coming back to.

Recommendation: This should probably mainly be read by kids/young adults. While I have known people who read them only when they were older, they generally only ever liked the books, not loved them. As I re-read them now, I do notice the lack of development in the writing style and story lines - but I still love them, because I have loved them for a long time. They are generally appropriate for middle school students.
--Note that I say "middle school", because there is some confusion about menstrual cycles and sex. Nothing is very explicit, and all of it is done in a very naive sort of way, since Alanna doesn't understand much about womanly things.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My favorite type of books is fantasy all because of this book. Three years ago, when I was in sixth grade, a friend saw me reading "The Woman who Rides Like a Man" over his shoulder (that's the third book in this series), and the next day he brought this book in to school and told me to read it in study hall. I loved it, and borrowed it and took it home where I finished it that night. I then went out and bought the rest of the series. The book is great, with a little resemblence to "Twelfth Night" (no, if you haven't heard of it, it's not a fantasy book. It's a play by Shakespeare. Sorry.) Alanna and her brother switch places, forcing her to disguise herself as a boy (luckily, her brother, Thom, does not have to disguise himself as a girl.) During the beginning of the book, Alanna tries to reject her powerful magical ability. However, she is forced to use it twice, and realizes that her "Gift" is a blessing from the gods, not a curse from them. Meanwhile, Alanna has to train as a knight. She is shorter than the other boys, and has more trouble, at first. But she works hard to overcome her height disadvantage (not by using magic to make herself grow; she tried that once and got a bad headache), and, while beating all the other boys at knighthood, Alanna still has to deal with issues of womanhood. And what will happen when she becomes a knight? She can't be a "boy" forever!
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