Late to the party…in which I talk about a book that people have been loving for AGES but I seemed to somehow miss.
Here’s a little synopsis of this FABULOUS Tamora Pierce book before I get started…
And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page.
But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.
Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna’s first adventure begins – one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land.
Initial reaction upon finishing:
I honestly am SHOCKED that I have not read this book until this point. SHOCKED SHOCKED SHOCKED. As I am reading this I keep thinking of that time frame where I started really getting into Harry Potter (I read the first 3 books in 6th grade) and how I would have loved this particular book to kind of fill the gap between Harry Potter books. This would have been a series that I would have devoured as a kid, but I fully intend to do so as an adult and have added the remainder of the series to my TBR and wishlists and everything. I just need to thank Jordin at A Bottomless Book Bag. She was my round 2 Secret Sister and she gave me this book because she loved it. And now I love it. Here are just a few reasons why I love it…
- Alanna: She is the most awesome female character. She has moved right on to the list of some of my favorite kick-butt females in fiction, and in this book she starts out as only about 11 years old! That means that she has also made it to my list of favorite 11 year olds (BECAUSE HARRY POTTER IS ALSO A FAVORITE). She does age a few more years throughout the book, but man she started young. And she was so fierce. She knew exactly what it was that she wanted and she went for it head on. She worked her butt off to get to the point that she was by the end of the book and you could tell she was proud of it, even after the struggles she faced. She faced all these things with little fear, and when she was a bit more fearful it made sense. I just loved and adored her and I need more of her in my life!
- Plot: I loved how the story-line of this book went through multiple years. As much as I love books like Harry Potter that focus on one year at a time, it is refreshing when you read a book that is not hundreds of pages long and focuses on a part of a person’s life that spans a few years instead of just one. It made the story that much more interesting to me and made it move that much faster. It really jumped right into the main part of the story and the background details came throughout the story. Sometimes background details feel like work for me to read through. I get the importance but sometimes I get so invested in what is happening and I feel ripped out of it to try to remember something from a long time ago. I love that I never felt like that with this book.
- Adventure: Honestly, in the end this is just the start to one of those classic adventure stories. Even throughout this book when you see Alanna training it is filled with adventure. It’s full of her discovering herself and what she is capable of, but it’s also filled with some action. AND…romance was not a main factor, which is awesome. I sometimes wondered if I got some subtle hints of some possible romance, but I quickly ignored it. And that last chapter…I flew through that. So much action, and so intense…I just had to know what else was going to happen. I really needed an adventure book such as this, and I am so glad I was able to read it.
- Friendships: Alanna struck up some amazing friendships and she was able to trust some with a few of her BIGGEST secrets (can you guess what that secret was? Can you?). They were always looking out for her NOT because of her secret, but because she was small and she was learning and sometimes you need that kind of protection to move forward and become more. Because of these friends she became who she was by the end of the book. She became strong and independent, but with people that she could rely on no matter what. I loved that.
- Male Role Model: This is something I do not see very often, and I want to see it more. There is an adult male who basically become her role model, even like a father to her. As someone who lost her dad at a young age I LOVE to see things like that. I get tired of reading about deadbeat dads, or even dead dads. I want to read about good dads, and when that isn’t possible I want to read something like this. She was able to talk to this man and depend on him just like she would a father. We need to read more of that. Not everything involving adult males is doom and gloom.
So in short, I loved this book. It was filled with all the elements of a fantasy that I loved and some that I was not expecting at all. I am so glad I was able to read it and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.
I may be late to the Tamora Pierce party, but at least I made it. Now what else of hers should I devour?