10-year-old Alanna of Trebond wants to be a knight. Unfortunately, in the land of Tortall, girls of noble birth are sent to the convent to learn the skills they will need as the wives of knights and lords. Her twin brother, Thom, wants to learn to use the powerful magic that they were both born with, but as the only son of the fief of Trebond, Thom must become a knight of the realm. Alanna and Thom trade places, so that Alanna, disguised as a boy, can travel to Corus to become a great knight and Thom can travel to the City of the Gods to study magic. Assisted by her servant and former soldier, Coram, the newly dubbed Alan of Trebond begins her four-year journey as a page. Making friends with the ruler of Corus’ thieves, George, and the young heir to the Tortall throne, Jonathan, Alanna must keep her guard up to keep her secret while facing the trials of becoming a knight, fighting off bullies, and coming to terms with the fact that her magic will not be ignored, no matter how much she fears its power.
Alanna: The First Adventure is the first book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet. I felt that it was an incredibly interesting mix of magic, schoolyard politics, and the logistic difficulties of Alanna pretending to be a boy. The magic in the story is well blended with the society, and the worldbuilding was very detailed and complex. I loved how Pierce was able to cover four years in such a short novel. I felt that the book itself was exciting and fast paced and I really enjoyed it all the way through. I would really recommend this book to readers who like books about knights or magic, as well as readers who are looking for a female coming of age novels that are interesting, exciting, and complex.