Alanna: The First Adventure
The Song of the Lioness, Book 1
By Tamora Pierce, published 1983
“Maude said I should use my Gift of healing. She said I had the power to heal more than most people. She said if I didn’t heal, I wouldn’t make up for the killing I did as a knight.”
In this series of four books, Tamora Pierce weaves an odd world of knights, magic, and the feminine in a way I haven’t encountered before. The heroine of the story is a young girl who wants to be a knight, and has to pretend to be a boy in order to get trained. But along the way, she begins to encounter what it really means to be a woman. By book 2 and 3, there’s no doubt the feminine side is as important as the warrior.
I wondered as I read this children’s book whether it was more appropriate for young adults. However, I think girls could read Book 1 at age 12, and then grow into the others. I did skip ahead to Book 3, and that is definitely a young adult book, with some serious issues about sexuality that are more appropriate for the 14-year-olds. However, this first children’s book is mild, and somewhat entertaining.
My interest has never been the fantasy genre, and I do admit I tire of it after one book. However, the magic element in this fantasy intrigued and interested me, as the description of the power in the form of light streaming into the girl is quite mystical.
If you have a child who loves fantasy and is a good reader at age 12, and somewhat mature, this is a well-written children’s book for them. Girls will relate to it more simply because it’s all about a girl, even though her adventures are related to knights and fighting.