Alanna, the First Adventure (by Tamora Pierce)

Alanna, the First Adventure, is the first in a mediaeval fantasy series for children by US writer Tamora Pierce.

It's the story of twins, Alanna and Thom, who are about to go into service. They decide to change places, so Alanna becomes 'Alan', a page learning to be a squire. Various struggles and battles ensue.

I read this aloud to my sons, who were 12 and 10 at the time, thinking it might be an interesting follow-on from Harry Potter and the Susan Cooper books. It was well-written and quite exciting, but I didn't really like it. We all felt there was too much emphasis on 'sorcery' used for good purposes, without the light vein of JK Rowling's writing or the strong moral thread that runs through many fantasy stories.

So, not really recommended by me, although it's a popular series.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, May 1999

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