Alanna, Chapters 1 and 2

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Sky Alton
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Alanna, Chapters 1 and 2

Postby Sky Alton » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:02 am

All these things Alanna knew from her father's books and maps, but the reality took her breath away as a paragraph written in a book never could.


In this thread we’ll be discussing the first two chapters of Alanna: The First Adventure.

As with previous books, we’ll be providing a few discussion points to spark off your thinking but please feel free to ignore them-we want to hear what you have to say (no matter how small or obvious you think it is).

We meet many interesting characters in the opening chapters and also find out a lot about life as a royal page. What do you think to the people and places we’ve encountered so far? Which space do you think is more dangerous for Alanna: the palace or the city beyond its walls?

Please remember to be considerate to other readers and use spoiler tags when discussing details of the plot!
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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 1 and 2

Postby Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:06 pm

So much information is packed into these two chapters. I had forgotten ... haven't read the book for years.

We meet Alanna and Thom - ten year old twins who, if dressed alike, and their hair was the same length, would look alike. But they are vastly different in their hopes and goals. The boy, Thom, wants to be a sorcerer, not a knight. Alanna, a girl, wants to be a knight and not learn sewing and dancing and magic. Then Alanna has an idea ...

...and the story takes off. Yes, the twins trade places and it works! The world that Alanna goes into is so different from the world in which she was raised. She also learned, in her first few days as a page, that what she thought she'd be getting, what she wanted to be getting, is NOT what she got. But it's what she needs in order to become a knight.

As well as meeting many of the noble-born with which she will be sharing her training to become a knight, she meets George, the King of the Thieves.


What a joy and pleasure to immerse myself in Tortall again. *happy sigh*
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Sky Alton
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 1 and 2

Postby Sky Alton » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:27 pm

First, general personal reflections….
The first chapter of Alanna really means a lot to me because I have experienced her frustration and to have it written out like that (is that all I’m good for?)…it makes me feel vindicated. The fact that she had the courage to do something about it gives me a boost whenever I re-read these books. Especially as Tamora Pierce is honest even in these early chapters: it’s very easy to decide to do something about unfairness, it’s the execution and the follow through that takes all you have.

Plot wise (so Spoilers ahead….)
Watching Alanna explore Tortall for the first time is truly magical. Even though the world massively expands in later books (and it would have taken her far longer to journey from Trebond in the Tortall I now know), there’s a certain kind of magic about this. Seeing the author’s thoughts expand out, creating the city and palace for the first time.

I love Alanna’s relationship with Coram (I don’t care if you two want to be dancing bears!) and later on, the dynamic between her and the older pages (though Jonathan is such a peacock). ‘All I know is that I jump when I’m told and I have no free time’-the number of times I’ve wanted to tell people this but held back as they wouldn’t get the reference. I'm pretty sure I still need to learn discipline.


Onto the next chapters!
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Shiloh Adlar
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 1 and 2

Postby Shiloh Adlar » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:03 am

I am listening to this in audio book form for now since my library didn't have the book or ebook immediately available. I am hoping to go back once I get it to really dive into the world more. There's nothing like holding the physical book in my hands.

I am really loving the world that is being created. I am in awe of how strong Alanna's character is and her determination in being a knight. Nothing that happens is going to change her mind. She is doing this. The way she has reacted to the other pages picking on her is great as well. I think it's that courage and wit that will take her far later to come in the series. Of course I have never read this series, so I have a lot to find out still.

I can relate so well to the not having any free time. I was imagining it in my head as they were speaking about it, and I have had a similar reaction as Alanna did at one point. This is stupid. This is crazy. (Not her words, but I don't have a book in front of me to quote properly right now). I've even wanted to give up, but like Alanna, things have happened and time passed, and it was soon forgotten. Alanna is gathering friends and good supports around her even though she has made some enemies. She's in the favor of the prince, or so it sounds (I'm a little bit on chapter 3 now, so I'm trying to remember back further).

I can't wait to see/hear what will all become of everything that is currently going on in her training/education. I am getting very attached to her character and personality. Pierce has certainly created a world and characters that have grabbed my attention and curiosity!
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Katelin Ross
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 1 and 2

Postby Katelin Ross » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:29 am

I have finally gotten my hand on a library copy of the book (who knew it would be as popular as it was, considering it has been out for a while).

Before typing up this reflection, I read what others had to say, and most of them were positive. I on the other hand am not wowed by it. The beginning utterly confused me, as I thought um that can never happen!

I do not like how the book jumps around a lot. We get a glimpse of what Alanna/Alan is doing and then, suddenly, it is months later. I hope to see the book calm down as the chapters go on, as I have not been able to latch onto a story line or a person.

Onto chapter 3!
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Sky Alton
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Re: Alanna, Chapters 1 and 2

Postby Sky Alton » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:19 am

Katelin, I can totally see where you’re coming from. The writing is more than a little jerky and even stilted in places and could be off-putting. It’s part of the reason why I much, much prefer the later novels about Tortall -Tamora Pierce improves a lot as a writer as she goes along. The later novels (The Immortals Series onwards) are much more what you’d expect from a YA book (a strong, chronological narrative).

I guess I’m more patient because I understand what lies behind the writing. This is her first novel (started in college), written at a time where Young Adult Fiction didn’t exist. Also, these were never intended to be 4 ‘children’s books’-she wrote the narrative as one long, adult novel and split it and changed her target market at the suggestion of a publisher. They imposed really strict page counts on ‘children’s’ authors which may explain why the book is quite rushed. So for me it’s really interesting to contrast these books with the ones she wrote when she’d had more practice and when the publishing industry was more open to her type of writing. But coming to it as a new reader when you’re used to a different kind of book-I can understand why the writing style would be kind of unsatisfying (even I find that and I’m in love with Tortall).

(A fun fact is that Tamora Pierce credits J.K Rowling with proving to the publishing industry that there was a market for this kind of book and says she found it far easier to wheedle extra pages out of her publisher once the HP phenomena took hold)

Glad you finally got a copy and hope you’ll stick with it even if it is frustrating-it’s fantastic to hear someone else’s view (especially when it’s different to mine)
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