Book of the Week: Alanna, The First Adventure

I was thinking of what book to write this week’s Book of the Week post about and couldn’t really think of which to write about. I’ve read a couple new books in the last few weeks but I haven’t really cared enough to write about them. I started making new sections on my blogs. I put up a new “Writing Advice” section, treatment where you can go to get writing advice from authors that you enjoy. I’ve personally emailed, tumblr-ed, tweeted, Facebook messaged, etc. these authors and I’ve gotten a nice response from some really awesome authors, so you should definitely check it out.
Then I added two more sections, Recommended Books : Young Adult and Recommended Books: Adult, and I realized how many of the books that I have recommended to people just haven’t been reviewed on this blog. And I’m kind of aiming to fix that. So I decided to start with one of my absolute favorie authors, Tamora Pierce, and her very first Tortall books.
So for your enjoyment, here is this week’s Book of the Week:
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Genre:
young adult, fantasy
Part of a Series?:
yes, the first installment of the Song of the Lioness quartet
You May Like if You Liked:
Harry Potter, Cinda Williams Chima’s fantasy novels
Plot Summary:
Alanna of Trebond has reached the age of ten and it’s time to send her off to the convent to learn how to be a proper lady. Of course, she doesn’t want to go; she wants to go the palace to learn to be a knight. Her twin brother, Thom, wants to learn to be a powerful sorcerer and has no desire to become a knight. Of course they come up with a brilliant idea to switch places and Alanna heads to the palace disguised as Alan, ready to begin her training as a knight. But training to be a knight isn’t as easy as she thought it was, especially when she is trying to conceal her idea her identity as a girl. Soon though she makes friends with her fellow pages, Prince Jonathan, Gary, Raoul, Alex and the king of thieves, George Cooper. Then Jonathan’s uncle, Roger, returns to court and Alanna had a funny feeling about him that she just can’t shake.
The Bad: 
The first Tamora Pierce book I read was the series of Alanna’s daughter. Sorry, small spoiler. I won’t tell you who it’s with though! But that was stupid because there are THREE series before that one! Whoops!
So eventually I went back and read the original series. And honestly, there’s nothing bad about it in my head. I think one complaint someone might have is that its simpler, a child’s book. This doesn’t bother me, because of all the good reasons below, and because Tamora’s writing and stories get more complex as her books progress and I do believe they are very young adult books.
The Good: 
There is SO much good about this book. First off, the characters. Alanna is a wonderful character because she is SO determined and she’s such a strong female character. Alanna: The First Adventure was first published back in 1983, before the burst of young adult literature and strong heroines hit us all. I think Tamora Pierce was doing something before a lot of other authors were. Alanna disguises her gender in a place where it is NOT easy to do so to become a knight, which is a crazy challenge all in itself. She’s also really small, so she’s not even built like a normal page/squire would be built. But that’s what makes it even better. Alanna is trying to become a knight under extraordinary circumstances, and her size only makes the goal that much harder. But she works so hard, she practices over and over again, she even works as hard as possible to overcome a cruel bully. As the stories progress, she becomes stronger and smarter and she’s one of THE strongest female characters I have ever read in the many, many novels I’ve read.
There’s also the world of Tortall that Tamora Pierce has created. It is very reminiscent of those stories we read as children with princes and princesses, knights in shining armor but in a young adult setting with some serious issues going on, serious villians. You have villians fighting for the crown, and you have bullies picking on those who are different from them, you have a girl’s life in danger every day because of her hidden gender. And she creates such a REAL world; she knows the kingdom, she knows the neighboring kingdom well, and she knows the kingdoms across the sea, and she has histories for these kingdoms. She knows her myths and legends, she knows her history. Her worlds, the creatures, the people, the myths and legends and rules and laws…they all have backing to them. She isn’t pulling this out of nothing, she truly knows what she is talking about, which makes her world believable and makes her world a world that readers want to live in.
She also creates a wonderful story. You can’t help but root for Alanna as she tries to pull off this incredible and seemingly impossible task. She is trying to handle so much, and she’s so young in this book. It takes place over the course of…I’d say three or four years and its just so much for a 10 to 14 year old handle. She’s learning to be a knight, she’s learning to hone her magical skills, she’s making friends, dealing with a bully, and on and on. But even though its just a fantastical story, its so believable too. I think Tammy has so many fans, but I think sometimes there’s a lack of new fans in her case because of the overwhelming flux of teen paranormal romance and the popularity that it has. Her books are good, clean, fun fantasy novels with fantastic characters, strong female leads and enough romance without being too cheesy.
Rating: 
Five out of Five stars. Tamora Pierce is a goddess.
Recommended or Not? 
Definitely. I recommend this book highly because there is so much to read after this. There are three more books in this series,  then the four book Immortals series, the four book Protector of the Small series and then the two book series, Tricksters. Then there’s also the prequel series, Beka Cooper, series. And Tammy only gets better and better as the series go along and all of her books are pure golden fantasy with action, humor, romance, and on and on…and she always has kickass female characters. Pick up a Tammy book now.
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Top Eleven Badass Fictional Ladies

So a couple months ago (actually kind of awhile ago), information pills I did a blog post on the hottest fictional boy characters. I’m a little boy crazy and I probably could have done more than eleven. But I managed to narrow it down.

Unfortunately, viagra order I got some complaints from my small male audience, viagra saying where is the list of hot girls?

So this is the closest thing I can come to this. I mean, I do like girls and I do think every single one of the ladies listed below are pretty damn hot. I also think a ton of them are hot because they are so badass.

I mean, there is something about a woman with a weapon in her hand that is simultaneously sexy and badass.

I know that a lot of you won’t agree with this list. I know you all have your own opinions which is awesome! Unfortunately for you, this blog is called WhataNerdGirlSays and I’m the “girl” in that and I get to pick :)

So enjoy my list and feel free to complain ALLLLLL you want in the comments. I love to hear it, good and bad haha.

MY Top Eleven Badass Fictional Ladies 

11. Elena Fisher

I don’t know how many of you have played the Uncharted games on the PS3, but they are some seriously awesome games. They play well, the stories are fuckin addicting and the characters are so damn real. Half the time, I am content to just watch my boyfriend play because it’s like a movie. Nathan Drake is the main character in these games, kind of a modern day Indiana Jones, who always has a lady by his side and one of those ladies, one that seems to keep appearing over and over again in these games is Elena Fisher. Chloe, the curvy brunette, gets a lot of the fan boys attention but Elena gets my attention. That girl is wicked. She is a journalist, determined to get the story, no matter the cost, and she can handle a gun as well as anyone…and if you need a getaway car, she’s the one to call. Nate Drake can deny it all he wants; he finds Elena sexy as hell and this girl does too.

10. Marion Ravenwood

I don’t care that I wasn’t even born when this movie came out, I mean, my parents were both still in high school when this movie came out. But Marion Ravenwood is easily my favorite Jones girl. She is AWESOME. She is so pissed at Indiana, slaps him in the face and shows absolute disdain for him at times. I really like her because she can hold her own. She can handle a knife and a gun and she’s a tough cookie. No matter what is thrown at her, she relies on herself to get out. After being kidnapped, she doesn’t sit there and think “Oh, I’m just gonna wait for Indiana to save me”, she is clever enough to try and get out of the situation herself. Plus she is so damn sarcastic. I love sarcasm; its a wonderful artform and I love a heroine that can kick ass while having a snarky attitude.

9. Inara Serra

It took me AGES to get into this show. I had heard of it but I didn’t really think it was something I liked. Like Doctor Who, people bugged me enough for me to finally go “Eh, why not?” and I watched it. I figured, its less than 15 episodes and its on Netflix so I can watch it for free. And I am so glad. I went through all the episodes so incredibly fast. And throughout all the episodes, the one character that really caught my eye (besides Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal…hubba hubba) was Inara. Inara is on the ship, Serenity, with the rest of the ragtag crew but she has a slightly different purpose than the other members. Inara is a highly sought after, very classy prostitute. But despite that, she’s so badass. One, she’s gorgeous. Two, she could be on any ship in the galaxy, but she chooses to stay on that one, no matter what happens. And she’s badass in her own right. She’s not always out there in the fight but when she is? I want her on my side.

8. Isabelle Lightwood

Isabelle Lightwood is not the first person I noticed when I started reading the Mortal Instruments. Obviously I noticed Jace Wayland first (HUBBA HUBBA). And then I noticed Clary Fray. Obviously. Clary and Jace are the main characters in this series. But then I started to notice Isabelle Lightwood. Clary gets thrown into this Shadowhunter world at sixteen years old; she has never known anything of it before. You are experiencing this world anew along with her. Isabelle, on the other hand, has been raised a Shadowhunter…and she’s a badass Shadowhunter. She’s brave as hell, and she’s going around, killing demons while wearing short skirts and stilettos. Sexy and deadly. I love the fact that her weapon, her signature weapon, is a gold whip. I mean, can you give her a weapon that is anymore sexy and badass? I have no idea why Isabelle is carrying a flamethrower in the trailer for City of Bones, but who cares? It’s awesome.

7. Katniss Everdeen

Katniss Everdeen is a badass, female character all the way up to Mockingjay. Then she gets whiny. But BEFORE that, she’s badass. She’s too busy feeding her family to worry about boys. I mean, sure, she’s sixteen and its passed her mind. She has hormones, right? And I bet Gale was one hot piece to look at it. But she’s like, “Cool, Gale is hot…I’m hungry”. And that’s awesome. She’s more concerned for survival than anything else. Even when she is in the Hunger Games, and its so beyond obvious that Peeta is head over heels in love with her, she utilizes it to her survival. Now, I’m not advocating using a person who loves but how many of us wouldn’t use that sort of protection when our life is on the line? I admire a girl who puts her own survival above anything else. When her dad died, and her mom gave up, she could’ve curled up in a ball and just let life take her but she didn’t. She remembered what she could do, with plants and hunting (and her badass bow) and she survives. AWESOME.

6. Alianne Cooper of Pirate’s Swoop

Alianne Cooper is sixteen years old, and she’s daughter of the King’s Champion (who is also the first female knight in a century) and the King’s spymaster. Her godmother is the queen and her godfather is the queen. She has adopted aunts and uncles that are the Commander of the King’s Guard, the most powerful mages in the realm and so on. Her brothers are a university student of magic and a page on the path to knighthood. You could say that she has a lot to live up to. And the best part? She totally does, and she almost surpasses them all. She makes the mistake of sailing her boat alone and is captured by pirates and is sold into slavery into the neighboring Copper Isles. When she is given to a family, she realizes that she’s caught up in a rebellion, to take the country back from the tyrannical rulers and give it back to the natives. She becomes the spymaster for the rebellion at sixteen years old and is a pivotal part in its success. And she can handle a pair of daggers pretty damn well.

5. Scarlett O’Hara

Badass. Think about it: Scarlett O’Hara was a young woman, in the South, in the mid 1800s, when women were seen and not heard, there to make good marriages but not much more than that. And Scarlett O’ Hara is opposite of all that. Even in the beginning, when she is sixteen and looking for a husband, she still doesn’t fall into that proper bred Southern woman. She goes for what she wants and she takes whats not hers. Ashley Wilkes doesn’t love her, can’t marry her? Well, then, that’s fine, let’s steal India Wilkes’ beau and marry Charles Hamilton. She’s rash and ferocious and quick tempered and awesome. Atlanta is falling to pieces, the Yankees are coming and she’s like, I don’t care, I want to go and she goes home, even after Rhett Butler ditches her, and her two slaves, a sick Melly, her small child Wade (read the book) and Melly’s newborn. And despite protests amongst all her friends and family, she finds her way back into wealth, doing what she has to do so she is never hungry again. Perfect.

4. Doctor companions

I tried to pick one. I really did. I was like, Rose, duh. But Donna…and Amy! Ugh. So I decided that number four on the list was going to be the four companions of the new Doctor Who series. Rose Tyler is the most badass, taking everything in stride and fixing it. I love Rose because she’s that perfect equivalent to the Doctor; sometimes she’s just one step above him and it’s just awesome. Martha is pretty badass too; she’s a doctor and pretty much saves the world, walking all across it to save it. Donna is one of my absolute favorites: she has such little belief in herself and yet she’s the most important woman in the world. She saves the world! And Amy Pond, oh Amy Pond, the girl who waited. The Doctor’s companions are like Bond girls…except better. Not only are they hot but they are smart as hell and they kick ass. And hell, they keep the Doctor in line and there’s not many who can do that.

3. Clary Fray

I love the Mortal Instruments series. The one thing I don’t like about TMI is the love triangle. I hate love triangles. Please go away. Why do you think that people don’t like Twilight? I know my beef is that I want to tell Bella to shut the hell up about whether to choose Edward or Jacob and just be badass. God. That’s what sets Clary apart. Sure, Simon, plain ‘ol lovable geeky mundane Simon, and Jace, hot, sexy, dangerous Shadowhunter, are fighting over Clary. In my personal opinion, Simon never really has a chance so I don’t know that it was much of a love triangle. But despite Simon and Jace fighting over her, Clary is too concerned on saving her mother, and then saving the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. She comes from Shadowhunter blood, but she’s a mundane, a human, and she’s rushing into vampire lairs to save her best friend and tearing apart ships with powerful runes and making Portals into Idris so she doesn’t get left behind. She creates the Alliance rune, to convince Shadowhunters and Downworlders to work together, against the bad guy, to save the world. And she’s a redhead. I love Clary Fray, she’s awesome.

2. Princess Leia

You know when I decided Princess Leia was the biggest badass ever? When Luke Skywalker walks in to rescue her and she’s like “Yeah? So?” Best. Moment. Ever. She doesn’t know this guy and she’s not falling down at his feet, dying to be rescued. She basically gets herself out of everything. She can handle a blaster like no body’s business, and she runs circles around Luke (ew, he’s her brother haha) and Han. Even when she’s being tortured to reveal the location of the rebel base, she still lies to protect everyone. Her snarky attitude and sarcasm, and her absolute determination to spurn her feelings for Han. She’s fantastic. There’s a part in Empire Strikes Back where she is so concerned on getting everyone else evacuated off of Hoth and its only until Han basically drags her, that she leaves. She is so commited to the rebellion and its awesome; she’s willing to do anything for it. And those buns, there’s never been a hairstyle like that haha.

1. Hermione Granger

Plain and simple, Hermione is the best, most badass heroine ever. You can argue with me all you want. The fact is, she’s smart as hell and she’s never going to dumb herself down for anyone, even Ron. Even though Ron finds her intelligence annoying at times and intimidating at other times, she sticks to her guns and never hides her intelligence and that’s fantastic. And when Ron is an absolute jerk and leaves her and Harry, she carries on. She continues to fight. Her morale is down and she’s sad, and she goes days without saying anything to Harry, but she still fights on, looking for those Horcruxes. And damn, she’s just so smart! She finds solutions to everything and she’s a quick thinker. I don’t know how many times characters in the book are just amazed at Hermione’s brilliance. No matter how many times it happens over the course of the books, you still want to cheer every time she  spouts off a random bit of information or gets them out of a sticky situation. Also, who knew that little dorky Emma Watson would grow up to be so beautiful? Hermione is NOT supposed to be that attractive but she makes it work and its awesome.

So most of you probably don’t agree with my list and that’s okay! Because everyone has different opinions and tastes. These eleven fictional women rock my world and make my palms a little sweaty :) And since I know you all are going to disagree with me, why don’t you share with me your picks! I always love to hear from you guys and I want to know what sexy fictional ladies tickle your fancy :D

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

See you soon!

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