Alanna and her twin brother Thom, are being sent away from their home; Thom to the royal palace, where he will train as a knight, and Alanna to a temple in the City of the Gods, to learn to become a sorceress. Each of them would rather take the other’s place. Then Alanna comes up with a brilliant idea: they should switch; their father probably wouldn’t notice anyways. The only difference between them is the length of their hair. So Alanna chops off her hair and the twins head their separate ways. While Thom heads off to become a sorcerer, Alanna goes to the palace under the name of Alan and nobody suspects a thing. But things at the palace are more difficult than she expects; she is the smallest one there and starts getting bullied. The prince, Jonathan, and some of the other boys help her, but she knows she’ll have to beat Ralon, the bully, by herself. Besides the bullying, Alanna has tons of work heaped onto her, and there is no way she can finish it. One of her friends tells her a good tip: just do as much as you can and take the punishment willingly. On top of that Alanna is scared of her magic; she has to decide whether she can overcome her fear to help her friend.
I really enjoyed the first book of The Song of the Lioness. It was well written, and I found the idea very engaging. The whole series has a good main idea, but the later books get a bit romancey, with a bit too much detail for my taste. Pierce’s other series, including The Immorals, The Protector of the Small, Trickster, and Beka Cooper: A Tortall Legend, all are based in her made-up kingdom of Tortall, and most of them include characters from the other books. Out of the all of Pierce’s books, Alanna is my favourite. I would love to meet Alanna in real life; aside from her temper, she is quite the hero.