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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
The Samurai's Wife
Laura Joh Rowland
Alanna: The First Adventure  - Tamora Pierce, Trini Alvarado This was an entertaining enough book. I enjoyed the premise, and I thought that it paid homage to all of the female soldiers in real life who had to disguise themselves as men in order to become soldiers. It contains a strong pro-female message, and it is a story that many girls might find empowering. Alanna is a good, strong female character. I think that she and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series would be good companions. The are certainly girls cut from the same cloth.

While I liked Alanna, I did have a few issues with it that I can't seem to get past. First, I found the reaction of the males to the discovery that Alanna was a female to be a bit far-fetched. I would have anticipated a much more negative and angry reaction--people don't like being deceived, and stong females know that there are males who don't like being bested by a girl. They may *respect* the girl, but that's often a very grudging respect tempered with some resentment. Given the times and customs that are constructed in this book, I would have expected at least *some* of the males to be slaves to their male culture and bias toward females, and none of them were. I just found that to be a little bit improbable.

In addition, I found some of the language as spoken by the characters to be a bit incongruous. At times it was quite formal and in keeping with the times/setting of the story. At other times it was so modern that it rang out as out of place to my ear. I did listen to this on audiobook, so maybe this is just something I would have been less likely to notice if I had read the words rather than heard them.

Still, Alanna is a good book, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to girls who like fantasy and who are between about 11 and 14 years old. Girls could do worse than to read a book with a heroine as strong and as interesting as Alanna.