By Tamora Pierce.
I got ahold of the first two books of the series, which I'd never seen IRL but had heard of on TV Tropes. I'm not sure why it's such a big deal. It's a good and pleasant story so far, but I can't say I find it drastically different from any other young fantasy Chosen One-y sort of story.
Anyhoo: Alanna and her twin Thom have no mom and a neglectful dad, who is insisting on sending them away to school at the age of 10. Alanna is off to be a lady at a convent, Thom is off to learn to be a knight. Thom wants to be a sorcerer and has no interest in knighthood. Alanna has zero interest in being a lady (as anyone sensible would) and wants to be a knight. At this point in life they look alike, and Thom can forge his dad's handwriting...so they switch places. Thom can learn sorcery at the convent area (okay, I'm not sure how this works, but okay) and Alanna--now Alan-- goes off to be a knight. Despite being the shortest one of the pages around, s/he learns very well, gets it down how to fight, manages to trounce the bully picking on her, and generally becomes a kickass short page. She also has two good friends--Prince Jonathan and George, King of Thieves. You can pretty much figure these two will be love interests once puberty hits. Well, serious puberty, I mean--the inevitable "what happens when you're hiding as a woman and hit age 13" problem does come up.
It's a very nice story overall, albeit I was ready for the story to go on a little quicker. And the villain of the story might as well start toying with his mustache for all of the subtlety the book gives him. Once he walks on, he's OMG PURE EVIL BUT NOBODY SEES IT BUT ALANNA...but since this is the "the first adventure," the plot doesn't go too far with this other than he gives Alanna the bad vibe.The ending is a good one, though I was sorry it cut off where it did. I would have been interested to see the aftermath of it!
I'll give it three and a half stars. I wasn't as super-wowed as I was expecting to be for the reputation these books seem to have, but it's a pretty good story anyway (albeit not that original yet) and I moved on to book 2 quickly.