Song of the Lioness is a quartet of four stories: Alanna: The First Adventure, In The Hand Of The Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like A Man, and Lioness Rampant. It follows the adventures of Alanna of Trebond and her quest to be a knight.
I loved this book. After finishing the 'Inheritance Cycle' it felt like a breath of fresh air; a really easy read but no less exciting or absorbing.
We first meet Alanna when she is ten or eleven and her father is sending her and her twin brother, Thom, away - Alanna to the convent to learn to be a lady, and Thom to the palace in Corus to start page training. Neither of them want to do what they're told - Alanna wants to be a knight and Thom wants to learn sorcery - so Alanna has the idea that she dress up as a boy and they can swap places. Thom then goes to the convent - as a boy - to learn sorcery from the masters there and Alanna becomes Alan and goes off to Corus to start page training.
Alanna is a great character and role model for teenage girls. She's feisty, tough, smart, intuitive, and doesn't let being the only girl in a training camp full of boys deter her. In fact, I don't think there's a character in this who I didn't like. From George, the King of the Rogues, (the city's network of thieves), to the villain, Roger Duke of Conte, each person brought a new and interesting element to the stories.
The four stories themselves are quite short, the longest being a little over two hundred pages, but neither plot nor world-building - a tough skill to master in fantasy - suffered because of it.
This is definitely a series of books I would recommend for teenagers, and will be doing so at my school. Girls need role models like Alanna - tough, clever, and someone who doesn't let romances with boys define her life, something many a teenage girl needs to be empowered in!