I decided to join the Pursuing the Lioness challenge hosted by Chelle over at Tempting Persephone because I really liked the Tamora Pierce books that I’ve read. Click on the link to check out the rules but basically just read anything by Tamora Pierce and write something about it.
I’ve been excited to read the Protector of the Small series ever since sofa_rocker gave me the books for my birthday. I’ve been trying to get these books but I never found all of them in one place and I wanted to buy the entire set before diving in to read. That’s why I was happily surprised when I got the four books. I just finished reading First Test and decided to write my thoughts about it.
Here’s the summary at the back of the book:
In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan (known as Kel) is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits females to train for knighthood. Up against the traditional hazing of pages and a grueling schedule, Kel faces only one read roadblock: Lord Wyldon, the training master of pages and squires. He is absolutely against girls becoming knights. So while he is forced to train her, Wyldon puts her on probation for one year. It is a trial period that no male page has ever had to endure and one that separates the good-natured Kel even more from her fellow trainees during the tough first year. But Kel is not a girl to underestimate, as everyone is about to find out…
I really liked Alanna’s story in the Lioness Quartet and I loved her daughter Aly in the Daughter of the Lioness Duology. I’m glad that there’s a follow-up series on the first lady to train as a knight because Aly’s story was set in a different location and she had a different set of skills. The story starts with ten-year-old Kel, who wants to train as a knight. Kel looks up to Alanna the Lioness and her mother, Lady Ilane, who’s also a warrior woman. Although she thinks it’s unfair that she has to go through a year of probation, Kel is determined to show everyone that she deserves to be a knight. At the beginning of the story, Kel reminded me a lot of Inda in Sherwood Smith’s Inda series (another awesome series) because they’re both ten when the story starts and they both go off to train in a school for warriors. Also, the first lesson that they learn is how to fall. And just like Inda, Kel is wise for her years.
Kel is very steadfast in her beliefs and she stands by what she thinks is right even if that’s not the status quo. She’s resolute in making changes for the better and takes everything in stride. I love how she questions how things are done and how she stands up to bullies. I think Kel’s experience is more difficult than Alanna’s because Alanna pretended to be a boy while everyone knows that Kel is a girl, which makes her a target for abuse. Kel is fortunate enough to have a couple of friends who help her along the way. I like the fact that because of her Yamani training, Kel knows how to hide her emotions so no one knows when she’s angry or afraid. As a result, Kel seems like a very mellow person. Here’s a passage to describe my point:
Merric glowered at her, and Kel waited for the explosion. Instead, he shook his head, smiling wryly. “Don’t you get mad about anything?” he demanded in amused exasperation. “You know they call you the Lump.”
“I try not to show anger,” Kel explained. “The Yamanis won’t talk to you if you let your feelings out. To them it’s like picking your nose at table. Besides, haven’t you noticed how tiring losing your temper is?”
I really liked Kel and I look forward to reading more about her in the next book in the series, Page. Good thing there’s a long weekend up ahead! I have time to read the rest of the series. If you haven’t read any books by Tamora Pierce, I suggest that you start with Alanna The First Adventure because her books are just awesome. Strong female protagonists in all of them. 🙂