Another book for the Pursuing the Lioness challenge hosted by Chelle over at Tempting Persephone. This is the last book in the Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce, featuring Keladry of Mindelan.
Here’s the summary for Lady Knight at the back of the book:
Keladry of Mindelan has finally achieved her lifelong dream of being a knight – though it’s not turning out at all as she imagined. With the land of Tortall at war with the Scanrans, she has been assigned to oversee a refugee camp. But Kel has also had a vision in the Chamber – a vision of the man behind the horrific battle machines that her fellow knights and friends are fighting without her. She is torn between a duty she has sworn to uphold and a quest that she feels could turn the tide of war…
Again as I mentioned earlier, although this book explains previous events that occurred in other books in the series, it’s still better to read them in order to get a better grasp of the story. It’s amazing how the first book, First Test starts with Kel being ten and wanting to be a page and Lady Knight starts with Kel as an eighteen-year-old lady knight. If you read the series, you can really watch Kel grow as an excellent lady knight and still retain the traits that she had when she was a child. And as Kel grows, her story grows with her. This last installment in the series is more meaty than the others.
With the realm at war with the Scanrans, all knights are assigned different roles that suit their capacity. Kel has been assigned to command a refugee camp. They know that Kel will do a good job because she’s one of the few nobles who care about civilians and common people and she’s already proven that she’s a good leader. Although the job is hard and people still question Kel’s abilities (now based on her age and experience and not as much as her being a girl) and she would much rather be in battle than in a refugee camp, Kel handles the camp the way she does everything – with very capable hands. Her dilemma comes in when the Chamber of Ordeal keeps reminding her of the quest that it gave her at the end of Squire. It comes as no surprise though that she’s able to fulfill her destiny and more than what was expected of her. I don’t want to say anymore and give out spoilers. Suffice to say that Kel really deserves her legendary title – the Protector of the Small.
Just more general thoughts about Kel. She’s the third Tamora Pierce heroine that I’ve read about, the first two were Alanna and her daughter Aly. Both Alanna and Aly had magical abilities and they were both god-touched. Kel wasn’t like that, she proved that she’s normal and in order to get to where she wanted to go, she works hard just like everybody else. I’m glad that Kel inspired a lot of younger girls to become lady knights as well.
I’m happy to know that there are more books about Kel! This is from Tamora Pierce herself:
I plan on quite a few more Tortall books, and heaven knows what they’ll all be about. Right now I’ve got two Numair books, then Maura’s book under contract. After that will come one or two more books about Kel. After that I’m not sure about the order, but the books I definitely have planned are ones centered around Aly, Dove, and Dove’s choice of a consort; the lives of Aly’s children, particularly Ochobai, who is a Little Person; Neal’s daughter, who will go for her knighthood in a time when there are far more girls training as knights than there were in Kel’s day. There’s also Daine’s children Sarralyn and Rikash, who have to find their way. Rikash will be telling that story, because I’m terrified of his sister, but he isn’t.
I think that’s all I have in mind right now. There may be more with Irnai and Tobe from the Kel books, and Kaddar and Kalasin, and Alanna’s sons. Certainly there will be requests from fans for other characters who appear in the books, and who knows who my brain will pick up and say, “You know, there is a story for this one.” My brain lives a life of its own, wild and free. I just try to keep up.
Yay for more Tortall books! Now, I’m really itching to read Daine and Numair’s story.