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Protector of the Small

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Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight. Omnibus edition, collecting First Test, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight.


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Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight. Omnibus edition, collecting First Test, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight.

30 review for Protector of the Small

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mallori

    This is my favorite of Tamora Pierce's Tortall series, the one I re-read when I want a book that I know will make me happy. I really love Keladry and her friends. I love that, and it's said in the book, while Alanna from the Lioness series of books had magic and the hand of the goddess on her, Keladry is just a determined girl who wants to right injustices. This series is exciting and engaging, with suspense and victories that the reader can rejoice in. When I was reading this series, I hated to This is my favorite of Tamora Pierce's Tortall series, the one I re-read when I want a book that I know will make me happy. I really love Keladry and her friends. I love that, and it's said in the book, while Alanna from the Lioness series of books had magic and the hand of the goddess on her, Keladry is just a determined girl who wants to right injustices. This series is exciting and engaging, with suspense and victories that the reader can rejoice in. When I was reading this series, I hated to put it down. You are rooting for Keladry. Even when I re-read these books, though I already know what's going to happen, I still get drawn in and want to keep going, and that's a sign of a good book. Pierce really expands on the world of Tortall that was introduced in the previous two series. 10 years have passed since Lady Alanna won her spurs in the first Tortall series, and while the King has declared it legal for girls to become knights, Keladry is the first girl in the 10 years to attempt it. Throughout all 4 books of this series, Keladry faces hazing and bullying, people who insult her and look down on her for pursuing this "un-ladylike" and unconventional "career-path." But I love that she doesn't let that stop her. Yes, she finds some of their insults and behavior hurtful, but she looks to herself and those she respects for approval and affirmation. I love that message for young girls. As opposed to something like Twilight, these books really deliver a message of empowerment and show a great role model for girls. Kelardy's example encourages girls to make well thought out decisions for themselves, to see the hurtful side of bullying, and that with enough determination, anything is possible. That just because something is "the way it's always been," doesn't mean that is how it should be. These books were written in the late 90's, but I feel like Keladry's anti-bully stance is really relevant to today. I also like that, while Keladry has various "love-insterests" through the series, these books are not about romance. These books are Keladry's journey, and yes, there are moments of romance as boys come into her life, but the point is not that she gets married and lives happily ever after. The point of this story is that Keladry set's out to become a knight and she does it! She wanted her spurs so that when she sees something wrong, she can do something about it, and she accomplishes that goal. That's the happily ever after.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    Another omnibus adventure in the kingdom of Tortall, this one follows young Keladry of Mindelan as she becomes the first girl to openly enroll as a page, in hopes of becoming the newest Lady Knight like the famous Alanna The Lioness. How would Kel handle the rough and tumble world she was about to enter? Would the training master even allow her to stay? Or was he trying extra hard to get her to drop out? And the other pages? How would she deal with their bullying? Would she be able to prove that Another omnibus adventure in the kingdom of Tortall, this one follows young Keladry of Mindelan as she becomes the first girl to openly enroll as a page, in hopes of becoming the newest Lady Knight like the famous Alanna The Lioness. How would Kel handle the rough and tumble world she was about to enter? Would the training master even allow her to stay? Or was he trying extra hard to get her to drop out? And the other pages? How would she deal with their bullying? Would she be able to prove that she deserved her destiny? A rousing adventure tale full of battles, magical animals, monsters, and knights in shining armor, this book kept me reading past my bedtime more than once. I already miss Tortall. I won't let so many years pass before the next time I visit.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Holly Echterling

    I do not usually write reviews, but I felt this was important. Some forums have condemned the morality of the characters in this book, but I could not disagree more. Ms. Pierce does not shy away from issues that face many young adults nor does she presume to make decisions for her readers. Her message comes through Kel's mother during a turning point in the story: No matter what you decide, you should approach the issue with personal responsibility. In her time of confusion, Kel acts with care an I do not usually write reviews, but I felt this was important. Some forums have condemned the morality of the characters in this book, but I could not disagree more. Ms. Pierce does not shy away from issues that face many young adults nor does she presume to make decisions for her readers. Her message comes through Kel's mother during a turning point in the story: No matter what you decide, you should approach the issue with personal responsibility. In her time of confusion, Kel acts with care and she continually makes decisions that are right for her, building her confidence and solidifying the values that are important to her. Her mother's support and unconditional love certainly shape Kel in a positive manner during this time and throughout the stories. Authors and Critics often talk about "showing", not "telling" when writing. I think some readers get caught up in what Kel is "telling" them. She considers her confusion over issues with internal monologue, focusing some readers on Kel's confusion because a character's thoughts are usually a direct avenue to the dramatic question. In this case, it is Kel's actions that "show" us the true meaning that Ms. Pierce is trying to convey. Kel always acts with integrity. Personally, I found Kel's unilateral bravery and empathy a beautiful reminder that each of us has the power influence the world for good. You don't need to be the biggest or the strongest to create meaning or foster idealism. If you act fairly and with compassion, then others will take notice and follow suit. In essence, lead by example, and Kel is truly a great knight. "Protector of the Small" is a wonderful book with excellent writing; full of nuances and themes that layer upon each other to add thoughtful meaning to character development and active plot. I recommend these stories with the highest praise.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Faraday Adams

    Originally published on everydayreads.wordpress.com ~ I first stumbled across Kel's story when I was just a shy, awkward eleven year old girl lacking in both a spine and a voice - though not in curiosity. It was 2010, and my local library had just ordered copies of the Protector of the Small Quartet and brazenly laid the glossy-covered books out on display. As a sheltered child kept strictly unaware of the Feminist Agenda, the closest I had ever come to reading about a strong female character were Originally published on everydayreads.wordpress.com ~ I first stumbled across Kel's story when I was just a shy, awkward eleven year old girl lacking in both a spine and a voice - though not in curiosity. It was 2010, and my local library had just ordered copies of the Protector of the Small Quartet and brazenly laid the glossy-covered books out on display. As a sheltered child kept strictly unaware of the Feminist Agenda, the closest I had ever come to reading about a strong female character were pamphlets about obedient daughters who sacrificed their independence for the Greater Good. I was curious, and eagerly snuck the books home to read under the covers. It didn't take long for Keladry of Mindelan to become my hero. I practically worshipped her. She was my age, my gender, and my temperament, but she showed me that youth, femininity, and shyness do not have to prevent you from being brave. Not only did these attributes not hinder her, in many cases she used them to her advantage. Her introversion allowed her to quietly observe a situation and make astute connections, and her role as the underdog made her compassionate. I love that she wasn't "feisty," like so many "strong female characters" are today. She wasn't a femme fatale. She wasn't gorgeous. She wasn't manipulative. Her femaleness wasn't her defining attribute, and Pierce didn't rely on lazy stereotypes to develop Kel's strength. She made the girl sweat for every single victory, but that is what made her so compelling. Her self-control, her work ethic, her ability to remain stoic... I could go on and on about her attributes. (view spoiler)[ I also love that the series ended when Kel was still single. Pierce did a fantastic job of writing Kel's relationship with the men in her life, from playful Neal to admiring Cleon. She loved them, but she didn't need them. In particular, her romantic relationships weren't the blazing, all-consuming, "one true love" types we see in a lot of YA, but instead, they gently grew on the basis of mutual respect. She enjoyed being with Cleon, and looked forward to the prospect of being with Dom, but those relationships did not define her. (hide spoiler)] I honestly think every young girl should read this book (and so should every grown woman who missed it during her childhood). Pierce imparts so many valuable lessons on relationships, feminism, and sex. Now that I'm in my late teens, it was such a pleasure to go back and revisit the girl who was, in many ways, my childhood best friend. Keladry, it was a pleasure to grow up with you. Overall Rating: 5/5 Favorite Quote: "I'm sick of this. Call me what you like, say I'm without honor, I don't care. I'm not getting on any more horses to whack you people with a stick." - Lady Knight ~ Faye

  5. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    Finishing a re-read of these books always makes my heart swell three sizes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Raisa Alexis

    "I've been shot at. I can bear it. I'm crying because my friend is unhappy and everything is changing." "Is that what you're supposed to do?" Tobe asked. "Cry for your friends, though they ain't dead? Cry when things change?" "If the changes are hard ones," Kel replied. "If they take away the things you knew were good." I haven't read much of Tamora Pierce's works before, only a book with Daine (the name I cannot remember at the moment) for a school project when I was in elementary school. With my "I've been shot at. I can bear it. I'm crying because my friend is unhappy and everything is changing." "Is that what you're supposed to do?" Tobe asked. "Cry for your friends, though they ain't dead? Cry when things change?" "If the changes are hard ones," Kel replied. "If they take away the things you knew were good." I haven't read much of Tamora Pierce's works before, only a book with Daine (the name I cannot remember at the moment) for a school project when I was in elementary school. With my constant complaints about certain tropes of YA to my friend, I was given the Protector of the Small quartet by my friend Rokan to have a taste of what she refers to as "good literature." And with my friends, I never doubt their judgment with books, as they never doubt mine. Protector of the Small is what I would like to call timeless literature. Of course, I feel like the effect would have been more impacting had I read this series as I grew up - to mirror Kel's growth and maturity. Perhaps I would have been a different woman had I read these books back then. But these books have affected me nonetheless. Keladry of Mindelan wants to be the first Lady Knight in the kingdom of Tortall following Alanna's appointment as the King's Champion. This proves to be a difficult task, because of the stigma that surrounds girls becoming knights. To many, girls are the weaker sex, and knighthood is barred from them. Alanna herself cannot aid Kel, because it will be seen as favoritism. In First Test, Kel undergoes her probationary year - if she passes her first year, Lord Wyldon will continue to let her train. This is the year Kel learns to face her fears, and her enemies. She befriends Nealan of Queenscove, or Neal and deals with bullying from Joren of Stone Mountain. She passes her first year, after taking command and saving her friends from spidrens during a week-long training session in the woods. In Page, Kel continues her training as a page, for four years, until she can take the test to become a squire. She also develops a crush on her friend Neal, and hires a maid, Lalasa. She teaches Lalasa how to defend herself, and in the end, must decide between saving her or taking her exam. In Squire, Kel is under Lord Raoul of Goldenlake's tutelage, where she spends 4 years training with him and his army, learning skills of jousting and command. At the end of her 4th year as a squire, she enters the Chamber of Ordeals in order to become a knight. Having survived the chamber, Kel is officially the first lady-knight in the realm after Alanna. In Lady Knight, the last of the quartet, Kel and her friends have to fight in the Scanran War. Kel is left to command a refugee camp near the border, but when her camp is left destroyed and its children taken, its up to her to cross over the border to Scanra to save them from becoming a part of the killing devices plaguing Tortall. Throughout the series, Kel has been shown a great deal of strength and perseverance in the face of adversity. She knows that because she is a girl, she will be treated as though she is some weak and fragile thing. But she proves them wrong, proves that despite being female, she still is just as strong and even stronger than her male counterparts. Time and time again, Kel is shown with a power to lead and take charge, but also, with a humble and modest heart, hence why she is "Protector of the Small." She saves baby griffins, protects her servants, and treats everyone with a sense of equality. Kel is a role model to everyone, and her own courage inspires in me a sense of strength. Kel also goes through many of the ups and downs of teenager-hood and girl-hood and the way Tamora Pierce describes it - why can't other YAs be like that? Broaching topics of periods and pregnancy with such an openness. Kel had crushes and a boyfriend, but she knew in the end what she wanted, and I loved her for that. Tamora Pierce writes timeless works that can be read over and over again, to inspire everyone to chase what they believe in, but also to not forget the people who are helping us get there. "Gods all bless, Lady Knight."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ying

    Though junior or perhaps young adult fiction and a series that I first read 10+ years ago, this re-read has been almost as enjoyable as the first read. It’s not the plot that draws you in, though that’s also quite engaging, but the moments that make up Kel’s life as she goes through her journey in becoming a female warrior in very male-dominant world. Amazing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    katayoun Masoodi

    perfet series, most enjoyable and though i read the four books seperately, i did read them one after another and i think this bundle is the best way to enjoy the series, i really did want to read them all together.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Kel is an amazing heroine - I loved reading about her tenacity and drive to become a knight and stand up for those who need help. I actually didn't realize until I finished the book that this is set in a world Tamora Pierce had already established in previous works. You definitely don't need any background information before you dive right into this set of books; everything is nicely explained and I didn't feel lost at all. If you're not ready to commit to all 800 pages of this series, at least Kel is an amazing heroine - I loved reading about her tenacity and drive to become a knight and stand up for those who need help. I actually didn't realize until I finished the book that this is set in a world Tamora Pierce had already established in previous works. You definitely don't need any background information before you dive right into this set of books; everything is nicely explained and I didn't feel lost at all. If you're not ready to commit to all 800 pages of this series, at least give First Test a try. You'll either be enchanted by Keladry or will know it's not for you (but I'd bet on enchanted!)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jane Lindskold

    I think I’ve read every novel she’s written, and while some are more to my taste than others, she’s a great writer.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nick Fagerlund

    It turns out that Ruth and I both grew up with Tamora Pierce novels! But since she's a bit younger than me, she had a wider selection at that age when they're the best thing ever. So I read and loved the original Lioness quartet and The Immortals, but by the time this series came out, I was in high school and it was Very Important to not be reading books about 11-year-olds. You know the drill. Anyway, I liked these a lot as an adult, and if I'd had them as a preteen I'd have been fucking apeshit It turns out that Ruth and I both grew up with Tamora Pierce novels! But since she's a bit younger than me, she had a wider selection at that age when they're the best thing ever. So I read and loved the original Lioness quartet and The Immortals, but by the time this series came out, I was in high school and it was Very Important to not be reading books about 11-year-olds. You know the drill. Anyway, I liked these a lot as an adult, and if I'd had them as a preteen I'd have been fucking apeshit over them. They're great! Ruth was right about them being much better than the prior two series; those were important and wonderful, but this is just a lot better crafted and more cohesive. An excellent heroic coming-of-age tale.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Molly Turner

    Tamora Pierce is great. These books tell the story of Kel, the first female knight since Lady Alanna, but her path isn't easy. The characters are vividly drawn and imagined. The conflicts and fights are exciting and scary. Kel is easy to root for and an incredibly dynamic character. You don't have to have read the other series, but if you have, you'll enjoy seeing old characters pop up. Tamora Pierce is great. These books tell the story of Kel, the first female knight since Lady Alanna, but her path isn't easy. The characters are vividly drawn and imagined. The conflicts and fights are exciting and scary. Kel is easy to root for and an incredibly dynamic character. You don't have to have read the other series, but if you have, you'll enjoy seeing old characters pop up.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Like Tamora Pierce's other heroines, Keladry grows up over the course of these excellent books. Each is longer — and deeper — than the one before. I'm not a parent, so I'm not sure at what age the series should be recommended to a child (since now that it's complete, it might be read in one fell swoop), given the mature themes of both war and romance being addressed by the end. However, I do not hesitate to say that Ms. Pierce writes great, realistic role models. I just acquired the first two as Like Tamora Pierce's other heroines, Keladry grows up over the course of these excellent books. Each is longer — and deeper — than the one before. I'm not a parent, so I'm not sure at what age the series should be recommended to a child (since now that it's complete, it might be read in one fell swoop), given the mature themes of both war and romance being addressed by the end. However, I do not hesitate to say that Ms. Pierce writes great, realistic role models. I just acquired the first two as ebooks in a Kindle sale, and couldn't resist starting another reread. See those individual volumes for my reviews. I'm now planning to finish using my SFBC omnibus.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Midnight Blue

    As with all the other Tortall series, I simply could not set this down (and even if I did, my mind was still occupied with the story). Go read it, if you want exciting plot, interesting characters and enough suspense to keep you reading until you reach the end :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Very good; we saw different parts of the page/squire training program than we did with Alanna. As the only acknowledged girl in over 100 years, Keladry has a lot to overcome and a lot to prove. She is smart, imaginative and determined, and she gains allies who help her achieve her goals.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janet Gruver

    This is my absolute favorite of all Tamora's Tortallan series. I have probably read it about 10 times all the way through. Tamora is an excellent Author. And her works are priceless. I attribute my love of reading primarily to Tamora. This is my absolute favorite of all Tamora's Tortallan series. I have probably read it about 10 times all the way through. Tamora is an excellent Author. And her works are priceless. I attribute my love of reading primarily to Tamora.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Erin Ray

    This is my favorite series of Tamora Pierces Tortall books, and one of my favorite series to read period. They are well written and while a relatively quick read it is an engaging read that makes you love the characters.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I love this series. Kel is such an excellent character for young girls and preteens to read about. My favourite book has to be Squire, but really they're all delightful. I love this series. Kel is such an excellent character for young girls and preteens to read about. My favourite book has to be Squire, but really they're all delightful.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This was a really good series, I highly recommend it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Inspired and healed me in my childhood. Praise for Tamora Pierce.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    My favourite series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jastinder Toor

    Love this series

  23. 5 out of 5

    Evangeline

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this in my early teens and it was great revisiting it! Keladry is a great character - capable, determined, amazingly stoic thanks to her Yamani (Japanese) training, and a leader with a heart for people, especially the downtrodden and vulnerable. I think having Kel grow up in the Yamani Islands was brilliant - it explained her self-control, her open-mindedness and gave her interesting skills (prior combat training, use of the glaive) and connections. She's a far more realistic character th I read this in my early teens and it was great revisiting it! Keladry is a great character - capable, determined, amazingly stoic thanks to her Yamani (Japanese) training, and a leader with a heart for people, especially the downtrodden and vulnerable. I think having Kel grow up in the Yamani Islands was brilliant - it explained her self-control, her open-mindedness and gave her interesting skills (prior combat training, use of the glaive) and connections. She's a far more realistic character than Pierce's Alanna, who was a mage and touched by the Goddess, a once-in-a-century kind of person as Pierce aptly put it. I still think Alanna was more exciting and had more varied experiences, but Keladry was a different kind of character and no less compelling. (On a side note, I love how we get to see bits of Alanna and her contemporaries.) Another thing I liked was Kel's evolving relationship with her training master Lord Wyldon, who represents the conservatives that oppose women knights and King Jonathan's reforms. It began with prejudice, evolved into respect for her effort and soon enough her abilities, and reached the pinnacle, trust and liking. In First Steps, she resents being placed on probation for her first year, but works extra hard to prove herself. I really like her positive attitude - "even if I don't make it, at least I'd know more than I did". To keep up with the boys, she puts herself through arm-strengthening exercises and runs up the hill everyday after a tiring morning of training. Discipline of this kind really commands respect. Sharp-tongued but kind-hearted Neal is her sponsor and first friend. She also has a mysterious benefactor who gives her perfect gifts. She declares a war on bullying of first-year pages, pitting herself against the venomous Joren and company who do their best to make life difficult for her. Soon Neal and some other new friends join her in fighting the bullies. In Page, Keladry hires a maid Lalasa, whom she teaches self-defence after discovering that she has been mistreated. During the summer camp, she proves her mettle as a leader when her group of pages stumbles across a bandit camp. Cleon kisses her at Midwinter awakening new feelings in her. On the morning of the final-year examinations, Lalasa is kidnapped and Keladry has to make a difficult choice: miss the exams and repeat 4 years as a page, or fulfil her oath to protect Lalasa. In Squire, Kel is chosen by Raoul (Alanna's friend), commander of the King's Own. She rides all over Tortall with the King's Own doing battle, helping villagers, and learning about commanding and military logistics, and enters her first jousting competition during the Progress. She also finds time to date Cleon proper, breaks the ice between Prince Roald and the Yamani princess he is to marry, Shinkokami, and has a hand in bringing Raoul and Buri (Thayet's maid and commander of the Queen's Riders). Given the series' teenage audience, I think it's terrible that Pierce has Keladry's mother endorse pre-marital sex and deride the nobles' way of insisting their daughters remain virgins till marriage. At the very least, she should have counselled caution and told Keladry it was better to wait. Lalasa's kidnappers are apprehended, but the noble behind it only faces a fine equivalent to lost wages. Indignant, she works to change this unjust law. Finally, we see her enter the Chamber of Ordeal where she is grilled and assigned a daunting task. In Knight, Tortall is at war with its northern neighbour Scanra, whose tribes have united under a powerful warlord, King Maggur. Lord Wyldon assigns Kel to build and command a refugee camp, which she names Haven. Alongside her are Neal as healer, and Merric as patrol captain. She is at first disappointed as she wanted to be in the thick of action, but has to agree that she is the only one who can do the task well. She does wonderfully in fact, winning the respect of villagers and soldiers far older than her. She signs up for all duties in the camp, handles disputes impartially, and equips and commands their meagre defence forces. When the sanctuary she has built up is shattered, she defies orders and enters enemy territory in pursuit of the refugees. She is followed by her loyal friends. This brings them face to face with the mage behind the terrifying killing machines, and his ruthless henchman. While this book has tragedy in it, it's my favourite as we see Kel come into her own - she uses everything she has learnt as a squire to do her job with heart, and bravely faces down a daunting enemy. However, I still find it incredible that she could believe that they would punish her after accomplishing all that. While she has always approached Lord Wyldon with fear and trembling, her thinking shows a lack of confidence in his and Tortall's leaders' sense of justice. But all in all, thumbs up for Keladry, Protector of the Small!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kat Mayerovitch

    This is a series that I can come back to again and again. The writing is stronger than in the Lioness Quartet, and the storyline more compelling than The Immortals. Only the Trickster books surpass it in quality. Even so, I return to Kel more often than to Aly; beginning as they do with a younger, less complicated character, they're simply an easier read, well-suited to days when I just want to wrap myself in a favorite fantasy world without distraction. This isn't to say that Kel isn't a well-r This is a series that I can come back to again and again. The writing is stronger than in the Lioness Quartet, and the storyline more compelling than The Immortals. Only the Trickster books surpass it in quality. Even so, I return to Kel more often than to Aly; beginning as they do with a younger, less complicated character, they're simply an easier read, well-suited to days when I just want to wrap myself in a favorite fantasy world without distraction. This isn't to say that Kel isn't a well-rounded character; I love the way she struggles with cultural values, with her duties, with her relationships, and with her own weaknesses and strengths. I appreciate that she discovers that the people you idolize aren't necessarily the best people to be your teachers, that crushes are nice but don't necessarily last forever, and that good people may not all be suited to the same tasks. This is the story of an idealistic girl who grows up and learns who she is along the way. A must-read for fans of Alanna, but also a welcoming introduction to Tortall for those who have yet to get acquainted. It will probably continue to be a comfort read of mine for years to come.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vidhi

    Now, this series was written pre-Harry Potter era, which means it targets only young adults, has a small universe, the volumes are smaller and don't end on cliff-hangers. Having said, it is one of the most refreshing reads I have come across in a long time. Despite having a medieval fantasy background, it is a coming of age story of young girl Kelandry Mindelan. Our protagonist Kel is born in a noble family and refuses to follow the time tested career path of being a noble wife. She, instead, dre Now, this series was written pre-Harry Potter era, which means it targets only young adults, has a small universe, the volumes are smaller and don't end on cliff-hangers. Having said, it is one of the most refreshing reads I have come across in a long time. Despite having a medieval fantasy background, it is a coming of age story of young girl Kelandry Mindelan. Our protagonist Kel is born in a noble family and refuses to follow the time tested career path of being a noble wife. She, instead, dreams of becoming a knight and applies to be trained as Page in the page academy. While knighthood is traditionally a male bastion, has recently been opened to women only recently. And thus, Kel becomes one of the first and only girl to apply to the academy. Needless to say, she finds open hostility and discrimination from some quarters and also support from some other quarters. Through the story of an 11 year adolescent, Pierce very well portrays what it mean to be a woman in a male bastion. The obvious as well as subtle forms of sexism that Kel experiences, is something one could easily identify with. Kelandry's response, standing up to some, letting some of them slide, keeping a few for a later time keeps one rooting for her. Not all is about fighting and warrior arts though. Pierce bravely opens the issues faced by all adolescent girls, Kelandry's first period (met with a groan of an added burden), changes in her body and growing of breasts as well as her confused and changing feelings about her classmates. As she grows up and enters her teens, she is shown having a heart to heart chat with her mother about sex, boys and everything else. Her mother advises her to get a charm made to avoid pregnancy (a form of contraceptive in that world). The idea of a wearable charm as a contraceptive is really refreshing. It carries the hint of being sexually active, having sex for the pleasure of it without any qualms. And although Kel has no foreseeable plan of being in any kind of relationship, gets the charm made. And eventually gets its worth out it. Overall, the series is an interesting and spirited read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Enjoyed this series immensely, after having read the Wild Magic quartet. Tamora Pierce is quickly becoming one of our favorite authors for audobook entertainment. This series follows Kel, who wishes to become a knight and has to put up with more difficulties in her path toward knighthood than she expected. She bears it all with a grace and without much "why me?" which I think presents an excellent model for young people who may face analogous unfair situations in life be it from bullying or othe Enjoyed this series immensely, after having read the Wild Magic quartet. Tamora Pierce is quickly becoming one of our favorite authors for audobook entertainment. This series follows Kel, who wishes to become a knight and has to put up with more difficulties in her path toward knighthood than she expected. She bears it all with a grace and without much "why me?" which I think presents an excellent model for young people who may face analogous unfair situations in life be it from bullying or other times when the scales seem balanced against them. Kel looks for the right way out, not the easy way, and fights for those who are weaker or can't fight for themselves. Through the course of the books she becomes exactly the kind of person you wish you were yourself, and develops a following of loyal friends and compatriots. There is plenty of fighting to keep things interesting, though some books of the series end with less climactic endings than a big battle. In the course of the book we see Kel mature and become a woman (literally, with some exploration into menses, breast development, etc.) as well as develop relationships with men (some mildly titillating content, no explicit sex but implied) and of course develop into one of the best knights of the realm. She's someone to root for, and we all rooted for her wildly throughout these four books. It's of note and relevance that my 12 year old son is one of the biggest fans of this series - he finds the blend of fighting and intrigue fascinating and does not care at all that the main character is female. Would be a great series to introduce strong females to bright young male readers. And as an audiobook, the production quality was excellent, voice talent superb. Highly recommend.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Dieterich

    This series genuinely influenced my life. I read this when I was close to Kel's age at the start of First Test (I think I was 11 at the time) and I have loved her and this series ever since. The story telling in this is compelling, the characters unique and the growth throughout the series is incredible. This story tackles everything from being a woman in a male dominated field (in this case the battle field), bullying, violence against women and economic divides, and does it in a way that is in This series genuinely influenced my life. I read this when I was close to Kel's age at the start of First Test (I think I was 11 at the time) and I have loved her and this series ever since. The story telling in this is compelling, the characters unique and the growth throughout the series is incredible. This story tackles everything from being a woman in a male dominated field (in this case the battle field), bullying, violence against women and economic divides, and does it in a way that is intelligent, understated and understandable for young readers. Tamora Pierce is a thoughtful writer. She addresses things like birth control in this magical world and does it in a way that promotes self-care and responsibility. These are important messages that don't often get made to young people. Pierce also writes female characters that are wonderful without being "perfect". They are flawed. They work on improving those flaws. It's interesting to read about. As a young girl it was incredibly important to me that I could read these stories and see a role model who was shy and tomboyish but was never ashamed of being a woman and who not only worked her butt off to be better than all her male counterparts, but also was always A DEFENDER OF WOMEN. The series is called Protector of the Small because Kel always, always feels compelled to help those being oppressed, endangered or harmed by the powerful. She stands up for people made to feel small by injustices because of their gender, social status or lack of wealth. That's the kind of woman young girls should be reading about. That's the kind of women we should grow up to become.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tamar

    This is my favourite of all Pierce's series. I first started reading it when I was about 11, and have reread it over and over for the last 16 years. Kel's sense of honour, duty, fairness, and loyalty have hugely influenced my own moral compass. Kel is kind, compassionate but best of all, she's strong. She stands up for herself when it's practical, but she believes that violence should only ever be employed to help those who can't protect themselves. Although Alanna the Lioness was the first seri This is my favourite of all Pierce's series. I first started reading it when I was about 11, and have reread it over and over for the last 16 years. Kel's sense of honour, duty, fairness, and loyalty have hugely influenced my own moral compass. Kel is kind, compassionate but best of all, she's strong. She stands up for herself when it's practical, but she believes that violence should only ever be employed to help those who can't protect themselves. Although Alanna the Lioness was the first series Pierce wrote about a female knight, Kel is a knight who is born to command. Reading about her journey learning how to be a leader before the world is ready to see another female knight is INSPIRING for any girl or woman who struggles to assert herself in a society that calls female leadership "bossy". The word "bossy" does not appear in this entire series and it's glorious. Even reading this book as an adult, it explores issues that continue to be relevant: substantive versus formal equality, gender equity, feminism, classism, international relations. The reader never feels as though they're being hit over the head with a lesson, but rather is prompted to think about these issues and form their own conclusions. I cannot praise this series enough. If I could only read one series for the rest of my life, it would be this one -- and I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I recommend this series to any reader, young and old.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liana

    Awesomeness in four parts. Though if there's anything that doesn't appeal to me about Ms Pierce's writing (and there isn't much), it's how she handles romance. I know it's more realistic, particularly pertaining to the time period, but still. Probably the only romance I enjoyed out of all her Tortall series was the one in the Immortals series. But that's another review, and we're talking about Kel here. I LOVE Kel. She is probably one of my favourite heroines of all time. She isn't beautiful, but Awesomeness in four parts. Though if there's anything that doesn't appeal to me about Ms Pierce's writing (and there isn't much), it's how she handles romance. I know it's more realistic, particularly pertaining to the time period, but still. Probably the only romance I enjoyed out of all her Tortall series was the one in the Immortals series. But that's another review, and we're talking about Kel here. I LOVE Kel. She is probably one of my favourite heroines of all time. She isn't beautiful, but she's brave; she isn't delicate or docile, but she's deadly. She isn't like Alanna, fiercely tomboyish, but a mix of the feminine and the fierce (though she isn't that either, but, y'know, ALLITERATION) that completely speaks to me. I love her, snub nose and dreamy hazel eyes all. This is one series I love because I love its protagonist; and the lack of romance - or romance I like anyways - doesn't bother me at. All. Which is really, really rare for me. I love that Kel isn't beautiful or alluring, that she isn't Gifted, that she doesn't have this godly destiny all laid out before her (though maybe that isn't strictly true...). She is what she is, and she makes no excuses, and... I don't know. I just really want to be her friend. Like. If she were real. Which she's not. (Kel, you'll always be my favourite!!!)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    This would be a four-star but I knocked one off for some questionable morals. I really enjoyed the story and kept reading about Kel. She captured my thoughts. Not that I ever wanted to be a knight or anything like it and getting everything associated with it - the fighting , competition with boys, war. But it was her sense of chivalry, idealism, that she would see injustice ad do something about it, and take chage of and protect those that are weak, and teach them to defend themselves too. The l This would be a four-star but I knocked one off for some questionable morals. I really enjoyed the story and kept reading about Kel. She captured my thoughts. Not that I ever wanted to be a knight or anything like it and getting everything associated with it - the fighting , competition with boys, war. But it was her sense of chivalry, idealism, that she would see injustice ad do something about it, and take chage of and protect those that are weak, and teach them to defend themselves too. The last book ends sort of like a fairy tale. Good triumphs etc. It didn't quite feel right. I still think the readers should have been allowed to sit in on those lessons where Kel learnt about strategy and tactics,and hear the battle stories she heard. Maybe that would even help the story - show how she develops her own plans as a commander. She's fickle in love and knows it. There's a little hint at the end for a possible romance but given her previous infatuations I don't hold out much hope in the immediate future. It's still a possibility because she seems to think of this person as a friend so far although they have flirted and she does find him attractive.

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