Series Review: Protector of the Small

Series Review: Protector of the SmallProtector of the Small by Tamora Pierce
Published by Random House BFYR on August 27, 2002
Genres: Adventure, Romance
Pages: 1330
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan 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 real 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...

Brief Summary:
Fifteen years after Alanna (from the first Tortall series by Pierce) became the first female knight in hundreds of years and the king once again allowed women to become pages, the first girl actually tries out for knighthood. This brave girl’s name is Keladry of Mindelan, who firmly believes she has it in her to become a knight of the realm. Unlike Alanna (who pretended to be a boy), everyone knows Kel is a girl all along, which makes her predicament infinitely more difficult in a lot of respects. The series follows Kel from the age of ten in First Test through the attainment of her knighthood in the final book, Lady Knight.

This series has a lot in common with Pierce’s other Tortall books, such as a number of characters. Alanna, Daine, Numair and Lord Raoul (among many others) all make frequent appearances. One of the things that is so nice about these fantasy authors who stick to a particular world is that you can see favorite characters return without being done to death (either figuratively or literally) in their own series.

The books are definitely comparable to the Alanna quartet, but they have some major differences. The Protector of the Small books focus much more on the military aspects than on magic or romance. Battles abound, so girls who want to see a lady kick some ass would be well advised to give this series a shot. Alanna (for all she was pretending to be a boy through much of the series) got a lot of action (wink wink nudge nudge), whereas Kel is much less driven by that. In the series she has only one beau and only for a small portion of the series comparatively. The ending of the series suggests that more of Kel’s story remains to be told. I, for one, would not be averse to reading it.

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